Partying Peeps would like to welcome our new author (and fellow MHS Alumni) Jim Cunningham. I met Jim at The Cellar Bar in our hometown of Larchmont, he is one of the rock star bartenders he was a grade below me in highschool and it turns out we both followed the Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion. Jim also write for Honest Tune.
Levon Helm Band
Central Park Summerstage
Sept 2, 2009
When people go to see their favorite bands live, they usually go for more than the music. Watching said band(s) in person lets the typical concert-goer connect with their idols. It allows one to look past the fancy staged music videos and into the musician’s soul. It provides a small glimpse into the artist’s thoughts, emotions, and even into some of their personality. The way they move, groove, walk, talk- even dress- can all enhance their performance on stage.
When it comes to watching Levon Helm and his band perform, you walk away with a feeling like you just watched one of your best friends play in your basement. Although his voice was sidelined due to sprained vocal chords his smile said plenty. No one smiles more than this man when he is performing. At 69 years old, he can still pound the skins with the best of them. When he isn’t smiling he’s usually kicking it into gear with one of his classic fills or letting the rest of his extremely talented band know when the next change is.
On tour now supporting his new critically acclaimed album “Electric Dirt,” Levon revisits classics such as “Tennessee Jed,” a song made famous by the Grateful Dead. The chorus is sung by the entire band (as well as the crowd) which includes his daughter Amy Helm, who like her father plays the mandolin, sings, and every once in a while plays the drums. Teresa Williams (guitar/vocals), her husband Larry Campbell (vocals/anything with strings….literally) and Brian Mitchell (piano/organ/accordion/vocals) round up the rest of the singers.
Photo Courtesy of Delaware Online
Dropping in Band classics like “The Shape I’m In” and “It Makes No Difference” really brought the crowd to that extra level. Smiling away Levon rolled through the set without missing a beat. The definite highlight of his performance was the closer “The Weight.” For this song Chris and Rich Robinson were invited on stage to help sing along as well as Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman to keep the beat strong. Everyone traded verses and the crowd roared showing their appreciation. Once the song was over hands were shaken and hugs given as the musicians said their goodbye to their audience. Before Levon left the stage he was spotlighted and stood up tall waving, blowing kisses, and even bowing down to the crowd in order to show his appreciation to the only thing he can possibly love as much as playing-his fans.