Mrs. Henry tips their hats to the legends of The Last Waltz, and raises a glass to toast the heritage of the American heartland.
Built on the foundations of bluegrass, country, folk, and blues, The Band’s The Last Waltz is one of the greatest documented concerts of the classic rock and roll era. Mrs. Henry, God bless their aching souls, decided to give a performance at the Belly Up Tavern that was nothing short of spellbinding. It truly was a rare musical occurrence, something that only happens under special circumstances, and one that those in attendance will never forget.
There was an undeniable aura emanating, from the moment the lights dimmed and the ballroom waltz swirled from the PA like some carnival music heard from a distance. The band walked on stage with a hesitant strut and nervous smiles while the audience erupted in applause and cheer. Any fear or question on the part of Mrs. Henry dissipated instantly as they launched into “Cripple Creek.” I remember turning to friends in awe like “Fuck! They’re actually doing it!” only to see the same mirrored expression in their faces. From that moment on, a strange veil fell over the Belly Up, and if you looked closely you could see it rolling from the stage, fanning through the crowd, and enveloping the entire room.
It was a night built on the hard working rehearsals of Mrs. Henry, but it wouldn’t have been as special without their cast of talented friends. From Pat Beers’ (Schizophonics) blistering performances of Ronnie Hawkins and Van Morrison, to Ben Ambrosini’s (Taken by Canadians) sweatless musings of Dr. John, and Anna Zinnova‘s uncanny embodiment of Joni Mitchell. The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble moaned on horns and the show kept true to the unforgettable guest performances: Justin Rodriguez broke hearts with a rendition of Neil Young’s “Helpless.” Jason Meyers of Bad Vibes crooned Neil Diamond’s “Dry Your Eyes.” The unreal bow your head performance came from Bryan Barbarin, Russell Ramo and Murf McRee doing Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy.” Led by Brian Karscig in the role of Bob Dylan, the guests filed to the stage to sing the grand finale “Forever Young.”
Words fall short of describing how magical this finale was, but if I may shake your imagination, I’d like you to picture a choir of rock and roll angels and derelicts, men and women destined to carry the great American tradition of music this country, spilling their souls knowing they will never share a moment such as this with one another ever again.