Canadian Juno awarded producer, multi-award-winning artist & musical director, Lance Anderson, brought his magnificent production ‘The Last Waltz’– “A Musical Celebration of The BAND,” to the world-famous stage for the 1st of two sold out back to back Hugh’s Room Live shows on November 26th, 2017. This groovy showcase fell on the 41st Anniversary of the historical Last Waltz concert and film by Martin Scorcese, (on the American Thanksgiving) and we got to celebrate Levon Helm’s God Son and The Last Waltz drumming vocalist extraordinaire, Jerome Avis’s 45th birthday.This haunting showcase took us back in time as Lance Anderson and his crew of magical music makers perfected the greatest hits of Canadian rock n roll innovators-The Band and their Last Waltz performance.
They endulged on songs from several 1960 artists Bob Dylan, Ronnie Hawkins, Van Morrison, Neil Young; all of whom contributed to changing the world as we know it. Much like that famous 1967 performance, this fabulous Hugh’s Room Live event showcased 14 award winning A-list allstar performers featuring Jerome Levon Avis (Levon Helm’s Godson) on drums and vocals, Terry Blersh on guitar, Dennis Pinhorn (The Hawks) on bass, Rob Gusevs on organ (Blood, Sweat and Tears), Lance Anderson (of Shakura S’Aida) on piano and vocals, a stellar four-piece horn section including David Dunlop (Boss Brass) on trumpet, Gord Meyers (Blood, Sweat and Tears) on trombone and tuba, Chris Murphy (Maple Blues Band) on Tenor sax, and Simon Wallis (Lighthouse) on Baritone sax. Their luxurious sound was complete with the exhilarating 2 time Juno and Maple Blues award winning vocalist Chuck Jackson (lead singer of the Downchild Blues Band), the always engaging and humorous singer/songwriter/radio personality Johnny Max, the accomplished songstress and performer/arranger/songwriter Quisha Wint, 24 year old singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Weirdinger on guitar/mandolin and our very own Canadian blues singer, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Jimmy Bowskill on guitar/violin/mandolin.
This lovely 3-hour production assured the full house captivated audience would truly have a supreme time.
Interacting with the audience and invoking emotions, father & son Bill & Jerome Avis, told the history behind the hits & even got up close as they emotionally expressed their personal memories on the road with Levon Helm, his passing, and introduced one of the largest Band hits, ‘Ophelia’ which meant a lot to father and son, and always will be near and dear to their hearts. Bill Avis is a determined and dedicated hard working music lover, was a road manager to Ronnie Hawkins, The Band and was affiliated with Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin, where he was never idle, attended every show, behind the curtain. However, this magical night brought him front and center to engage the audience with his 1st hand story about Ronnie and The Hawks on tour.
“A lot of people have said I should write a book but I’m not much of a writer. I’ve got tons of stories but most couldn’t be printed. They’re pretty good stories though,” commented Bill Avis.
This show wet my appetite with their luxurious high energy upbeat sounds. Jerome revved us up with an outstanding ‘Don’t Do It’ and ‘Up On Cripple Creek’. One of my favorite moments went to Lance Anderson’s vocals on ‘The Shape I’m In’ and ‘Unfaithful Servant’
The audience, myself included, went nuts as Johnny Max totally got into The Band & Ronnie Hawkins hit ‘Who Do You Love’ which included the horn section improvin’ and Johnny’s fabulous version of ‘Caravan’ was PRICELESS.Was awesome to see Dennis Pinhorn (Hawk’s Bassist) rock it all over that stage!
‘Further, on Up The Road’ with Terry Blersh and Jimmy Bowskill followed. This performance had the right mixture of tearful songs that lead right into explosive hits to get the audience glued to the stage and to get them up and grooving, as they were seen dancing anywhere they could in the limited space that remained in this standing room only concert.
Quisha Wint and Jimmy Bowskill brought a powerful rendition of Neil Young’s “HELPLESS” where you could hear the audience joining in loud and proud. Helpless was one of the most talked about that evening amongst the sea of fans.
Bam! right into that fast-moving entity known as Chuck Jackson with ‘Mystery Train’ and his version of ‘Such a Night’ knocked my socks off.
Wow, couldn’t wipe off my perma grin if you tried, because it was coming from way down deep inside. Blow my mind moment went to the impressively seasoned, yet, youthful 24-year-old Matt Weirdinger as he duplicated ‘King Harvest (Has Surely Come)’ and he didn’t stop stunning us there, he dove right into Bob Dylan’s catalog with ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and ended with the last song of the night with a breathtaking ‘I Shall Be Released’ a 1967 song written by Bob Dylan and The Band recorded the first officially-released version of this song for their 1968 debut album ‘Music From Big Pink.’
Jerome, Quisha, Lance, Terry, and Jimmy stunned the audience with a moving version of ‘The Weight’ After a brief intermission, Jerome kicked it into high gear once again with ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ and ‘Rag Mamma Rag.’ Jimmy Bowskill laid down an impressive ‘Get Up Jake’. Just like a delicious mouth-watering juicy steak, Lance and Jerome served up another favorite with the tasty ‘Life Is A Carnival.’ Truly mesmerized by the vocal presence of Quisha Wint as she brought down the house on another diddy entitled ‘Evangeline.’ Standing Ovations presented during their 2 song encores leaving us with ‘Chest Fever’ ‘Across The Great Divide!’
You can stay in tune with Lance and his beautiful stage show by visiting
https://www.facebook.com/The-Last-Waltz-A-Musical-Celebration-of-The-Band-Live-866131683438892 and hurry don’t delay get your tickets for their March 23rd Uxbridge Music Hall – Music By The Bay – featuring Canadian Blues All Stars Chuck Jackson, Matt Weidinger, Johnny Max, Quisha Wint and Jerome Levon Avis with Music director/producer Lance Anderson.
https://hughsroomlive.showare.com/ordertickets.asp?p=131&src=default Also, get your tickets today for the very special LEVON HELM Fifth Anniversary Celebration at Hugh’s Room Live on Sunday, April 22, 2018, 8:30 pm 2261 Dundas St W. This event delivers the greatest tribute to Toronto’s favorite adopted son, featuring the band from Lance Anderson’s LAST WALTZ. They will be playing songs that Levon sang with The BAND and also songs he sang with The Hawks, and after the Band: RCO All-Stars, Barnburners, and on Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt CDs. Special Guest John Finley will rock the night away in honor of Levon’s contribution to the music scene of Toronto.
Photos captured and concert review by 4th year Volunteer Photojournalist/Columnist Deb Draper.\
Lance Anderson – 10 January 2018 at 18:53
Thanks for the great review of our show Deb. We are honored to keep this music and the memory of The Band alive. Lance.