On Sunday, May 20th, 2018, a band of seven musicians and recording artists celebrated the music of Bob Dylan on the legendary artist’s 77th birthday. The show was hosted by WUSB’s Sunday Street Series and The Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council. The Sunday Street Series is a continuing series of concerts featuring legendary performers of the classic rock and folk era along with modern days artists. The series is hosted by Stony Brook University’s Charle Backfish. The series combines a very entertaining radio show hosted by Charle Backfish that airs every Sunday morning from 9:00 am to 11:00 am with the concert series that is held at the Long Island Museum. In many instances, the musical artists that are scheduled to perform are interviewed by Charle Backfish on his radio show the morning of their performances. Charle Backfish began producing the Sunday Street Concert Series in 2004.
The Bob Dylan Birthday Celebration series concerts have become one of the highlights of the concert season. The show has continued to sell out year after year. For fourteen years, the show has featured a steady group of artists who have returned annually to reinterpret and perform Bob Dylan songs taken from every corner of Dylan’s career. While many of the legendary Bob Dylan songs have been performed over the years, the performers have focused on presenting more of the obscure Bob Dylan material and lesser-known album tracks.
For the past six years, the show has featured The Kennedy’s, Rod MacDonald, Russ Seeger, Steve Kaplan, Brian Kachejian and Tom Ryan. The Kennedys were the first artists to appear in the Bob Dylan Birthday Tribute shows that began fourteen years ago. Rod MacDonald, Russ Seeger, and Steve Kaplan have also been performing in the show for over ten years. To learn more about each one of these fantastic musicians and artists, please click on the artist’s links below.
The spontaneity that occurs on the stage between the musicians is one of the draws of the show. The spontaneity is fueled by the fact that these are unrehearsed shows. The performers agree on a setlist before the show and simply show up the night of the concert and perform the songs for the first time without any prior rehearsal.
Two special guests are invited to perform with the cast of regulars each year. Some guests agree to perform with the band while others opt to perform solo. Regardless of performance choice, each gust usually performs just one song. In 2018, the Bob Dylan Birthday Tribute show featured Bill Scorzari in the first set performing the song “High Water.” The second set featured Jenna Silverman performing “New Pony.”
The Bob Dylan Birthday Tribute shows sell out every year. If you are one of those who could not score a ticket, you can view the entire show below. This article has also included some highlighted videos from past performances.
Bob Dylan Birthday Tribute Show – First Set: May 20, 2018
This is an unedited shot of the entire first set.
Bob Dylan Birthday Tribute Show – Second Set: May 20, 2018
There are more videos of past performances at the end of the article.
All black and white photos shot by Tom Neokleous © 2017
All photos were taken by Thomas Neokleous unless noted. ©Tom Neokeous 2017
Select Videos from Past Bob Dylan Birthday Tribute Show Performances: