A celebration of music and lives took place on April 19th at Tarrytown Music Hall. The evening saw musicians take to the stage to play the songs of The Band with perfection. It was not just any random musicians on stage however, it included original members of The Band, including Garth Hudson, a founding member, along with Jim Weider and Randy Ciarlante, both of whom joined in the later days. The three played alongside Byron Isaacs and the great Jimmy Vivino from Late Night with Conan. These musicians came together to celebrate the legacy of one of the greatest bands in rock and roll history, and they did an amazing job.
To start off the night, Jimmy and Byron came out for a duet on the piano and bass respectively. Jimmy played the piano most of the night even though he is primarily known for his guitar work and did a great job of being the leader of this ensemble of musicians. Before he began, he apologized for the late start and also said he didn’t realize that when the concert was booked it would fall on the one year anniversary of the death of Levon Helm. This was mentioned throughout the evening and made the show rise to another level.
The rest of the band came out and Garth started up his accordion for a solo before they dove right into “This Wheel’s on Fire.” A few songs later, “Up On Cripple Creek” rang through the concert hall and Garth finally got a chance to shine. His solo during the song was met by an approving roar from the crowd. A solid “Look Out Cleveland” followed with excellent guitar work by Jim and a great “Just Another Whistle Stop” had everyone stepping up to the plate to produce some wonderful music. To end the first set, Garth fired up his organ work for his amazing solo piece “Genetic Method.” This is Garth in his element: destroying his organ for the benefit of others. The song, as it always had at The Band concerts, went right into “Chest Fever” and the crowd erupted. This is a fan favorite and everyone on stage could feel the energy in the room and used it to their advantage.
The second set started up with Garth bringing out his wife, Sister Maud. With a little talking between the two of them and to the audience about Levon, they started up the set with “It Makes No Difference.” Sister Maud sounded great and after the song she spoke with the audience. She mentioned that Garth just recently turned 75 and that when he did he told her he was finally ready, she responded with the question “Ready for what?” to which he replied “Ready to tour.” It was a funny moment and great to see the two of them smile at one another. This led to everyone else coming out for “Don’t Do It.” This was another great choice and brought the house down. Following this was a quick acoustic set which included grating versions of “When I Paint My Masterpiece” and “Rocking Chair.” It ended with Amy Helm coming out to sing “All A Glory” and she did a wonderful job of it. The show then went into high energy with a great version of “The Shape I’m In.”
It was non-stop song after song from here until the end of the show. Jimmy’s vocals were especially passionate in “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” The show ended with Jimmy stating again how wonderful it was to play with Garth and that he hoped he could do it again sometime. Amy and Sister Maud came out for “The Weight” and everyone in the venue sang along with the band on stage. With a thank you and “This was for Levon”, Jimmy said goodnight and the crowd left the Tarrytown Music Hall with smiles across their faces. The Band was an amazing group of musicians and their songs can, and should, still be heard by everyone today.