Love For Levon (2xBlu-Ray + 2xCD)
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Dozens of luminaries from rock, soul and country gathered at the Meadowlands Arena on October 3, 2012, for an incredible tribute to Levon Helm, The Band s late drummer/singer/mandolin player (who passed away in early 2012). The concert, directed by bassist Don Was, was an opportunity to say a final farewell and, in the process, raise money for the ongoing Midnight Ramble series of concerts still held at The Barn, Helm s famous home-studio in Woodstock, New York. One at a time or, sometimes, in pairs, rock-royalty took turns in the spotlight over the course of the evening, singing songs associated with Levon Helm and The Band including "Up On Crippled Creek," "The Shape I m In," "Life is a Carnival," "Ophelia," "The Weight," "Rag Mamma Rag," "I Ain t Got No Home," and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
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.....TALENT is TALENT and speaks for itself. ALL of this show is top notch but to me the following are ABOVE AVERAGE:
-Chest Fever w/ Garth doing Bach-esque intro, best ever IMO.
-Eric Church, both songs but mainly James Gang song.
-Tears of Rage, Ray Lamontagne is a living legend...people complain Bob Dylan wasnt there, his son was and i'd rather see RAY !
-Grace Potter, this is the best performance i have ever seen her do and the best HAMMOND B3 organ grind ever ! IMO this is the best song-performance of all on here.
-Wheels on Fire by Larry Campbell is smokin hot.
What i also like is its in HD and contemporary renditions.
I would recommend this CD/DVD to new and old Levon fans alike. You also get a lot for your money with this purchase. Personal highlights of the show for me were the performances by Garth Hudson, Lucinda Williams, Grace Potter, Roger Waters, the guest drummers, Joe Walsh with Robert Randolph, the Midnight Ramble Band and every time Larry Campbell was on the fiddle. The whole experience was a wonderful tribute/fund raiser in memory of an amazing man with an incredible lineup of musicians.
This is a great CD/DVD, a very nice packaging was done with pics and liner notes.
Top international reviews
The younger artists seem to do better than some of the old timers although everyone's performances are heartfelt. Jacob Dylan tears it up on "Ain't Got No Home" and country stars Dierks Bentley and Eric Church are excellent on "Rockin' Chair" and "Chest Fever" (by Bentley) and "A Train Robbery" and "Get Up Jake" (by Church). Ray Lamontagne sounds remarkably like the late Richard Manuel on "Tears Of Rage" and My Morning Jacket give excellent performances on "Ophelia" and "It Makes No Difference" and when they back up Roger Waters on "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". Rogers tells a touching story about Levon giving Waters his hat after The Band played a concert of "The Wall" with Waters in Berlin.
The high points for me are Grace Potter's version of "I Shall Be Released" played by her on organ accompanied only by Nocturnals drummer Matt Burr and by Don Was on bass. Grace seems close to tears at the end of her performance. The other highlight is seeing The Band's Garth Hudson playing for Levon one last time on organ on "Chest Fever" and on piano during the all performers finale of "The Weight".
Not all of the performances are perfect but it's for a worthy cause and everybody's heart is in the right place.
(Some nice interview segments on the bonus disc particularly the ones with Amy Helm; Joe Walsh who says he had to do the benefit so he wouldn't miss Levon so much; and with Mavis Staples who envisions Levon looking down from heaven with his mandolin accompanied by Pops Staples on guitar and with Mama Staples cooking up a sweet potato pie.)