Dylan, who is currently on the ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ tour in Japan, pulled out the surprise cover at the Tokyo Garden Theater on Wednesday (April 12). It marks the first time that Dylan has performed the song, as well as one of Dylan’s rare surprises in an otherwise standard setlist for the tour, which began in 2021.
Dylan wrote about The Grateful Dead’s ‘Truckin” in his recent book The Philosophy of Modern Song, noting that it has “a fantastic first verse, which doesn’t let up or fizzle out, and every verse that follows could actually be a first verse.”
You can listen to an audio recording of Bob Dylan’s ‘Truckin” cover below.
The cover also marks just the fifth Grateful Dead cover Dylan has performed throughout his long and esteemed career, following ‘Friend of the Devil’, ‘Alabama Getaway’, ‘West L.A. Fadeaway’ and ‘Black Muddy River’.
Dylan and The Grateful Dead have had a longstanding relationship, dating back to their joint tour in 1987. Over the course of the tour, the two acts would collaborate onstage together, leading to their joint live album, ‘Dylan & The Dead’.
In June last year, Dylan closed out a Rough and Rowdy Ways show in North America with a cover of the Grateful Dead’s ‘Friend of the Devil’. It was the first time since 2007 that Dylan had performed the Dead song live, although it used to be a staple of his sets in the late ‘90s