Bob Dylan made a surprise appearance at Farm Aid last night, performing three songs with a backing band that included Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench and Steve Ferrone of the Heartbreakers.

You can watch video of Dylan's 2023 Farm Aid appearance below.

Playing electric guitar instead of the keyboards and grand piano he has favored at his own shows over the past two decades, Dylan opened with "Maggie's Farm" from 1965's Bringing It All Back Home. He then performed the 1965 single "Positively 4th Street" and closed another 1965 song, "Ballad of a Thin Man" from Highway 61 Revisited. He left the stage as quickly as he arrived, without saying anything to the crowd.

According to, it was the first time Dylan had played "Maggie's Farm" since 2009 and the first time he played "Positively 4th Street" since 2013. While he is famous for significantly re-arranging his most famous songs in concert, Dylan stayed surprisingly close to their original sound here.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers served as Dylan's backing band on his 1986 True Confession and 1987 Temples in Flames tours. Campbell and Tench were in the band at that time, Ferrone joined in 1994.

How Bob Dylan's Live Aid Comments Helped Launch Farm Aid

It was Dylan's onstage comments at 1985's Live Aid concert about American farmers needing financial assistance that inspired Willie Nelson to stage the first Farm Aid later that same year.

"I hope that some of the money ... maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe ... one or two million, maybe ... and use it, say, to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks," Dylan said. His question did not sit well with Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof. Angry that Dylan was taking the focus off the victims of the 1983-1985 Ethiopian famine Live Aid was organized to help, he labeled them "crass, stupid and nationalistic."

Read More: How Live Aid United the World

But Nelson felt differently. "The question hit me like a ton of bricks," he told Billboard in 2015. Neil Young and John Mellencamp helped Nelson launch the now-annual event, which has to date raised over $64 million to support family farms and a sustainable food system.

Watch Bob Dylan's Farm Aid 2023 Performance

Bob Dylan Albums Ranked

Not so surprisingly, Bob Dylan's recording career has lots of ups and downs. That's bound to happen when you stick around for more than 50 years and release three dozen albums during that time.