Bob Dylan sang about a “Million Dollar Bash” on his celebrated “Basement Tapes” recordings, and that’s nearly what the 2015 Newport Folk Festival became over the weekend during a 50th anniversary salute to Dylan’s historic 1965 performance.
In addition to performances by various artists of songs Dylan sang when he famously “went electric” at Newport, R.I., guitarist and songwriter Taylor Goldsmith of Los Angeles indie rock band Dawes got to strap on the Fender Stratocaster that Dylan played the day he fully transitioned from acoustic folkie to newly electrified rocker.
The cheers and boos Dylan received that day have been debated endlessly in the ensuing half-century.
The guitar sold at auction in 2013 to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for $965,000 — the highest price ever paid for a guitar at auction — and Irsay lent it to the festival for this year’s Dylan tribute.
Goldsmith and Dawes played “Maggie’s Farm,” the song Dylan opened his set with a half-century ago. Another connection between the two performances was the presence this year with Dawes of organist Al Kooper, who had been part of the band that backed Dylan in 1965.
Goldsmith's connection to Dylan's legacy from the mid-'60s also includes his participation as one of the members of the band assembled by producer T Bone Burnett to set previously unpublished lyrics to music for the 2014 album "Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes."
Other performers at this year’s Dylan salute included Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Willie Watson, Hozier and Klara Soderberg of First Aid Kit, John McCauley and Ian O’Neil of Deer Tick, Robyn Hitchcock and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans, which offered up “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35,” according to the Providence (R.I.) Journal’s review of the show.
Dylan did not attend.
Follow @RandyLewis2 on Twitter. For more on Classic Rock, join us on Facebook.
'Keith Richards: Under the Influence' doc due Sept. 18 on Netflix
Amoeba has an insanely rare Bob Dylan test pressing for $12,000
Singer-songwriter Moses Sumney resonates with his ethereal falsetto