Love For Levon was a heart-felt tribute to one of the most influential musicians of the past 50 years, Levon Helm from the band, who sadly passed this past April leaving behind an incredible musical legacy. This star studded tribute included Roger Waters, John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, Eric Church, Ray LaMontagne, Dierks Bentley, Joe Walsh, Gregg Allman, Grace Potter, Garth Hudson of The Band, Marc Cohn, Jakob Dylan, Mike Gordon, Warren Haynes, John Hiatt, Bruce Hornsby, Jorma Kaukonen, The Levon Helm Band, John Prine, Robert Randolph, Mavis Staples, and Lucinda Williams.
Playing with the Levon Helm band was Kenny Aronoff and Don Was. It was easy to see how much everyone loved Levon, fans and the performers. I was lucky enough to have gotten to see Levon twice, I remember how gracious he was towards to audience, and was always smiling when he played. The show started with Ken Dashow from Q104.3 telling the audience about the time he first met Levon, when Levon said to him “C’mon son, give me a hug.” For those who knew Levon, it was easy to see how kind he was, but those who knew him knew it first hand.
Dashow then announced the first guest, Warren Haynes, as the Levon Helm band took the stage. Warren Hayne’s and Levon’s band led by Larry Campbell started the show with “Shape I’m In” by The Band, and was followed by Gregg Allman joining Haynes for “Long Black Veil,” followed by Jorma Kaukonen and Barry Mitterhoff from Hot Tuna performing “Trouble In Mind.” Shawn Pelton joined the band for “This Wheel’s On Fire.” Followed by Levon’s daughter Amy Helm and The Levon Helm band on “Little Birds,” Then Marc Cohn joined the band for a song of his “Listening to Levon. A few of the songs that had the crowd dancing were “Don’t Do It,” “Aint Got No Home,” “Tenesee Jed” and “Ophelia.” Each performance was great, and Levon was very much there in spirit.
The Levon Helm band played on all the songs except for the ones performed by My Morning Jacket. Some of the collaborations such as John Mayer and Ray Lamontagne, Roger Waters and My Morning Jacket, Dierks Bentley and Garth Hudson, and David Bromberg and Joan Osborne were very unexpected. All performances were incredible. There was an intermission half way through the concert, which was 3 hours. A few quotes were, “God bless you Levon, we love and miss you.”- Bruce Hornsby, “God Bless Levon Helm, his spirit lives on”- Lucinda Williams, “Levon Helm was always about the music, and this is about the music.”- Eric Church.
It was wonderful getting to see Garth Hudson perform, since he had played on so many of the original recordings of the songs performed, and is one of the 2 last surviving members of The Band. A few other guests that joined in unannounced through out the evening were Jaimoe, drummer for the Allman Brothers, Steve Jordan, drummer for The John Mayer Trio, and Rami Jaffee, keyboardist for the Wallflowers.
After My Morning Jacket performed “Ophelia” and “Makes No Difference,” The final guest of the evening was Roger Waters. Waters walked on stage casually with no introduction and said “Wow, there’s a lot of love in this room,” then performed “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” with My Morning Jacket. Waters then spoke about when Helm, Rick Danko, and Hudson played at the 1990 The Wall: Live In Berlin concert. Waters said when he was at the Intercontinental Hotel in Berlin Levon said “Roger, I like your style, I want you to have my hat, and its been my fishing hat ever since” Waters continued saying “This will be with me till the day I die, because it means a lot to me, and mentioned that he hasn’t owned any piece of clothing as long as Levon’s hat. Levon’s hat sat on the mic stand until the end of the show then Waters put it back on. Waters was joined by Amy Helm and Larry Campbell for “Wide River To Cross.” Then all the artists throughout the night returned “The Weight” which was the closer when Levon played live.
This truly was a once in a lifetime event. Rather than trying to sound like The Band and Levon, each performer played in their own way, and sounded like themselves. The concert was not only a tribute to Levon but a benefit for Save The Barn.
Reviewed by Alex Kluft on 10/3/12
- Warren Haynes- Shape I’m In
- Gregg Allman & Warren Haynes- Long Black Veil
- Jorma Kaukonen & Barry MItteroff- This Wheels On Fire
- Shawn Pelton- This Wheel’s On Fire
- The Levon Helm Band featuring Amy Helm- Little Birds
- Marc Cohn- Listening to Levon
- Mavis Staples- Move Along Train
- Allen Toussaint and Jaimoe- Life Is A Carnival
- John Prine- When I Paint My Masterpiece
- Bruce Hornsby – Anna Lee
- Jakob Dylan & Rami Jaffee – Ain’t Got No Home
- Lucinda Williams – Whispering Pines
- John Hiatt and Mark Godon – Rag Mama Rag
- David Bromberg and Joan Osborne – Don’t do It
- Grace Potter – I Shall Be Released
- Ray LaMontagne & John Mayer – Tears of Rage
- Dierks Bentley – Rockin’ Chair
- Dierks Bentley & Garth Hudson – Chest Fever
- Eric Church – Get Up Jake
- John Mayer & Steve Jordan – Tennessee Jed
- Joe Walsh & Robert Randolph – Up On Cripple Creek
- My Morning Jacket – Ophelia
- My Morning Jacket – Makes No Difference
- My Morning Jacket & Roger Waters – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
- Roger Waters & Amy Helm – Wide River To Cross
- All Artists – The Weight