Dylan left both the university and Minnesota that autumn, hitting the road for New Jersey and a fateful rendezvous with his idol and soon-to-be mentor Woody Guthrie. That was the last we saw of Bob until May 1961, when he returned for a brief, but extremely telling, appearance at a university hootenanny. The change in Bob was, to say the least, incredible... Dylan's performance that spring evening of a selection of Guthrie and Gary Davis songs was hectic and shaky, but it contained all the elements of the now perfected performing style that has made him the most original newcomer of folk music.
Jon Pankake & Paul Nelson, Bob Dylan, Little Sandy Review, c. 1962; reprinted in Elizabeth Thomson & David Gutman, The Dylan Companion, London, 1990, pp. 59-60.
Dylan wasn't too well received at Caffé Lena... At one point it was so noisy in the place that Bill Spencer, Lena's husband, had to get on the stage and tell the audience to quiet down... He... told the audience: "You may not know what this kid is singing about and you may not care, but if you don't stop and listen you will be stupid all the rest of your lives. Listen to him, dammit." His little speech didn't help much; Dylan's two-night stand was not an overwhelming success.
The hall cost Izzy Young $75.00, the tickets and programmes cost $35.00 more... Of the 50 people who attended most of them were Dylan and Suze's friends. Dylan was supposed to get half the profits but Young gave him $20.00 even though the concert made a loss.
Miles, Bob Dylan, Big O Publishing Ltd, 1978, p. 7.
Izzy said to us, "Hey, I'm running a concert with Bob Dylan -- why don't you come as my guests?" We went along and there were about six girls in the place. That was the complete audience...
Robbie Woliver, Hoot! A 25-Year History of the Greenwich Village Music Scene, New York, NY, 1986, p. 82.