Bob Dylan: 10 Great Live Versions of “Dignity”

Of the virtues, I suppose I think integrity is the most essential. Not dignity – a thief can have dignity.
~Bob Dylan (to Barbara Kerr, Feb 1978)

‘Dignity’, which describes so resourcefully the yearning for a more dignified world, would have been the album’s [Oh Mercy] ideal opening track. It scorches along musically, declaring its allegiance to the timeless appeal of the blues, while sounding, above all things, fresh. Its lyric, meanwhile, though ‘Dylanesque’ in that it sounds like no-one else’s work and sounds like a restrained, mature revisit to a mode of writing you might otherwise call mid-1960s Dylan, is fully alert and freshly itself, admits of no leaning on laurels, and has the great virtue that while not every line can claim the workaday clarity of instructional prose, the song is accessible to anyone who cares to listen, and offers a clear theme, beautifully explored, with which anyone can readily identify.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

Dignity was originally recorded for “Oh Mercy” in 1989, but Dylan wasn’t satisfied with it… and left it behind.

Officially there are 5 different versions available:

# released Album
1 November 15, 1994 Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume 3
Brendan O’Brien remixed version
2 1995 MTV Unplugged
Live version
3 2000 The Best of Bob Dylan, Vol. 2
Touched By An Angel version*
BEST RELEASED VERSION
4 2008 The Bootleg Series Vol. 8
Piano demo version
 5 2008 The Bootleg Series Vol. 8
Tell Tale Signs version2

Bob Dylan has performed Dignity 56 times live. First performance was at Sony Music Studios, New York City – 17 November 1994. Last live performance was in Santiago de Compostela, Spain – Apr 29, 2019.
Top year: 2003 – 18 performances.

Fat man lookin’ in a blade of steel
Thin man lookin’ at his last meal
Hollow man lookin’ in a cottonfield
For dignity

Wise man lookin’ in a blade of grass
Young man lookin’ in the shadows that pass
Poor man lookin’ through painted glass
For dignity

Here are 10 great live versions.

Sony Music Studios
New York City, New York
18 November 1994

Second MTV Unplugged taping session.

Brixton Academy
London, England
March 25, 1995

Halle Münsterland
Münster, Germany
1 October 2000

Grand Event Center
Grand Casino Tunica
Tunica, Mississippi
27 April 2003

NTELOS Pavilion Harbor Center
Portsmouth, Virginia
8 May 2003

Oakes Garden Theatre
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
23 August 2003

Student Center
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York
13 November 2004

WD Hall
Hannover, Germany
31 March 2009

Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, Texas
1 November 2012

Marenostrum Music Castle Park
Fuengirola, Spain
4 May 2019

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.