Venue: The Fox Theatre
City: Detroit, MI
Date: April 7, 2017
Review and Photographs by: Kevin Alfredo
As the jubilant Detroit Tigers fans staggered their way out of the theater district of Detroit, I was on a fast pace in the opposite direction to see a tribute show like no other, The Last Waltz 40 Tour. Now, when I first saw anything regarding this show, I had just heard that Dr. John was playing in Detroit on April 7th, which was pretty much enough for me. Then, about a month later, I was made aware that it was not only Dr. John, but a deep roster of veteran musicians paying tribute to one of the best rock films of all time, The Last Waltz.
Now, lets talk about the all stars in this roster… The NOLA contingent…Cyril Neville, Dave Malone, Terence Higgins, Mark Mullins…was well represented. But, the heavy heavy hitters, and apparent leaders of this tribute, Warren Haynes and Don Was, really hit it out of the park. Both of these gentlemen have really solidified their place in rock history as two of the most varied musicians of our time…with their fingerprint on so many bands, its extremely difficult to keep up with all of the projects they are or have been a part of. Another member of the core band was Jamey Johnson. Now, up until this show, I had never heard of Jamey. But then I heard him…this boy can sing. And, finally, Danny Louis of Gov’t Mule…a force to be reckoned with, for sure.
Then, you have the Hall of Famers… Dr. John, Taj Mahal, Bob Margolin. Each one of these guys appeared in the original filming of The Last Waltz. It was epic to see them up on stage performing on many of the same songs they recorded 40+ years ago. And, then, something for the home crowd…Wayne Kramer of the famed Detroit band, The MC5…just fantastic.
The highlights of the game… The play by play of this show was a no brainer (with some exceptions…sorry Neil Diamond fans), assuming you had seen the original movie. At the same time, this band brought a fresh but respectable interpretation to the songs. Don’t expect to hear the signature Robbie Robertson licks, or the notable keyboard and synthesizer sounds of The Band (perhaps unless you attend one of the shows that Garth plays). Instead, each of the musicians brought their own interpretation of the songs they fronted or played in.
There are a few songs that are really solidified in my memory. First, “Georgia On My Mind”, as sang by Jamey Johnson. Three songs into the show, and this boy really laid it on the line, and quickly established credibility for those who might not have known him. “King Harvest” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” was a group effort…and showcased the great horn section that I have failed to mention up until this point. CSN&Y’s “Helpless” and Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” were tear jerkers and really allowed the wide vocal range of the band to hit all the peaks and valleys. And “Don’t Do It” was the closer that gave all the guitars a chance to shine, including Wayne Kramer of the MC5.
This show was definitely a win for the home town fans. If the Last Waltz 40 Tour has yet to hit your town, be sure to head on down!
- Drums – Terence Higgins
- Guitar, Vocals – Warren Haynes
- Guitar, Vocals – Jamey Johnson
- Bass, Producer – Don Was
- Trombone – Mark Mullins
- Keys – Danny Lewis
- Dr. John
- Taj Mahal
- Wayne Kramer (of MC5)
- Bob Margolin (Muddy Waters backing musician, solo blues musician)
- Cyril Neville (famed NOLA musician)
- Dave Malone (The Radiators)
THE LAST WALTZ 40 LINKS:
About the Author: