Guitar World was proud to be part of Bob Fest, a unique night of music celebrating the music of Bob Dylan as performed by New Jersey acoustic troubadour Pat Guadagno (featured recently in Guitar World Acoustic) and his band Tired Horses. Held May 23, the eve of Dylan’s 66th birthday, at the Two River Theatre in Red Bank, NJ, the charity event raised monies for the Rock and Roll Music Fund and the Anthony X. Guadagno Scholarship Fund (an endowed scholarship awarded to an outstanding New Jersey student enrolled at Berklee College of Music). The 34-song set was anchored by Guadagno’s rock-solid acoustic playing—from raucous, invigorated strumming on “Subterranean Homesick Blues” to tender finger-picking on “Boots of Spanish Leather.”
It would be easy to do a three-hour celebration of Dylan’s music filled with such well-known songs as “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Tangled Up in Blue” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” all of which Guadagno and his band performed brilliantly. But Guadagno was not content to be your average cover band. Much like the artist whose music he was celebrating, Guadagno challenged the audience and the band with several obscure numbers. Epic songs such as “Tombstone Blues” and “Idiot Wind” became jam band jubilees, with electric guitarist Rich Oddo emoting long Jerry Garcia influenced solos punctuated with tasty volume swells. Long forgotten gems like “From a Buick Six” and “Man Gave Names to All the Animals” were transformed into rollicking honky-tonk and reggae-tinged rave-ups. Guest vocalists Mary McCrink and Steve Delopoulos also tackled rarities including “Oh Sister” and “Gospel Plow,” with Delopolous holding his own in the proficient acoustic playing department. Above all, the evening illustrated the musical richness of Dylan’s catalog, while showcasing Guadagno’s mastery of the acoustic guitar.