First up was Bob Dylan himself. Cutting an old frame, he put on as varied and entertaining show as he ever did. While he has been criticized in recent years for performing covers, jazz hits and other unexpected obscurities at his shows, he pulled out all stops to give the crowd what they wanted to hear.
While he barely spoke a word to the audience between songs, Mr Dylan let his powerful, meaningful songs speak for themselves. And why not – as one of the worlds most prominent songwriters, he can boast to have inspired many of the festival’s acts.
Next, enter The Rolling Stones. The ever-lean, ever-dancing Mick Jagger put on a rockingly flamboyant performance, backed up by band mates Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts. As an aside, it’s always great to see them all together: It usually looks like Mick, Keith and Ronnie have all fallen out of a nightclub at 5 in the morning while Charlie looks like he had a wonderful pottery class and got a good nights sleep. A strange but a brilliant bunch!
They got the audience rocking from the predictable yet amazing opening number Start Me Up, all the way through their masterful set of classics, culminating with a choral enhanced You Can’t Always Get What You Want and the showstopping (literally) closer (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
An interesting addition to The Rolling Stones’ setlist was the inclusion of Beatles hit Come Together, which nicely set the stage for one of the second night’s big acts: Sir Paul McCartney.
Between Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones, music fans left the first night of the festival feeling like they had witnessed something special, and all were quick to say that the bar has been set very high for the rest of the festival’s acts.
The Desert Trip festival will continue on Saturday night with performances from Neil Young and Paul McCartney, and then Sunday night will feature Roger Waters and The Who.
Bob Dylan setlist
Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
Highway 61 Revisited
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
High Water (For Charley Patton)
Simple Twist of Fate
Early Roman Kings
Tangled Up in Blue
Lonesome Day Blues
Make You Feel My Love
Pay In Blood
Soon After Midnight
Ballad of a Thin Man
Masters of War
The Rolling Stones setlist
Start Me Up
You Got Me Rocking
Out Of Control
Ride ‘Em On Down
It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)
Honky Tonk Woman
Sympathy for the Devil
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction