Bob Dylan and Neil Young finished their co-headlines in Kilkenny on Sunday night at Nowlan Park in Ireland, presenting "Will the Circle Be Unbroken", the first time they both share a stage from a concert at the Roseland Ballroom in New York in 1994. The quality video has not yet surfaced, but Young posted a segment of the song on his Instagram page that you can see here.
"Will The Circle Be Unbroken" is a traditional anthem that goes back to the beginning of the 20th century. In 1935, It was recorded by the patriarch of the Carter family, A.P. Carter, that's probably the version that Dylan heard for the first time. He played it in his coffee shows dating from 1961, and in 1967 he recorded it during the Basement tapes Sessions with the band. He has not played in concert since a stop in Houston of Rolling Thunder Review on May 8, 1976.
Young, meanwhile, played the song with Willie Nelson four times between 1995 and 2018. However, the first time he did it was in 1975 with the Benefit of SNACK at the Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. Sharing voices with him was none other than Dylan. They had been admiring each other's work for many years at the time, but it was the first time they had played together. It is not clear if they intended to reflect their first encounter on stage by playing the song again in Kilkenny.
Dylan and Young have been touring Europe in recent weeks on separate visits. They did not meet until a joint show in London's Hyde Park on Friday night. That night they disappointed some in the audience by not playing anything together, even though they played star games on their own.
Dylan is in the rare position of not having tour dates in books, although tradition holds that he will return to the road later in the year. Neil Young has nothing official outside of Farm Aid in September, but he is booking a tour of the arena with Crazy Horse later in the year to promote his next album.