This is the best New Jersey tribute to Bob Dylan
For years around the 24th of May, (Bob Dylan’s birthday) New Jersey throws an amazing birthday tribute to Rock and Roll legend Bob Dylan. This year will be no exception. On Thursday night May 26, 2022, New Jersey will be celebrating Bob Dylan’s 81st birthday. Bob Dylan is the epitome of Rock n Roll and some say he is the most prolific songwriter ever.
New Jersey has celebrated Bob Dylan often. For 23 of the past 24 years, my good friend, the very talented musician and New Jersey’s favorite Troubadour Pat Guadagno has paid tribute to Bob Dylan around his birthday with his great concert Bobfest. Bobfest started in 1998 at The Downtown Café in Red Bank. At the time, the Downtown was a small narrow bar with a small stage and Pat would play there every Monday night.
Well, on that fateful night, May 25, 1998 head bartender Tommy Moog shouted out that it was Bob Dylan’s birthday the day before and “how about playing a Dylan song.” Pat went into about six Dylan songs much to the delight of the packed bar. I was lucky enough to be there that night and enjoyed every song.
The energy from Pat’s performance sparked the audience to engulf themselves in Dylan’s mesmerizing lyrics. Bobfest was born that night and would eventually grow to a two-night showcase.
Then because of its popularity was moved to The Two River Theatre in Red Bank, and eventually moved again to the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, which was necessary to hold the many fans to enjoy the performance.
Pat has put a world-class band together that does justice to Dylan’s amazing lyrics and talent. It’s one of my favorite shows and I’m fortunate that Pat has asked me to host Bobfest every year. Unfortunately in 2020 because of the Pandemic Bobfest was canceled.
In 1975 Bob Dylan painted his face and drove a busload of musicians across North America on a 57-show tour they called the Rolling Thunder Revue. The circus-like expedition, recently documented by filmmaker Martin Scorsese, produced some of the most joyous music and critically acclaimed performances of Dylan’s career.
This year BobFest welcomes Rob Stoner, to the May 26th celebration. Stoner was Bob Dylan’s bass player and musical director on the 2-year RTR tour and his recording credits include Don McLean’s American Pie.
Rob joins Pat Guadagno, Rob Paparozzi, Steve Delopolous, and All-Star Band to deliver the music of the Rolling Thunder Revue with passion and reverence befitting a Nobel Prize Winner.
Tickets are on sale now through theBASIE.org, and the Count Basie Center box office, located at 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank. Box office 732.842.9000. Tickets:$45, $39, $29, $25, $20 | Limit 8 tickets per mailing address
The impact Bob Dylan has on arts and entertainment throughout the world is significant. Bob Dylan has written more than 600 songs and sold more than 100 million records, winning 10 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, the Academy Award in 2000 for Best Original Song “Things Have Changed” from the movie Wonder Boys, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, his songs are in the Grammy Hall of Fame, in 2008 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Special Citations and he remains the only rock 'n' roll musician to win The Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.
Soon to be 81 years of age, the only thing that has paused Dylan’s relentless worldwide tours has been the Covid 19 virus.
In December of 2020, Bob Dylan sold his catalog of music, all 600 songs, to Universal Music for over 300 Million dollars making it the largest purchase of any single artist’s catalog in the history of music.
His success and marketing have even led to Dylan associating his name and brand with Heavens Door Whiskey. You can drink it while enjoying his music.
He grew up surrounded by humble beginnings in the Iron Range section of Northern Minnesota. His music became an icon of pop culture in the '60s. His powerful lyrics hit home on political, social, philosophical, and literary fronts.
The Beatles have stated publicly that Bob Dylan had a major influence on their career. It was John Lennon that introduced the Beatles to Bob Dylan, and Dylan’s music would be played when the Beatles traveled or when they had some downtime. Springsteen, Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Donovan, Jimi Hendrix, and Neil Young are just some of the major artists that were greatly influenced by Bob Dylan’s music and words.
BobFest is a great way to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday and enjoy the incredible talent of New Jersey’s finest musicians. Happy birthday Bob!
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.