The Last Waltz — Musical Celebration of the Band are more than just a tribute to the Band, they resurrect the spirit of the Band’s music as you will see at Whoop Up Days, Aug. 27.
While the nine piece band, plus guests base their show on the Martin Scorsese movie — the Last Waltz which chronicled the last concert of the rock and roll icons who had been the backing band for stars like Bob Dylan and Ronnie Hawkins, and featured special guests like Dr. John, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Van Morrison, don’t expect impressions of the guests from the film.
“ If you come in expecting someone to “do” Bob Dylan, you will be disappointed,” said keyboardist and band leader Lance Anderson.
He was asked to put together a tribute to the music of the Band for the Kitchener Blues Festival in 2010 featuring some of the highlights, and had a hit on his hands.
“Originally it was supposed be a one off concert, but people came up to me and said it was the highlight of the whole festival,” he said adding there ended up being a lot of demand for the show.
“ So I decided to get really good people to play the music of the Band,” he said.
among them was Chuck Jackson of the Downchild Blues Band and drummer who coincidentally ended up being the godson of The Band drummer/ vocalist Levon Helm.
“ I heard this kid Jerome Avis playing drums and singing and didn’t know who he was. It’s so hard to find a drummer who sings . I put the word out in Peterborough and it ended up his father Bill was the road manager for the Band during the Last Waltz. You can hear them talking to him off stage in the movie,” he said.
“He started out as roadie for them when he was 17 and graduated to road manager. He used to take Jerome on tour with them and he’d be backstage watching Levon,” Anderson said.
Anderson also has a personal connection the the Band. He produced one of Garth Hudson‘s solo album.
“He is a genius. I spent a year with him doing his solo album. And just learning to play all of the things he played, he is a genius,” he said.
The special guests are a rotating cast, based around their tour schedules.
“ That’s the most challenging part of it is working around everybody’s tour schedules. We usually do this show in October or November. But this series of shows in Alberta came around for the summer,” he said adding they are using two horn players from Calgary for the Alberta dates, and Chuck Jackson has to leave right after Whoop Up Days for another gig, so won’t be playing with them in Calgary the next day.