THE TOWN HALL Presents TOMORROW IS A LONG TIME: Songs from Bob Dylan's 1963 Town Hall Concert

THE TOWN HALL Presents TOMORROW IS A LONG TIME: Songs from Bob Dylan's 1963 Town Hall Concert

On April 12, 1963, Bob Dylan played his first major concert. It was at The Town Hall in New York City. It wasn't sold out - but those who were there witnessed a truly historic event.

A month before the release of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, the singer/songwriter´s groundbreaking second album, Dylan performed solo, accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica. He played a set of mostly unknown songs, soon-to-be classics like "Blowin' in the Wind," "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright," and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."

On Thursday, May 24, 2018 -- Bob Dylan's 77th birthday --The Town Hall will present Tomorrow is a Long Time: Songs from Bob Dylan's 1963 Town Hall Concert, a musical celebration of that momentous performance. Tomorrow is a Long Time is the second performance featuring the Town Hall Ensemble, which revisits the history of The Town Hall as this historic landmark venue builds toward its centennial celebration in 2021.

The concert, featuring pop/R&B/jazz singer Lisa Fischer, singer/songwriters Geoff Muldaur and Bob Neuwirth, multi-instrumentalist, composer and visual artist Laurie Anderson,

multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter Joan As Police Woman (aka Joan Wasser), and more surprise guests, will be anchored by The Town Hall Ensemble, directed by trumpeter, arranger and bandleader Steven Bernstein. The event is produced by Hal Willner and M.A. Papper, Artistic Director of The Town Hall.

"Dylan's Town Hall concert was a masterpiece, from the rambling jam intro, to the closing piece of spoken word and poetry, timeless classics, and even angry protest songs that were never released, some never completed, like Hiding Too Long," says Papper. "I don't think a lot of people are familiar with those amazing songs. And, sadly, those protest songs are as relevant today as they were in '63. So we wanted those sung by voices that identify with those struggles today."

For Bernstein, the challenge - and the opportunity -- is to take a large ensemble and reconfigure "music that was performed by one guy with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica," he said. "We are not going to recreate that concert but re-imagine it. I feel that with these songs and these musicians, anything's possible musically."

The Town Hall Ensemble, designed and assembled by Bernstein to address a broad spectrum of styles and thus drive the Town Hall's far-ranging series, features a rotating cast of top New York musicians. This concert features Lakecia Benjamin (alto sax); Ron Blake (tenor sax); Nels Cline (guitar); Marika Hughes (cello); Zach Brock (violin); Bria Skonberg (trumpet); Natalie Cressman (trombone); Marc Cary (piano and keyboards); Marcus Rojas (tuba); Ricardo Rodriguez (bass); and Pedrito Martinez (percussion).

The performance, says Bernstein, "will feature the full ensemble so it's going to be something unique because we're going to take Dylan's music and translate it into this New York band language and incorporate all the rhythms of New York - from jazz and mambo to hip hop. I feel we have all that at our disposal with this ensemble."

The Town Hall Ensemble (THE) spotlights landmark events in the Hall's history--from social justice movements that made their voice heard at The Town Hall, to historic musical performances. In its inaugural concert in October 2017, The Town Hall Ensemble paid tribute to Coretta Scott King's Freedom Concerts, which she debuted at The Town Hall in 1964. THE performed other legendary debuts, including Mingus' Freedom Suite (1962), sung by Charles' son, Eric Mingus.

"When we are talking about the history of The Town Hall, we are basically talking about the entire history of New York music," said Bernstein, himself a New Yorker who's been a prominent member of the downtown jazz scene. "Think from Fletcher Henderson on - Duke Ellington, Tin Pan Alley, the Brill Building, Machito, Mario Bauza, Tito Puente, early New York rock'n roll, Dylan, bebop, the Dixieland revival, the Velvet Underground, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, all the minimalists, all the way to Afrika Bambaataa. "

That said, Bernstein cautions, "the idea is not to recreate music that has been presented at Town Hall, but to pay tribute to it and use it as repertoire."


Songs from Bob Dylan's 1963 Town Hall Concert


STEVEN BERNSTEIN, Musical Director



Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 8pm (doors 7:30)

Event Link:

Tickets: $25/45/70/95 + $150 VIP (VIP tickets includes post-concert reception with artists)

TICKETS: The Town Hall Box Office 212-997-6661

and TICKETMASTER 1-800-982-2787


123 West 43rd Street (between 6th Avenue and Broadway)

New York, NY 10036

TICKETS at The Town Hall Box Office 212-997-6661

or Ticketmaster 1-800-653-8000

Image: Steven Bernstein leads The Town Hall Ensemble (© Julia Drummond)

Related Articles View More Music Stories

More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Never Miss a Story
Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram instagram