Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan’ in St. Louis Park pays tribute to organizer Billy Hallquist
For the seventh year, Twin Cities musicians will gather for an outdoor concert featuring the music of Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and Minnesota native Bob Dylan.
Following a July 29 event in Maple Grove, performers will gather again 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at Veterans’ Memorial Amphitheater in Wolfe Park, 3700 Monterey Drive in St. Louis Park.
There is no cost to attend.
In 1974 Bob, Dylan recorded his seminal album “Blood on the Tracks” in New York and then re-recorded five tracks in Minneapolis using local musicians. The story of the making of “Blood on the Tracks” is told in the book “A Simple Twist of Fate: Bob Dylan and the Making of ‘Blood on the Tracks’” by Andy Gill and Kevin Odegard. The Minneapolis-area musicians first reunited at Dylan’s 60th birthday celebration at First Avenue in 2000 and a sold-out performance at the Pantages Theater in 2004. In 2005 the studio band was inducted into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame.
In 2009, Odegard organized the first “Blood on the Tracks Live” event in St. Louis Park, featuring several of the members of the band performing songs from the album. Throughout the years numerous local musicians have joined “the family,” giving the show a constantly changing look and sound. The band has evolved into a Dylan tribute band, not restricting songs to any one album. The Maple Grove venue was added in 2011.
Each year these shows attracted up to 6,000 audience members. In 2012, Odegard handed the organizational reins to longtime friend and fellow musician Billy Hallquist. It was also the last year that Odegard, the last remaining member of the “Blood on the Tracks” band to be involved, left the group, and the event was renamed “Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan” in 2013. The 2014 event featured violinist Scarlet Rivera, who toured with Dylan and appeared on several tracks, notably on “Hurricane.” This year will feature a classic lineup of some of Bob’s best known songs to celebrate 15 years of honoring these uncredited but talented musicians.
Guitars for Vets
In 2010 the show began to raise support and awareness of Guitars for Vets, a national organization dedicated to serving veterans who face challenges due to post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Participants receive basic music instruction and, upon completion of the program, a guitar of their own. Cash donations and guitars are collected at the concerts for the organization, and Guitars for Vets merchandise is for sale as well. Information about this organization can be found at guitarsforvets.org. Over the years, thousands of dollars have been collected at the Dylan tribute concerts for Guitars for Vets.
Tribute to Billy Hallquist
After a brief set of songs by Jeff Dayton, this year’s shows will begin with performances of original songs written by Hallquist.
He has acted as organizer, bandleader, publicist, guitarist and singer at these shows. In late 2014, he was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer, and braced for a second fight for his life, having survived polio as a child.
Even while undergoing chemotherapy, he continued to organize the 2015 summer concerts, including two additional concerts featuring “Minnesota Legends” groups Jokers Wild, Thundertree, and the Litter. A fund has been set up to offset some of Billy’s medical expenses.. Hallquist was a member of Thundertree and the K.O. Band, and he has put out two of his own albums, “Persephone” and “Travelin’.” His son, Dan Hallquist, is the producer of the 2015 Dylan concerts, and Odegard is back in the lineup.
The core band, consisting of Hallquist, Odegard, Gary Lopac, Jeff Dayton, Bobby “Z” Rivkin, Scott Sansby, Lonnie Knight, Jim Steinworth, Aaron Ollswang and Mark Lamoine, will be joined by Stan Kipper, Chico Perez, Matt Fink, Patty Peterson, Mary Jane Alm, Ralph Dacut, Kenny Drona, Dan Israel, Steve Grossman, Barbara Meyer, James Loney with Edie Rae and Colleen O, Barry Thomas Goldberg, Arne Fogel, John Pattison, Patrick Nettesheim and Courtney Yasmineh. Master of Ceremonies is “Magic” Marc Percansky.
Parking is available at the St. Louis Park Recreation Center lot or at Excelsior and Grand ramps. The performance may be canceled in case of inclement weather; call 952-924-2567 if weather appears questionable.
More information is available at the “Billy Hallquist Fans” and “Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan” pages on Facebook or by calling Dan Hallquist at 651-246-1552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.