‘Celebrate’ Dylan

The Brooklyn Paper
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Bob Dylan — the folk singer turned rocker turned voice of at least two generations — will perform in Prospect Park on Tuesday, Aug. 12.

The concert, a benefit for the annual “Celebrate Brooklyn” series at the Ninth Street band shell, was not announced publicly but in a single line on Dylan’s Web site on Monday — the same day that tickets, ranging in prices from $55–$100, went on sale for Dylan fan club members who knew the promotional code “Tilden.”

The best of the pre-sale tickets sold out within hours. By nightfall on Monday, all 5,600 tickets were gone, said Jack Walsh, executive producer of “Celebrate Brooklyn.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled that he’s coming to Brooklyn,” Walsh said. “He’s iconic. He’s touched so many people in so many ways across so many generations. A show like this truly lives up to our mission to put Brooklyn’s diversity on display.”

Walsh declined to discuss how little old Prospect Park landed a performer who fills arenas worldwide, but said “it just came out of a brainstorming session.”

“We were sitting around and someone said, ‘What if we could get Dylan?’ And that’s how it started,” Walsh said.

He also declined to say what Dylan would be paid for the show.

For the legendary folk-rocker, the Prospect Park concert comes at the end of his current “Modern Times” tour, which kicked off on May 16 in Worcester, Mass. and will take him to the Canadian Maritimes, and through Scandinavia and Europe before ending here.

In support of the critically acclaimed 34th album that he put out in 2006, the Pulitzer Prize–winning Dylan’s eclectic shows have featured a mix of his best-known works (“Highway 61 Revisited,” “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”) and some obscure songs like “Cat’s in the Well,” which he added to many set lists after the Bard of Boerum Hill, Jonathan Lethem, recommended the forgotten 1990 tune.

That’s not the Minnesota-born, Greenwich Village–schooled Dylan’s only connection to Brooklyn.

During his religious phase — which produced three standout albums: “Slow Train Coming” (1979), “Saved” (1980) and “Shot of Love” (1981) — Dylan first found Jesus, but then gravitated to the Hasidic Jewish movement known as Chabad. For a time, he was a regular acolyte of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the legendary Crown Heights rebbe.

“He does not mingle much; he is a very quiet person,” Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, then head of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, told the Daily News at the time.

Fans say his re-discovery of his Jewish roots led to his next album, the staunchly pro-Israel “Infidels” in 1983.

His visits to Crown Heights are remembered to this day.

“I think the last time I saw him was 1990,” said Rabbi Aaron Raskin of Congregation B’nai Avraham in Brooklyn Heights. “I held him on my shoulders.”

These days, he is still on everyone’s mind.

Jason Figel, owner of the record store, Music Matters, on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, said Dylan still matters to his customers.

“He’s still a big seller, especially the back catalogue,” Figel said. “And ‘Modern Times’ sold very very well, too. I think people will be very excited about the show in August.”

Excitement is palpable, but even some Dylan fans are reluctant to part with $100 — more like $115 when you include Ticketmaster fees — to hear the roving gambler create a next world war, to paraphrase the singer.

“The ticket price is, frankly, obscene,” said Sloper David Shenk, whose comment comes despite owning virtually every record Dylan has released.

“I am a longtime Dylan fan, but we all know that he is very hit or miss in his shows,” Shenk said. “And while it’s intoxicating that he’s playing in our backyard, $100 is too much money. I wouldn’t pay that much to Richard Thompson open for a Bruce Springstein show that featured Elvis Costello doing a set of songs in the middle.”

The show is one of three on Celebrate Brooklyn’s 28-performance schedule this summer that require concert-goers to purchase tickets.

“We do very few of these ticketed benefit concerts as a means of raising money to support our costs and building out a world-class venue,” Walsh said.

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Reader Feedback

Stuart from London says:
message to Dave Shenk.....
June 6, 2008, 10:42 am
Angelo Ruiz from Dyker hgts says:
Dont have a ticket to see bob dylan can i still go and hear the show and maybe see him if i bring binokulers?????
June 24, 2008, 1:56 pm
lucy from bay ridge says:
What time does the show start---seating? I can't find that out and i actually have tickets!
Aug. 11, 2008, 2:52 pm

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