VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA
ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
W. LAFAYETTE, INDIANA
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY
ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA
ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA
KINGSTON, RHODE ISLAND
ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
ZEBULON, NORTH CAROLINA
OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC
ARGANDA DEL REY, SPAIN
ASBURY PARK, NEW JERSEY
HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA
CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA
LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN
SAULT STE. MARIE, ONTARIO, CANADA
NEW BRITAIN, CONNECTICUT
THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA
CEDAR FALLS, IOWA
BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA
COSTA MESA, CALIFORNIA
CANYON LAKE, TEXAS
ROCHESTER HILLS, MICHIGAN
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA
BETHEL, NEW YORK
On May 2nd, 1999, in Munich, Germany, my wife and I have been lucky enough to witness
Bob's third performance ever of this superb song. Seven times he has performed it in 1999,
he even chose to sing it to the people of Duluth, the city of his birth.
Only once it had been sung in 2000 (Horsens, Denmark = the only performance within 14
months), before Bob was getting to "The Point" in Dublin in September. (I don't know how
many of the few hundred lucky people, who witnessed Bob performing it amid other gems in
Horsens, agreed with Bob's message that night: "Hallelujah, I'm ready to go, it's a hard
rain's a-gonna fall, sooner or later we all gonna have to serve somebody, I'm trying to
get to heaven before they close the door." The door will be closed, so serve the Lord, no
matter who you are; the final rain will be hard and certain, so be ready to go.)
In Dublin however Bob pulled out a new and slow version of this fine song, which
surprised most everybody and made me write down the following statement in my review
the next day: "Absolutely amazing! If there was but one song for me to take to this
imaginary island (we all play that game, don't we?), it would be this performance of
"TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN", which I heard and saw last night in Dublin. It was like
Bob opening his heart (which is in the Highlands as we should know) for a few minutes,
telling us exactly where he stands. Last night he really was getting to the point."
He repeated this show stopper several times since then (I saw it again in B'ham,
Cardiff and Portsmouth). A wonderful confession, masterfully performed. Bob at his
very best!!! It was on our way to Portsmouth, when I wrote my Cardiff review, that
I first thought about the connection with "Hallelujah I'm ready to go".
Both songs were performed in one set in W.Laffayette/Indiana on 02/11, in Portsmouth
on 25/09, in Cardiff on 23/09 and in Horsens on 21/05.
I wrote in my Cardiff review: "The third verse started with "People at the station
(sic), waiting for the train." We all know, that the train-image is an important one for
Bob. I never saw last night's opener in connection with that, but in hindsight he sang
"HALLELUJAH" like someone who just has been handed a vital train ticket, someone who is
"well dressed, waiting on the last train" the slow train coming, which is picking up
speed, as this world can't stand long. People get ready, there's a train a-coming.
Hallelujah, I'm ready to go. - Powerful indeed."
Today I might add: "Some trains don't pull no gamblers." It is a serious subject Bob
Dylan sings about in some of his own songs as well as in some of the cover songs he performs
occasionally. Actually there might be not much time to gamble. "Be ready, don't wait to late."
Only three times in 1999 this song had been performed inside the US, when after more
than fifteen months Bob chose to sing "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" again in his native country.
So the Americans got to hear this beautiful new slow version nine times during Bob's fall
2000 college tour.
In Sendai, Japan this jewel was performed for the first time in 2001; and also for the
first time in the same concert as "THIS WORLD CAN'T STAND LONG". Another most powerful
combination, which Bob repeated on the following day in Akita. A week later in Osaka
"TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" was performed again. Another week later at Budokan in Tokyo
it was the sixth time (in six countries), that "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" appeared on
the same setlist as "NOT DARK YET". Two weeks later Bob Dylan performed "TRYIN' TO GET
TO HEAVEN" for the first time in Australia.
The first US performance of "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" in 2001 was in Lincoln, Nebraska,
where Bob chose to sing it for the tenth time in the same concert as "I SHALL BE RELEASED".
Interesting combination. An even more powerful combination (which Bob chose to present
already once before, in Birmingham, England, where I saw it while standing first row center)
was repeated in Blacksburg, Virginia, where "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" again was preceded by
"DOWN IN THE FLOOD". "If you go down in the flood, it’s gonna be your fault ... I’m trying,
trying to get to heaven before they close the door". The first European performance in 2001
was in Anzio, Italy, where for the second time "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" appeared on the
same setlist as "GOD KNOWS", before it appeared again in August in Vail, Colorado, once
more picking up the topic of the night's opener, "HALLELUJAH, I'M READY TO GO".
It is a lonesome valley at times Bob Dylan is walking through on his way to the
Highlands, but he "shook the sugar down", "got new eyes" and "the sun is beginning
to shine on" him. He has been on the "highway heading down below", "down on the bottom
of a world full of lies", but now he is "ready to go", warning his listeners not to
"wait before it's too late", convinced that one day "they close the door".
"TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" was not performed in concert for more that two years and
two months after the summer of 2001. Then, during the European tour in the fall of 2003
this gem appeared in the show in Budapest, after being sound checked the previous day
Almost two weeks later "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" was the one most outstanding
performance of the magnificent show in Düsseldorf, which my wife and I were honored
to attend. It was a five verse plus harp solo rendition of this wonderful gem. Most sublime
singing by Bob during this masterpiece performance; and definitely one of the high points
of my concert going experience, ever, even surpassing the first slow version of the same
song in Dublin, which I had seen in September 2000. Yes, this Düsseldorf version of
“Tryin’ To Get To Heaven” would be my new “desert island performance”. It really was that good.
Three days later during the second show in Amsterdam "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" appeared
in the same set as "SEÑOR" and "EVERY GRAIN OF SAND".
The first appearance of "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" in 2004 was during the last of three
shows in Washington D.C., where it was performed in the same concert as "GOD KNOWS",
"I SHALL BE RELEASED", and "I BELIEVE IN YOU". Six days later, in Columbia,
"TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" shared another set list with "I BELIEVE IN YOU",
and this time also with "RING THEM BELLS".
During the third show in June 2004, in Atlantic City, "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" appeared
again in the same set as "GOD KNOWS" and "I SHALL BE RELEASED". During the European tour;
which started later that month, "TRYING TO GET TO HEAVEN" was performed in Glasgow, this
time in the same show as "EVERY GRAIN OF SAND" and "FOREVER YOUNG".
In August 2004, "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" appeared two more times in the same set
as "GOD KNOWS" and "I SHALL BE RELEASED", at first in Richmond, Virginia, and then, one
week later, in South Bend, Indiana. One week after that, in Rochester, Minnesota,
"TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" was performed in the same concert as "GOD KNOWS" and "FOREVER YOUNG".
Six days later, in Kansas City, during the last show of that summer tour, "TRYIN' TO GET TO
HEAVEN" was performed once more (with Elana Fremerman from "The Hot Club of Cowtown" on violin).
During the fall tour Bob performed "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" twice in California, in Berkeley,
once more in the same set as "GOD KNOWS" and "FOREVER YOUNG", and in Santa Barbara, this time
in the same show as "A HARD RAIN'S A-GONNA FALL". A few days later "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN"
appeared in Columbia, Missouri, once more in the same concert as "EVERY GRAIN OF SAND".
The next performance of "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" was in Columbus, Ohio, two days after the
US election, as part of a brilliant set list which also included "DIGNITY",
"BLIND WILLIE MCTELL", "EVERY GRAIN OF SAND", and the fourth ever performance of "PO' BOY".
Six days later, in Toledo, Ohio, "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" appeared again in the same show as
"EVERY GRAIN OF SAND"; and a week after that, in Kingston, Rhode Island, "TRYIN' TO GET TO
HEAVEN" was performed in the same concert as "A HARD RAIN'S A-GONNA FALL".
The first appearance of "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" in 2005 was in March in Oakland, in the
same set as "FOREVER YOUNG". During the first Sunday show of 2005, in Chicago, Bob Dylan chose
to sing "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" in the same set as "SEÑOR", "GOD KNOWS",
"SHOOTING STAR", "A HARD RAIN'S A-GONNA FALL", and "I SHALL BE RELEASED", creating a very
strong and thought provocing juxtopostion of some fine songs.
Two weeks later, during the third Boston show, another fine juxtoposition of great songs
was to be heard, including "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN", "A HARD RAIN'S A-GONNA FALL", "GOD KNOWS",
"I BELIEVE IN YOU", and "RING THEM BELLS".
On the following Sunday, in Atlantic City, "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" appeared in
an even finer setlist, together with "GOD KNOWS", "RING THEM BELLS", "I BELIEVE IN YOU",
"A HARD RAIN'S A-GONNA FALL", and "MISSISSIPPI".
During the May to July stadium tour of 2005, "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" was performed during
all six Sunday shows, and all six times together with "GOD KNOWS". Three of the times they
appeared in the same show as "SHOOTING STAR", two of the times together with "SEÑOR", and
on the last Sunday together with the only "I SHALL BE RELEASED" of the tour.
Two more times "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" appeared in July 2005, at first sharing a fine Sunday
set list in Calgary, Alberta, which also included "GOD KNOWS", "SHOOTING STAR", and
"A HARD RAIN'S A-GONNA FALL"; and then in Missoula, Montana, where it was performed in the
same concert as "EVERY GRAIN OF SAND".
In Karlstad, Sweden, during the third show of the European fall tour of 2005,
"TRYING TO GET TO HEAVEN" was performed once again, as at times in 2000 or 2001, in the same
set as "DOWN IN THE FLOOD", which reappeared on stage for the first time after more than three
More than two and a half years later, in May of 2008, "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" reappeared in
Massachusetts, in a beautiful rearranged version [mp3 below], during one of the warmup shows for
Dylan's fine European summer tour, where this gem was performed six more times, in Iceland,
in the Czech Republic, in Italy, in Andorra, and finally twice in Spain (alas one day before and
one day after the first of the three Spanish shows I chose to attend).
From August to November 2008 "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" was performed eight more times in the USA
and in Canada. In 2009 "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" appeared five times on stage in Europe in the spring,
and twice in the US in the summer. During the fall tour of 2009 Dylan chose to perform
"TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" on three consecutive Sundays in October, the last of the three even
in the same set as "NOT DARK YET", which did not happen since March 2001.
The next appearance of "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" was eight days after that, during the first
show in November, in Bloomington, Indiana; and then one week later in Philadelphia.
Six days after that, during the last Sunday show of the year, which was the last of the three concerts in Boston,
both "TRYING TO GET TO HEAVEN" and "NOT DARK YET" were performed once more in the same set.
The first three appearances of "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" in 2010 were in March in Japan, one of which was again
in the same show as "NOT DARK YET". The next three performances of "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" were during three Sunday shows
of the European tour, two in June, and the last one, in Limerick, Ireland, in July, which I had the pleasure to
witness myself. It was the first appearance of this gem on this island since the glorious 2000 Dublin version mentioned above.
From August to November 2010 "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" was performed thirteen times in the US, and four of these appeared again
in the same concert as "NOT DARK YET". In April 2011 Dylan chose to perform "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" during his firs show
of the year, in Taiwan, and then later in the month twice in Australia. In June of 2011 I was at the rail to see Bob Dylan
perform "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" during a wonderful concert here in Cork, Ireland. Later in the summer he performed it also
in Germany, Norway, Sweden, California, Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, and Massachusetts. In the fall of 2011 it appeared
in Scotland, Wales, France, twice in Germany, and in England.
In April and May of 2012 Bob Dylan chose to perform "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" five times during his Latin America tour; and
during his European summer tour of 2012 it appeared another three times, in Germany, in Switzerland, and in France. During
the North American summer tour of 2012 "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" was performed another six times; and during
the North American fall tour of 2012 "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" appeared only twice.
In 2013 this song was not performed at all, but in August 2014 "TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN" made a surprise appearance down under,
in the second half of an added concert at a rather small venue in Brisbane, Australia.
~ MP3 ~ TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN ~ WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS ~ MAY 16, 2008 ~
~ MP3 ~ TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN ~ STOCKHOLM ~ MARCH 22, 2009 ~
~ MP3 ~ TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN ~ PHILADELPHIA ~ NOVEMBER 9, 2009 ~
~ MP3 ~ TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN ~ BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS ~ NOVEMBER 15, 2009 ~
~ MP3 ~ TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN ~ CORK, IRELAND ~ JUNE 16, 2011 ~
~ MP3 ~ TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN ~ COSTA MESA ~ JULY 15, 2011 ~
~ MP3 ~ TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN ~ BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA ~ AUGUST 27, 2014 ~
~ Matthew 25 ~
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps
and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,
but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed,
they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry,
'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose
and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise,
'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
But the wise answered, saying, 'Since there will not be enough for us
and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.'
And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those
who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.
Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.'
But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
~ Luke 13 ~
He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.
And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and
will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and
you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’
then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’
~ Psalms 23 ~
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.