With the announcement that the Saturday concert at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts show is sold out, it’s obvious that more than just a handful of San Diego musicians are interested in the re-creation of The Band’s historic 1978 Filmore concert, The Last Waltz.
Thirty-five years ago, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Joni Mitchel, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, and a handful of other musicians came together to partake in The Band’s farewell performance. The night was documented and filmed by Martin Scorsese and immortalized as one of rock’s greatest performances. Similar re-creations of The Last Waltz have been done, most recently in San Francisco, but now it’s San Diego’s turn to take a pass at the legendary songs.
Jeff Berkley of the folk duo Berkley Hart, who’s hosting the night with singing partner, Calman Hart, spoke to us about what to expect and how this all came together.
When was the first time you saw The Last Waltz? What type of impression did it make on you?
Well I saw it when I was 13 or 14. I was mesmerized by Levon Helm’s drumming and singing!
What made you decide that you wanted to do re-create The Last Waltz?
It’s soooo much fun to play these songs and hear San Diego Artist’s breathe new life into them!
Are you working with the other artists on the arrangement of their songs, or did you just assign the song and let them take it from there?
Each guest will work with our all-star band to work up each of their songs. Once we sat down and decided on our wish list for guests, we called and booked ‘em. The rest is up to them.
How did you pick who was going to play what song?
Just instinct and knowing what each person did and how that might fit into the show. These are some of my favorite people in the world as well as some of my favorite players I the world.
What is your favorite performance from the original concert?
I love “Up on Cripple Creek!” That’s the one that caught my ear when I first heard The Band, but Dr. John’s “Such A Night” and Emmylou’s “Evangeline” slay me every time! Gregory Page and Sue Palmer will join our all star band for “Such A Night” while Barbara Nesbitt will sing Emmylou’s part on “Evangeline.”
If you could have one San Diego artist be on the bill that you were unable to get, who would it be, and what song would they play?
We really wanted Candye Cane to sing anything but she’s out of town.
The sold out show will feature a band made up of “Cactus Jim” Soldi, Marc Twang, Sharon Whyte, Tim Flack, Ben Moore, Rick Nash, Larry Grano and The Styletones’ horns. Performing at the concert will also be Jeffrey Joe Morin, Gregory Page, Sue Palmer, Jose Sinatra, Robin Adler and Dave Blackburn, Robin Henkle, Dan Byrnes, John Frazer, Marc Ford, Suzanne Harper, Joe Rathburn, Steve Harris, Barbara Nesbitt and Tolan Shaw, along with another special musical guest.