A star-studded, surprisingly eclectic lineup including Laurie Anderson, Mark Kozelek, Emily Haines, Nels Cline, Bill Muray, Steve Buscemi, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, Gina Gershon, and more assembled on Thursday, Bob Dylan’s 77th birthday, to stage Tomorrow Is A Long Time, a freewheelin’ tribute to the Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan era. Organized by producer Hal Willner and featuring a backing house band that included a four-piece horn section, cello and violin, keyboards, and two percussionists, the concert, held at New York City’s Town Hall, was a song-for-song recreation of Dylan’s April 12, 1963 concert at the same venue ahead of the release of his iconic second album a month later.
Bob Dylan’s 77th birthday was celebrated with a kinetic reimagining of his 1963 solo concert at New York’s Town Hall. Titled Tomorrow Is A Long Time, the May 24 event produced by Hal Willner featured a slew of talented guests — among them: contemporary performers like The Milk Carton Kids, Emily Haines and Teddy Thompson, 60’s survivors like Geoff Muldaur and Bob Neuwirth, poetess Anne Waldman and savvy stage performers like Gina Gershon, Steve Buscemi and Bill Murray — and followed the original concert’s set list, providing ardent, idiosyncratic musical settings for Dylan’s songs with barely a hint of nostalgia. Musical Director Steven Bernstein and the Town Hall Ensemble led the tribute, which was filled with humor, social commentary and an impressive range of musical styles.
While Dylan’s original concert was a solo acoustic affair, the brawny Town Hall Ensemble contained a number of amazing musicians including bandleader Bernstein on trumpet, Wilco-guitarist Nels Cline, keyboardist Marc Cary and violinist Zach Brock. Enjoying a full assortment strings, horns and a badass rhythm section, the Ensemble infused the varied guest performances with funk and Latin rhythms, playing jazz, soul and rock as well as some more traditional folkie terrain.
If they were not joined at the hip, they were certainly joined at the piano bench. A special concert salutes the Canadian jazz giants Oliver Jones (now retired) and his late friend and mentor Oscar Peterson. Piano luminaries scheduled to perform include Monty Alexander, D.D. Jackson, Robi Botos and Marc Cary, in a program of such melodious things as The Canadiana Suite, Peterson's hard-swinging homage to his home country. Dec. 9, at Living Arts Centre, Mississauga.