I cannot tell a lie (which, in itself, is actually a lie): despite the fact that various and sundry folks tried their level best to put the Last Waltz tribute show, set to take place Sat., Sept. 22 at the Green Frog, on my radar in a way that would stick via press releases, reminders and text badgering, it wasn’t until I had an offhand conversation with Robert Blake that I realized something truly special was brewing.
I already knew that Blake, along with Stephen Ray Leslie, Louis Ledford, Misty Flowers, and more were teaming up to re-create the Band’s final concert, a show so legendary it would be filmed by Martin Scorsese, dubbed The Last Waltz and go on to become the most critically acclaimed concert film of all time. Of course, that’s the kind of thing that tends to happen when you throw a party and the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Van Morrison show up to help you celebrate your own demise.
Which brings me back to Blake and that back-alley convo. During the course of our mostly inconsequential banter, Blake happened to mention he was in the process of acquiring a purple suit so as to more properly embody his chosen role of Van Morrison during the show.
A purple suit? Take a load off, Annie.
Needless to say, this is shaping up to be something other than your standard-issue tribute night. And, as a nod to historical and geographical accuracy, those charged with organizing this particular Last Waltz have made sure to include a number of Canadian musicians lest that country think we’ve tried to co-opt the Band as being our own (we’ve totally tried to do that, by the way).
But before the spirit of Levon and Co. don their various-colored suits and relive history at the Green Frog, a tribute of a more low-key kind will take place next door at the Redlight. On Fri., Sept. 21, another group of musicians will gather together to honor a musical great, this one being Leonard Cohen.
As a songwriter, Cohen is as prolific as he is profound, giving all who’ve chosen to sign up and partake an impressive breadth and depth of songs from which to select for their performance pleasure. So that means if you’d like to see Scot Casey and Sarah Goodin team up for “Who By Fire” or Andrew Schutte sing “Chelsea Hotel” and “If It Be Your Will” or Chelsea Farmer do her version of “Famous Blue Raincoat,” this is the night and the Redlight is the place. Also on tap to give their renditions of to-be-determined Cohen classics are Johnny McIntyre, Wes Davis, Dan Vee, and more.
Best part? This Cohen tribute is free—which is far less than the cost of what a ticket to see Leonard Cohen would actually cost you these days. As for me, if someone signs up for “Tonight Will Be Fine,” I’ll show up with a tear already in my eye.
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