Bob Dylan: When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky – best studio version & 5 live versions

Composing it [When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky], yeah. Um… you know, it was bits and pieces of different places that went into writing that. Lines overheard here and there, you know, strung together over a long period of time, resulted in that particular piece.
~Bob Dylan (to Eliot Mintz – March 1991)

…Dylan sings wonderfully. The songs seems capable of kicking itself into even-higher gear, and as the band recognizes it, so does Dylan, who gets audibly more and more excited as the song progresses
~John Bauldie (about the TBS 1-3 version)

On February 19, 1985 Bob Dylan recorded an awesome version of “When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky”. It was not released until March 1991 on “The Bootleg Series (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991, Volume 3”.

Studio A
The Power Station
New York City, New York
19 February 1985

The band included 2 “E-streeter’s”: Roy Bittan & Little “Stevie” Van Zandt..

  • Bob Dylan (guitar, vocal)
  • Roy Bittan (piano)
  • Robbie Shakespeare (bass)
  • Sly Dunbar (drums)
  • Queen Ester Marrow, Debra Byrd, Carolyn Dennis (backing vocals).
  • Steve van Zandt (guitar)


Beginning on low simmer, Dylan doesn’t start cooking until the band join in – on ‘I can see through your walls…’ However, once he sits full square on the hot-plate, he bellows like a wild wolf.
~Clinton Heylin (Still On The Road)


Entertainment Centre
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
24 February 1986

If you look out across the fields, see me returning.
Smoke is in your eyes, you draw a smile.
From the fireplace where now my letters to you are burning,
You’ve had time to think about it for a while.


Rubber Bowl
Akron, Ohio
2 July 1986

I’ve walked two hundred miles, now look me over.
It’s the end of the chase and the moon is high.
It don’t matter who loves who.
Either you’ll love me or I’ll love you
When the night comes falling from the sky.


Madison Square Garden
New York City, New York
16 July 1986

I can see through your walls and I know you’re hurting.
Sorrow covers you up like a cape.
Only yesterday I know that you’ve been flirting
With disaster that you somehow managed to escape.


International Arena
National Exhibition Center
Birmingham, England
12 October 1987

Well, I can’t provide for you no easy answers.
Who are you that I should have to lie?
You know everything, my love.
Down below and up above.
When the night comes falling from the sky.


Wembley Arena
London, England
16 October 1987

I can hear your trembling heart beat like a river.
And recently you thought you’d seen it all.
But you’re disappointed now in those who did not deliver.
But it was you who set yourself up for a fall.


2 thoughts on “Bob Dylan: When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky – best studio version & 5 live versions

  1. I think Clinton Heylin said it right. Those of us in the raggle taggle gypsies of the Village in the ’60s knew full on soon after he arrived he could sing like a “wild wolf”. JRW

  2. The bootleg version is certainly intense, but it’s my opinion that the Empire Buresque version (as are the terrific live versions with Tom Petty) seems a bit more soulful. I love how he changes things up from one live performance to the next; just wish he had released one of these live versions. Bob was truly singing great in the mid-80s!

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