The Band’s ‘Last Waltz’ Celebrated in All-Star New Orleans Showby Best Classic Bands Staff
Allmans/Gov’t Mule guitarist Warren Haynes, super-producer Don Was, jazz-rock keyboard star John Medeski and country-roots outlaw Jamey Johnson are the first names announced for a 40th Anniversary Salute to The Band’s historic Last Waltz show, album and film. The show, Last Waltz New Orleans: A Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of The Last Waltz, will be held on April 30th at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.
It will also feature members of The Radiators, The Meters plus The Bonerama Horns showcasing the original Last Waltz horn arrangements by NOLA’s late and legendary Allen Toussaint. Noted players on the show include The Meters’ pioneering bass player George Porter, Jr., The Radiators’ Dave Malone, legendary funk drummer Terence Higgins (Dirty Dozen Brass Band, John Scofield’s Piety Street Band) and The Bonerama Horns’ Mark Mullins (Galactic, Harry Connick, Jr.). More participants are expected to be announced and special surprise guest stars will likely pop up at the show.
Although four of the members of The Band were from Canada – drummer Levon Helm hailed from the neighboring state to Louisiana of Arkansas – and the group largely lived and recorded in Upstate New York during its original 1965 to ’76 run, the music of New Orleans was an important influence on and component in their sound. The event this show celebrates is a Thanksgiving Day 1976 farewell concert at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, CA with such guests as Bob Dylan (who they backed as he went electric) and Ronnie Hawkins (who they worked with on countless Canadian bar and roadhouse dates) as well as Muddy Waters, Dr. John, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Charles, Neil Diamond and Paul Butterfield. The show became an acclaimed concert movie directed by filmmaker Martin Scorsese and a best-selling triple album package.
Produced by Blackbird Presents, the celebration will no doubt be filmed for a later TV special/DVD. The company’s credits include such previous New Orleans musical salutes as The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: Celebrating Mac and His Music (see our item on its recent airing here) and Nevilles Forever: A Celebration of The Neville Brothers and Their Music as well as the Grammy-nominated All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs and Voice of Gregg Allman and Lynryd Skynrd: One More For The Fans.