It’s nearly the end of May and that can only mean one thing for music aficionados: it’s Bob Dylan’s birthday! The 2016 Nobel Prize winner celebrates his 79th trip around the sun on Sunday, May 24.
Videos by American Songwriter
Over the years, musicians, both famous and unknown, have paid tribute to the bard from Minnesota with bar band get togethers, live streams and full-on concert productions. With live music basically at a full stop, it will be difficult to sit at a venue and hear favorites like “Tangled Up In Blue” and “All Along The Watchtower,” sprinkled with rarities “The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo),” “Series of Dreams” or the more recent “Duquesne Whistle.”
The Dylan community, however, is a vast network and the lockdown won’t stop them from a worldwide celebration. Here are a few choice live streams, radio tributes and cover recordings planned in honor of the bard’s birthday, and you can be sure there will be plenty of spontaneous pop-up videos all weekend:
Thursday, May 21: BobFest: Presented by Pat Guadagno
It’s an annual tradition for Tri-state area Dylan fans to head down to Red Bank, NJ and catch this joyous, fun-filled explosion of incendiary musicianship and unique, poignant lump-in-your-throat interpretations, courtesy of Pat Guadagno and Tired Horses.
While this year’s event has been postponed to a later date, Guadagno will broadcast a 2010 concert recording tonight May 21, featuring his band and special guests (including critically-acclaimed singer/songwriter Steve Delopoulos) performing at the town’s 350-seat Two River Theater (the same venue where Bruce Springsteen filmed his VH1 Storytellers show). “Bobfest,” taken from Neil Young’s famous declaration at the Madison Square Garden 1992 tribute, started as a small get-together among friends in a bar and developed into a sold-out show at the 1500-seat Count Basie Theater over the ensuing years. This 2010 concert features a selection of deep cuts. “We went deeper than his obvious songs. And I was very excited because (NY disc jockey) Vin Scelsa was in the audience” Guadagno says. A highlight is the band’s ferocious take on the 1975 track “Hurricane.”
Highway 61 Revival Bandcamp Covers
The lockdown won’t stop the five members Philadelphia’s Highway 61 Revival from paying tribute. They’ve put together a pre-recorded set of Dylan deep cuts available on Bandcamp, including “Love Minus Zero/No Limit,” “When I Paint My Masterpiece” and “Time Passes Slowly.” The band has already rescheduled their tribute to 2021, to be held at Kennett Flash.
Saturday May 23, 2020: 2Ser.com Radio Stream
Broadcasting from Sydney, Australia, radio station 2Ser has been hosting an annual Dylan marathon for 36 years filled with rarities, discussions and call-ins. Host and show producers Bill Kitson promises “an eight-hour celebration of all things Bob.”
State Theater of Ithaca Live Stream Sunday, May 24, 2020 Ithaca, NY State Theater
Artists to be announced. All proceeds from the State Theatre of Ithaca’s LIVEstream events help support the participating local and national touring artists that have lost their income and livelihood due to COVID-18. Contributions also cover all production expenses and help sustain the not-for-profit State Theatre of Ithaca, as we strive to remain at the center of Central New York’s performing arts scene while our doors remain closed.
Friday May 22, 2020: Old Town School of Folk Music
The Old Town School of Folk Music is based in Chicago and hosts online courses and sessions. This Friday from 7:30-9:30 they are hosting a Dylan tribute. It’s a members-only event but you can sign up and join. “Join us for the Bob Dylan Songbag Series. Every month, Jimmy Tomasello will cover different parts of Bob’s vast repertoire. Lyrics and chord charts provided.”
“This month we’ll celebrate Bob’s birthday (79 and counting!) by singing some of the mathematical songs the Bard has offered over the years: zero. 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 16, 35 and on and on.”
City Winery “Positively Bob Dylan 79th Birthday Tribute (rescheduled)
It would have been one of NYC’s hottest tickets this weekend but the City Winery show, “Positively Bob Dylan 79th Birthday Tribute,” has been moved to November 22. No word if the club plans any live stream event but check their social media pages.
Dylan fans can also look forward to the June 19 release of Rough and Rowdy Ways, a brand-new collection of ten originals. Three songs have already been released: “Murder Most Foul,” “I Contain Multitudes” and “False Prophet.”
In Los Angeles, the annual beloved Dylanfest produced by Hard Rain’s Andy Hill and Renee Safier is going to be presented over three days starting May 29 and through May 30 and 31.
Here is their message:
DYLANFEST-THE LIVESTREAM VERSION is coming Fri-Sat-Sun, MAY 29-30-31th!!!
We will be doing three shows, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, May 29-30-31 from 5-8pm PT on Youtube. We’ll be hosting over 40 different performers playing songs by the Nobel Laureate, Bob Dylan. As always, there will be no repeats over the three days. Andy and Renee will be “Live in the Garage” hosting and performing live, and the 40 guest performers will be performing “live” via video. American Songwriter’s Senior Editor Paul Zollo is one of the guests, as he has been for many years.
The members of Hard Rain will be featured as well! We encourage you to tune in as the shows are live-streamed, but you can also watch the shows anytime afterwards.
We understand that many of you are struggling financially, so there will be no “Ticket Fee” to watch, but if you are enjoying the music, there will be an opportunity to contribute, and a portion of the proceeds will go to The Midnight Mission Homeless Shelter in Los Angeles and the national organization, Feeding America.
DYLANFEST YOUTUBE LINKS:
Click the link right now, and “Set A Reminder” so you don’t miss the shows.
Don’t forget to “Subscribe” to our Youtube channel while you are there!