See How Bob Dylan Handles Aggressive Hecklers

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Bob Dylan’s pianist Alan Pasqua remembered an incident where some hecklers attempted to disrupt a performance, but Dylan refused to let the rest of the audience down and continued to put on a great show.

During a 1978 tour, which was leading up to the recording of Street Legal, Alan Pasqua, Bob Dylan’s pianist, remembered an instance where some hecklers tried to spoil a performance in Berlin, West Germany. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Pasqua, also known for his role in the band Giant, recounted the details of the show.

“There were some people in the crowd that were planted, I guess, to cause a bunch of shit,” he said. “They started throwing shit at the band, like paint and rags. It was ugly. We left. We split. I’m back in my dressing room. We had outfits that we wore. I changed into my street clothes, just kind of hanging out and waiting for someone to say, ‘OK, let’s get on the bus.’”

He continued:

“Bob comes in. He looks at me and goes, ‘What are you doing?’ I go, ‘What are you talking about?’ He goes, ‘What are you wearing?’ I said, ‘Street clothes.’ He says, ‘Get back in your stage clothes. We’re going back on.’ I was like, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘Alan, I’m just waiting for these people to leave. The rest of the crowd is still there.’ We waited about an hour and a half. We went back on. I mean, he was a hero. It was all those people that paid their money to see them. He didn’t want to let them down.”

Alan Pasqua’s association with Bob Dylan began after he finished a tour with Eddie Money. Initially, he declined the audition because he was feeling tired but later decided to give it a try. He played with Dylan’s bassist Rob Stoner and then was invited to a full band jam session.

“There’s like three drummers, four guitar players, three keyboard players,” Pasqua recalled. “Bob was there. He went, ‘OK, see you tomorrow.’ Next day, there’s two of everybody. This went on for about three or four days. [Then] I walked in and I was the only keyboard player. I just didn’t say anything. I was like, ‘I’m not going to ask if I got the gig because they’ll probably fire me just for asking.’

“During that rehearsal, Bob looked at me and went, ‘Do you know “Positively 4th Street?”’ I looked at him and said, ‘No, but I’ll learn it.’ He started laughing. I thought, ‘I’m toast. I’m out of here.’ Looking back at it, that might have been the reason I got the gig. I was honest with him. I didn’t try to bullshit him and play it poorly. Through my lifetime, we’ve intersected a number of times. It’s always gone really great.”