Bob Dylan first performed at Lehigh’s Stabler Arena in 1981. This performance came during what has been described as Dylan’s preaching, gospel, or “born-again” phase, which followed his conversion to Christianity in the late 1970s. The set list for this concert, as well as all of Dylan’s other concerts, is available on his website. Since 1981, Dylan has made six additional appearances at Stabler arena in 1995, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2010, and most recently in 2013. His initial visit to Lehigh in 1981 proved to be on the earlier end of his career, with his first album released in 1961.
Prior to his appearance at Stabler in 1981, Dylan’s influence on the student body was apparent in both the favorable and unfavorable references to him made in the Brown and White. In comparison to another folk music act that played at Lehigh in 1965, the student reviewer commented, “I can only describe Dylan’s voice as a premature senile croaking coming through a musty rain-barrel.” It seems that after 51 years, the Nobel Prize Committee has repudiated this reviewers opinion that “ranting and wailing, moaning and groaning about how the world is going to hell in a bucket isn’t my idea of good folk music.”