Willie Nelson may have had to sit out his Outlaw Music Festival this past week, but ticketholders still (arguably) got their money’s worth with performances by CelisseRobert Plant and Alison Krauss, and Bob Dylan, who recently revamped his setlist with several covers including “Stella Blue” by the Grateful Dead.

The Grateful Dead’s affinity for Bob Dylan goes back almost to the band’s inception, with the Dead covering “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” from 1966 through their dissolution in 1995 (with a seven-year shelving from 1974 to 1981). In 1987, the two camps joined forces for a collaborative stadium tour that added nearly a dozen new Dylan covers to the Dead’s repertoire and produced the Dylan & The Dead live album. Dylan has been revisiting his connection to the Dead with nightly covers of “Stella Blue” ever since he hopped on the Outlaw Music Fest tour last month. He originally debuted his arrangement of the tune last summer in Barcelona amid a string of Grateful Dead cover debuts.

The 83-year-old singer-songwriter recently surprised fans when he swapped out his setlist of the past three years in favor of a fresh cover-heavy set featuring “Stella Blue”. He also parted ways with longtime pedal-steel player Donnie Herron and reunited with drummer Jim Keltner.

Nelson announced on Friday that he would miss the weekend’s Outlaw Music Fest stops, including shows in Syracuse, Jones Beach, and Holmdel, NJ. The show would go on as planned, though, with previously scheduled sets by Dylan, Plant and Krauss, and Celisse, as well as Lukas Nelson and Family along with some special guests. He later announced that he would sit out the show tonight, July 2nd, in Massachusetts but plans to return to the stage for his annual 4th of July Picnic, coming to Camden, NJ on Thursday.

Watch Bob Dylan cover “Stella Blue” by the Grateful Dead below along with full-show video of his set in Raleigh, NC last week. For a full list of upcoming Outlaw Music Festival tour dates and ticketing details, visit the tour website.

Bob Dylan – “Stella Blue” (Grateful Dead) – Syracuse, NY – 6/28/24

[Video: ChakaHahn]

Bob Dylan – Coastal Credit Union Music Park At Walnut Creek – Raleigh, NC – 6/23/24

[Video: Jordan Norris]