Madison Square Garden proves once again why it is the “World’s Most Famous Arena”. Twenty-two years ago on October 16, 1992, New York City’s hottest concert ticket was the assemblage of musical friends at Madison Square Garden to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s first Columbia Records album.
It is so heartwarming to see George Harrison performing in the spot with Dylan that gave us The Concert for Bangladesh. I also see that the late Richie Havens sings “Just Like A Woman”. There is a version of “It Ain’t Me Babe” by June Carter Cash/Johnny Cash. The Band appears and does “When I Paint My Masterpiece“. Plus so many other great artists played Dylan classics that night. This is a righteous, must have music video :)
In the day Howard Stein was a rock promoter in the New York metro market. He booked shows I saw at The Capitol Theater in Portchester, NY. You can find that information here on my blog.
He also booked shows at the Academy of Music in Manhattan a venue I never got to witness. It just so happens a historic series of concerts by The Band at the Academy of Music (featuring a surprise appearance on New Years by Bob Dylan) is due to be released as a box set or double CD (your choice) on September 17.
For the first time, all four of the concerts’ multi-track recordings have been revisited for Live At The Academy Of Music 1971, a new 4CD+DVD collection to be released September 17 by Capitol/UMe. The expansive new collection features new stereo and 5.1 Surround mixes, including 19 previously unreleased performances and newly discovered footage of two songs filmed by Howard Alk and Murray Lerner. Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 takes a deep dive into The Band’s historic shows for a definitive document of the pioneering group’s stage prowess at the apex of their career. On the same date, the collection’s first two discs will also be released as a 2CD set.
Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 is presented in a deluxe, 48-page hardbound book with previously unseen photos, a reproduction of Rolling Stone’s original Rock Of Ages review by magazine co-founder Ralph J. Gleason, an essay by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, and appreciations of The Band and the set’s recordings by Mumford & Sons and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. The collection’s first two discs feature performances of every song played over the course of the four concerts, and the New Year’s Eve soundboard mix on discs 3 and 4 puts the listener in the room for that entire legendary night: Uncut, unedited, taken straight from the master recordings and presented in full for the first time. The set’s DVD presents the tracks from discs 1 and 2 in 5.1 Surround, plus Alk and Lerner’s filmed performances of “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)” and “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show.”
“The late Jim Carroll once said that Levon Helm was the only drummer who could make you cry, and he was absolutely right,” the Oscar-winning director said in a statement to E! News. “Levon’s touch was so delicate, so deft, that he gave you more than just a beat—he gave the music a pulse. And his high, ringing voice was just as soulful. His bandmate Robbie Robertson wrote “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” for Levon to sing, and I’ll never forget how moving it was to watch him sing it during their final performance at Winterland, which is one of the high points of the movie we made from that wonderful show…I consider myself fortunate to have worked with Levon, and I am one among many, many people who will miss him.”
We mourn the loss of drummer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Levon Helm. He waged a courageous fight against cancer.
I reflect upon when I first heard Levon Helm’s voice with The Band. It was on the vinyl recording, Music From Big Pink. I borrowed that record from my wife Rosemary when were first dating in the spring of 1969. We loved the song, “The Weight“. I wasn’t aware Levon Helm was the lead vocalist at the time. I thought of The Band collectively and that they were recording with Bob Dylan in Woodstock, NY.
In his autobiography This Wheel’s on Fire, Levon Helm explains that the people mentioned in the song were based on real people The Band knew. The “Miss Anna Lee” mentioned in the lyric is Helm’s longtime friend Anna Lee Amsden.
Bob Dylan wrote of Levon Helm: “He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I’m going to miss him, as I’m sure a whole lot of others will too.”
Rosemary and I saw Levon Helm perform live in concert twice. The first time he was part of the all-star orchestra ensemble for the 100 year Salute to the Blues at Radio City Music Hall. The concert was filmed for DVD and titled, Lightning In A Bottle.
The last time we saw Levon Helm play was at the Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport, Ct in 2009. He appeared with the Levon Helm Band. He was advised by his doctor not to sing that night so Bob Weir and others stepped up to that task for him.
Last night at The Lumineers concert in Fairfield at Stage One, we all sang in loving memory, “The Weight” as the last song of the night. It was fitting and just to send our voices up into the sky as the last song of the night. We became his voice adding to his legacy, as we celebrated this great musician who showed us so much heart.
We are planning to visit the Adirondacks in upstate New York at the end of this month. When I think of music created in upstate New York my thoughts often turn to the artistic community of Woodstock, NY.
We’ve been influenced strongly over the decades by Woodstock, NY. The Band, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Todd Rundgrenare just a few of the many musicians associated with this vibrant art community. Its time we pay Woodstock, NY a visit.