RED BANK: A BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO BOB DYLAN

Pat Guadagno John PosadaPat Guadagno (above) celebrates Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday on the Count Basie stage, while Arlan Feiles (below) takes it to the patio, during Thursday night’s 18th annual “Bobfest.” (Top photo by John Posada)

Arlan FeilesDon’t look now, but Tuesday marks the milestone 75th birthday of Bob Dylan, the American original whose distinctive songcraft and famously Neverending Tour have served as voice and inspiration to a generation and then some.

In the case of Pat Guadagno, a lifelong admiration for Dylan’s words and music inspired the Jersey Shore “saloon singer” supreme to forge his own lasting contribution to the legend of the Bard of Hibbing, Minnesota — a highly anticipated annual event called Bobfest, which returns to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre for its 18th edition Thursday.

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RED BANK: FOR THE LOVE OF BOB (AND BAND)

Big Pink PatMusic from BIG PINK (Arne Wendt, Bob Burger, Sal Boyd, Glen Burtnik) is on the bill, as Pat Guadagno (right) saddles up his Tired Horse for the 17th annual Dylan’s birthday celebration concert BOBFEST, Thursday night at the Count Basie. 

They’ll be bringing the Bob – as they have each year since 1999, when Jersey Shore “saloon singer” supreme Pat Guadagno first offered an impromptu birthday toast to his musical hero Bob Dylan, during a set at the old Downtown Café.

When the benefit tribute concert known as Bobfest takes the stage of the Count Basie Theatre for its 17th annual edition Thursday, it’ll also be bringing the Band – the legendary combo that collaborated with Dylan on some of the master’s most epochal recordings and tours, and whose own spun-off career climaxed with the milestone Last Waltz concert and film in the late 1970s. More to the point, they’ll be bringing Big Pink, the Band tribute project that unites globetrotting Jersey rock ambassador Glen Burtnik with frequent collaborators Bob Burger, Arne Wendt and Sal Boyd for a set that conjures the best time-tested tunes from Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm and company.

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RED BANK: KEEPING BOBFEST FRESH

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.”

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BUSKING IN THE GLORY OF STREET LIFE

Clockwise from top left: A Cool Blues Duo, Jeff & Elaine, The Al Wright Unit and Peas & Carrots are among the acts taking it to the streets for Red Bank Street Life, the 2012 slate of which kicks off this Saturday evening.

It happens right about the time that Riverfest sounds the keynote to summertime in Red Bank. The sidewalks, storefronts and greens of the Shore’s favorite beach-free destination town ring out with great evening music every Saturday night in the weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Other towns may stake a claim to being Where Music Lives, but when Red Bank StreetLife returns on June 2, it will transform the Borough of Basie into that place where Music greets visitors who arrive by rail; where Music provides an eclectic soundtrack to shopping and dining; and where Music gets mobile on the streets of the downtown and West Side business districts.

Presented by Red Bank Rivercenter (with funding assistance from the Monmouth County Arts Council), Street Life offers up a shuffle-mix that ranges from acoustic Americana to ethnic, and from sweet-Adeline harmonies to a little bit of harmonic dissonance.

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