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BWW Reviews: Roger McGuinn is Superb


Music legend Roger McGuinn was superb in his performance before a packed Pollak Theatre audience at Monmouth University on April 24. He also led an informative and intimate workshop and guitar circle for about fifty dedicated fans in Wilson Hall at the school the day before. It was a uniquely extraordinary two-day appearance.

His workshop and concert seamlessly meshed, with the former providing details about his life in music, including his receiving a one-way plane ticket from Chicago to L.A. for an audition while still in high school (with a copy of the ticket as a slide in his PowerPoint), and the latter displaying the golden voice whose music went platinum. Many participants brought their guitars to the workshop, and they were rewarded with the rare opportunity to play with the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer in a guitar circle following his presentation.

The two-hour concert the next day was the main event. McGuinn was brilliant in performing all the well-known songs, such as Chestnut Mare, Eight Miles High, and Ballad of Easy Rider, and some numbers that were not as familiar, like May the Road Rise to Meet You. The atmosphere in the theater varied, as the masses joined in on Knocking on Heaven's Door and Turn, Turn, Turn, and were as silent and attentive as a Vatican audience during his iconic Mr. Tambourine Man.

McGuinn provided context to periods in his magnificent fifty-plus years as a professional entertainer, including his playing in Greenwich Village coffee shops, road trips with Joan Baez among others and, of course, life with the Byrds. Those in attendance were treated to a segment of folk rock's history from one of its primary authors.

His narration covered humorous stories and little known vignettes. He told of how he went from the crowd to the stage to join Tom Petty while wearing less than appropriate musician attire and the reason his name was part of a Bob Dylan ballad.

The now 72-year-old McGuinn, like his music, is timeless. He sounds virtually the same as he did in the '60's. A fedora replaces a Beatle-style mop top. He was lively and personable and, in a sense, offered each viewer an individual and meaningful experience.

Roger McGuinn got a one-way plane ticket as a high school student and just kept going, playing songs for millions of music lovers. In the jingle jangle mornings, they've come following him.

Information about all things Roger McGuinn, including tour dates, merchandise, and his wife Camilla's engaging blog, can be found at

The Pollak Theatre is located on the campus of Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. Information about its upcoming events can be found at or by calling the university at 732-571-3400.

Photo credit: Leigh Byron

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From This Author Leigh Byron

Dr. Byron has accomplished the educational leadership trifecta: superintendent in public schools, headmaster in private schools, and head of school in charter schools. In addition, (read more...)

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