Bob Dylan debuted his cover of the Grateful Dead’s 1970 song “Truckin’” in Japan Wednesday night.

The legendary singer-songwriter has performed a handful of Dead tracks in the past, but he's never played "Truckin'," which tells the story of a drug bust at a New Orleans hotel where Jerry Garcia and his bandmates were staying.

Dylan has long been a fan of the Grateful Dead, touring with them in the ‘80s and releasing the live album Dylan & the Dead in 1989. It’s long been rumored that at one point he asked if he could join the band but was rejected after the members put it to a vote.

“Truckin’” is one of the songs Dylan wrote about in his latest book, The Philosophy of Modern Song. “The Grateful Dead are not your usual rock ’n’ roll band,” he noted. “They’re essentially a dance band. They have more in common with Artie Shaw and bebop than they do with the Byrds or the Stones. Whirling dervish dancers are as much a part of their music as anything else. ... With most bands, the audience participates like in a spectator sport. They just stand there and watch. They keep a distance. With the Dead, the audience is part of the band – they might as well be on the stage.”

Dylan is currently on the road with his Rough and Rowdy Ways tour, which continues across Japan before a series of European dates that run until July 9.

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