Shore troubador Pat Guadagno returns to the Count Basie Theatre Thursday for the 2013 edition of the Bob Dylan birthday bash known as BOBFEST. (photo by John Posada)
By TOM CHESEK
Like the grandest and most history-steeped Chuck E. Cheese on the planet, the Count Basie Theatre has been the setting for some special birthday parties across the years including crowdpleasing annual tributes to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
Beginning in May 2012, the Basie boards have also played host to a homegrown event that honors a decidedly still-alive-and-kicking music icon: Bobfest, a salute to Bob Dylan‘s birthday created by and starring Monmouth County’s own Pat Guadagno.
It’s a logical progression for the springtime tradition that began life in 1999 as an impromptu birthday-boy toast to Dylan at the old Downtown Cafe and evolved from a loose jam at various local taverns to a tightly constructed stage extravaganza that spent six years in residence at the Two River Theater.
Having attracted international attention from diehard Dylanites and having outgrown the 350 seats of Two River’s mainstage Rechnitz Theater Guadagno moved Bobfest a couple of blocks east to the Count’s place last year. This Thursday night on the eve of the 72nd birthday of the former Robert Zimmerman the self-described saloon singer of 1,001 tap rooms and watering holes returns to Red Bank with his allstar combo Tired Horse, for the 15th edition of a project that he characterizes as “not a tribute a celebration, and a really polished show.”