Concert Review: The Ministry Of Folk Presents Bob Dylan Million Dollar Birthday Bash – Auckland Guide Hall July 30, 2021

Bob Dylan Million Dollar Birthday Bash – where Auckland’s Dylanologists gathered together at the Guide Hall in Mt Eden to literally sing the praises of the great man who recently turned 80.

Yep, Bob Dylan is 80 and we now have 60 years of his songs. The folks behind Auckland’s Ministry of Folk (primarily Al Baxter and Nick Edgar) put this little evening together with artists young and old rounded up to sing their favourite Dylan tunes.

Million Dollar BashOn the bill were Kendall Elise, Sam Loveridge George Lamont, Isla, Bill Angus, Emma Wollum, Louis Jarlov, Keylee Bradfield and Roger Marshall. Bernie Griffin was scheduled but unwell, so Kirsten Warner filled in while Al and Nick’s band Hoop got things underway.

The venue was the venerable old Auckland Guide Hall on Grange Road. With chairs set up facing the main stage, the venue holds about a hundred…but there were two stages at the ready with a smaller one at the rear of the room. This created a unique situation where the audience was asked to “swivel” their seats back and forth for maximum viewing pleasure.

Given the fact that most acts only performed one or two songs, there was plenty of swiveling to be done…but, hey, it worked!

Hoop got things rolling on the “Glastonbury Stage” with Tell Me That It Isn’t True, a lesser known tune from Nashville Skyline.

Our first swivel of the evening went off without a hitch and we were facing George Lamont on the “Live Aid” stage who performed Mama, You Been On My Mind and The Times They Are A-Changin’.

But it wasn’t all 60s songs. Hoop and George teamed up for I Remember You from Bob’s “difficult 80s period” and Bill Angus brought us up to date with his take on I Contain Multitudes from just last year.

Million Dollar BashEveryone was in fine form. My personal faves were Sam Loveridge’s Billy 4, a rarely heard tune from the soundtrack to Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid (there’s always a great new/old Dylan song around to discover). But Kendall Elise’ very passionate version of Forever Young had to be the highpoint of the event…a real “pin-drop” moment.

Also notable was Hoop’s version of All Along The Watchtower and the closer, I Shall Be Released, with Kendall, Isla and Raylee joining Hoop.

Honourable mention goes to violin player Emily Allen doing her best Scarlett Rivera.

We swiveled, we sang along, some even dared to dance. One thing was sure…every song was going to be a winner.

Thank you Bob and thank you Ministry Of Folk.

Marty Duda

Click any image to view a full gallery of photos by Aura Kaewchui and Marty Duda

Bob Dylan Million Dollar Bash setlist:
  1. Tell Me That It Isn’t True – Hoop
  2. Mama, You Been On My Mind – George Lamont
  3. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – George Lamont
  4. I’ll Remember You – Hoop with George Lamont
  5. If You Gotta Go, Go Now – Emma Wollum
  6. It Ain’t Me, Babe – Emma Wollum
  7. Masters Of War – Hoop
  8. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Bill Angus
  9. I Contain Multitude – Bill Angus
  10. Blind Willie McTell – Roger Marshall (with Al Baxter & Emily Allen)
  11. Most Of The Time – Roger Marshall (with Al Baxter & Emily Allen)
  12. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – Louis Jarlov
  13. I Was Young When I Left Home – Louis Jarlov
  14. To Make You Feel My Love –Isla & Good Thieves
  15. Like A Rolling Stone – Isla & Good Thieves
  16. Blowin’ In The Wind – Sam Loveridge
  17. Billy 4 – Sam Loveridge
  18. One More Cup Of Coffee – Kirsten Warner & Band
  19. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Kirsten Warner & Band (for Bernie)
  20. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Raylee Bradfield
  21. Gotta Serve Somebody – Raylee Bradfield
  22. All Along The Watchtower – Hoop
  23. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight – Kendall Elise
  24. Forever Young – Kendall Elise
  25. I Shall Be Released – Hoop + Kendall, Isla & Raylee