Saturday night I found myself outside the Trocadero, amongst the half dozen or so people desperately trying to buy a ticket to the sold out Last Waltz Tribute Show. Luckily, I was able to find someone that had an extra, and I was in!
Organized by Fergus “Fergie” Carey, owner of Fergie’s Pub in Philadelphia, The Last Waltz Tribute Show was a benefit for the School Children of Philadelphia. Featuring a ton of Philadelphia talent, the show recreated the legendary 1976 concert “The Last Waltz” from The Band. The concert was immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s documentary film in which The Band plays their farewell concert and is joined by their all-star musical friends on stage, such as Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell and the list of legends goes on and on.
Saturday night at the Troc, “The Band” was made up of Jim Boggia, Pete Donnelly, Adam Flicker, Kevin Hanson, Andrew Lipke, Nate Graham and Matt Muir. They played well-known hits “The Weight,” “Up On Cripple Creek,” and “The Shape I’m In” amongst others. Staying true to the film version of The Last Waltz, a bevy of Philly musicians played the parts of the musical guests including Ben Arnold on Dr. John’s “Such A Night,” Eliza Jones of Buried Beds performing Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote,” and Paul Keen doing Paul Butterfield’s “Mystery Train.” Toy Soldiers played “Who Do You Love?” with Ron Gallo as Ronnie Hawkins. Ali Wadsworth shined as Emmylou Harris singing “Evangeline.” Her voice was so clear and lovely, I overheard people around me offer up a collective “wow.” Garth Hudson, founding member of The Band was the special guest of the evening. He played a pre-show upstairs with a band of school children. He also joined the show for the finale of “I Shall Be Released.”
Seeing such a celebrated show brought to life by all these talented Philadelphia musicians was truly an honor and probably a once in a lifetime event. The music community that The Band brought together for The Last Waltz is similar to the music community in Philadelphia today. With so many of these musicians that consider each other friends, they support each other, and collaborate. It was a lot of fun to watch these musicians who are so talented in their own right, to come together and make this event happen. My kudos to everyone involved.