GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY





You're gonna have to serve somebody.

GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY



You may be an ambassador to England or France,

You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,

You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,

You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed

You're gonna have to serve somebody,

Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord

But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You might be a rock 'n' roll addict prancing on the stage,

You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage,

You may be a business man or some high degree thief,

They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed

You're gonna have to serve somebody,

Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord

But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk,

You may be the head of some big TV network,

You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame,

You may be living in another country under another name

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed

You're gonna have to serve somebody,

Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord

But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a construction worker working on a home,

You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome,

You might own guns and you might even own tanks,

You might be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed

You're gonna have to serve somebody,

Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord

But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride,

You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side,

You may be workin' in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair,

You may be somebody's mistress, may be somebody's heir

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed

You're gonna have to serve somebody,

Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord

But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk,

Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk,

You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread,

You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed

You're gonna have to serve somebody,

Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord

But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy,

You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy,

You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray,

You may call me anything but no matter what you say

You're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed

You're gonna have to serve somebody.

Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord

But you're gonna have to serve somebody.




PERFORMANCES SINCE 1998


BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND, JUNE 19, 1998

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND, JUNE 20, 1998

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, JUNE 20, 1998

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND, JUNE 23, 1998

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, JUNE 24, 1998

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, JUNE 25, 1998

ROSKILDE, DENMARK, JUNE 26, 1998

LONDON, ENGLAND, JUNE 27, 1998

MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND, JULY 3, 1998

ROME, ITALY, JULY 5, 1998

LUCCA, ITALY, JULY 6, 1998

TORINO, ITALY, JULY 9, 1998

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, AUGUST 21, 1998

CONCORD, CALIFORNIA, SEPTEMBER 25, 1998

RENO, NEVADA, SEPTEMBER 27, 1998

EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA, OCTOBER 16, 1998

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA, OCTOBER 18, 1998

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA, OCTOBER 20, 1998

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA, OCTOBER 21, 1998

DULUTH, MINNESOTA, OCTOBER 22, 1998

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, OCTOBER 23, 1998

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, OCTOBER 25, 1998

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, OCTOBER 26, 1998

AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGAN, OCTOBER 28, 1998

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA, OCTOBER 29, 1998

KANATA, OTTAWA, ONTARIO, OCTOBER 30, 1998

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 1, 1998

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 2, 1998

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 3, 1998

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND, NOVEMBER 5, 1998

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, NOVEMBER 7, 1998

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA, JANUARY 26, 1999

SUNRISE, FLORIDA, JANUARY 28, 1999

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA, JANUARY 29, 1999

TAMPA, FLORIDA, JANUARY 30, 1999

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA, FEBRUARY 1, 1999

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, FEBRUARY 2, 1999

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, FEBRUARY 3, 1999

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, FEBRUARY 5, 1999

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, FEBRUARY 6, 1999

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, FEBRUARY 7, 1999

DAYTON, OHIO, FEBRUARY 9, 1999

COLUMBUS, OHIO, FEBRUARY 10, 1999

CARBONDALE, ILLINOIS, FEBRUARY 12, 1999

NORMAL, ILLINOIS, FEBRUARY 13, 1999

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, FEBRUARY 14, 1999

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, FEBRUARY 15, 1999

CLEVELAND, OHIO, FEBRUARY 17, 1999

BETHLEHEM, PENNSYLVANIA, FEBRUARY 18, 1999

BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 19, 1999

LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 20, 1999

TROY, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 22, 1999

AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS, FEBRUARY 24, 1999

PORTLAND, MAINE, FEBRUARY 25, 1999

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, MARCH 2, 1999

SANTANDER, SPAIN, APRIL 13, 1999

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA, APRIL 3, 2000

HORSENS, DENMARK, MAY 21, 2000

BERLIN, GERMANY, MAY 23, 2000

MODENA, ITALY, MAY 27, 2000

RENO, NEVADA, JUNE 25, 2000

TORONTO, CANADA, JULY 18, 2000

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND, SEPTEMBER 24, 2000

BERGEN, NORWAY, JUNE 26, 2001

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN, JUNE 29, 2001

STIRLING, SCOTLAND, JULY 13, 2001

LA SPEZIA, ITALY, JULY 20, 2001

PERUGIA, ITALY, JULY 25, 2001

NAPOLI, ITALY, JULY 26, 2001

DES MOINES, IOWA, AUGUST 10, 2001

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, AUGUST 15, 2001

PUEBLO, COLORADO, AUGUST 18, 2001

SUN CITY WEST, ARIZONA, AUGUST 23, 2001

LANCASTER, CALIFORNIA, AUGUST 25, 2001

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, OCTOBER 27, 2001

CINCINNATI, OHIO, NOVEMBER 4, 2001

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NOVEMBER 21, 2001

SUNRISE, FLORIDA, FEBRUARY 1, 2002

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, FEBRUARY 5, 2002

TAMPA, FLORIDA, JULY 30, 2003

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 21, 2008

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK, MARCH 29, 2009

SAARBRUECKEN, GERMANY, APRIL 5, 2009

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS, APRIL 12, 2009

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, JULY 19, 2009

TAIPEI, TAIWAN, APRIL 3, 2011





This song is very special for me as I started listening to Bob Dylan in 1979 (I even believe "Slow Train Coming" is the best studio album in history). I had seen Bob perform "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" in 1981 (Cincinnati), in 1987 (Frankfurt) and in 1991 (Bad Mergentheim).

In June 1996 we had a most interesting conversation with Winston Watson near the Old Opera House in Frankfurt. He told us that he also started listening to Bob in 1979 (he is about my age) and that he was hoping some years already for Bob to put "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" back on his list. It was to be Winston Watson's last tour with Bob. Sadly he never got to play it.

Knowing however that anything can happen when Bob is on stage (having witnessed "I BELIEVE IN YOU" both in 1994 and in 1995) my wife and I were hoping for overt statements about his faith as we went to three Dylan concerts in 1998.

Between songs we flashed a cloth sign reading "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY", which definitely was visible from the stage on May 30th and June 14th, as we were pretty much up front (wishful thinking, we thought, since he had not performed it since 1991).

When we heard that Bob started with this song in Belfast a few days later, we could hardly believe it. He did use this challenging opener 55 times in the following months.

After Bob began opening his concerts with the acoustic set in April 1999, he started to use equally challenging cover songs as openers quite frequently. "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" however he had performed only seven times since then (six times in 2000), when we took our cloth sign back on the road in September 2000.

At our ninth show in a row Bob did perform a great and rocking (you might be Bono, you might be Sting) version of this great song, while we were sitting in the center of the third row on the balcony at the Guildhall in Portsmouth. My wife had never seen it, and I had not witnessed it since June 1991. As Bob did not pull out "EVERY GRAIN OF SAND" the following date, it probably was the peak of our two week holiday.

After this song had taken a rest for nine months, Bob pulled out "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" during his second European show in 2001, in Bergen, Norway. One reviewer on Bob Dates commented: "... then something happened. Dylan caught fire. Or something. Gotta serve somebody was wonderfully played in the later rocking arrangement. Dylan was definitely ON, and now he seemed to enjoy being on the stage, and playing this peculiar song."

It was not the last time he presented "this peculiar song" in Europe this summer. Three days later in Gothenburg Bob performed this rocking gem again, this time as the first electric song in slot number four. Another two weeks after Gothenburg "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" appeared on the fine setlist of the concert in Stirling, Scotland; and another week later it was performed in La Spezia, Italy. Five days after that it appeared on the same setlist as "SOMEBODY TOUCHED ME", in Perugia, Italy; another day later in Napoli, Italy, it appeared on the same setlist as "HALLELUJAH, I'M READY TO GO".

The show in Des Moines a few weeks later featured the first US-performance of "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" since June 2000 (the third US-performance since March 1999). Further performances of "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" followed soon in Oklahoma City and in Pueblo, Colorado. Five days later in Sun City West, Arizona, Bob Dylan for the fifth time chose to include "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" within a setlist starting with "SOMEBODY TOUCHED ME", as he did already in Perugia, in Portsmouth, in Reno, and in Berlin. In Lancaster two days after that Bob Dylan performed the first "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" in California in almost three years.

Two months later a large audience in Chicago saw the first appearance of "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" during the fall 2001 tour. Eight days later in Cincinnati Bob performed it again (exactly twenty years to the day after he sang it for the first time in front of a Cincinnati audience). In Manchester, New Hampshire, seventeen days later, it was performed again in the same show as "HALLELUJAH, I'M READY TO GO" (twenty years to the day after his last concert of the 1981 "Shot of Love" tour).

In Florida, during the second show of 2002, "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" was the first electric song in a setlist, which began with "I AM THE MAN THOMAS". Another very strong statement. Four days later "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" was included once more on the same setlist as "HALLELUJAH, I'M READY TO GO".

After almost 18 months, in July 2003, Bob Dylan performed "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" again in Florida, this time in a Dead Set with Bob sitting in.

More than five years later, in New York City in November 2008, Bob Dylan, on harp and center stage, chose "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" as the opening song of his last concert of the year. It was quite an intense performance of this gem. [mp3 link below]

In 2009 "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" opened three European shows in the spring on consecutive Sundays in Denmark, in Germany, and in The Netherlands; and then once more on a Sunday in July 2009, in Syracuse, New York.

In 2010 "GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY" was not performed at all in concert, but in April 2011, in Taipei, Taiwan, Dylan chose to open his first concert of the year with this gem. It was to be the only appearance of this song in 2011.



















Biblical references:


~ Matthew 4 ~


Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, " 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.' " Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.


~ James 4 ~

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
















~ MP3 ~ GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY ~ PORTSMOUTH ~ SEPTEMBER 24, 2000 ~



~ MP3 ~ GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY ~ NEW YORK CITY ~ NOVEMBER 21, 2008 ~



~ MP3 ~ GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY ~ TAIPEI ~ APRIL 3, 2011 ~