Toledo-area musicians come together for “The Last Waltz”
On November 22, local musicians will recreate one of the most impactful shows in American music history. “The Last Waltz,” a tribute to The Band’s 1976 concert by the same name, will be hosted by The Village Idiot, 309 Conant St., Maumee.
The Klondike Steamboat Band will be performing the show, and includes local musicians Mike Merritt (guitar/vocals), Evan Bates (guitar/vocals), Petr Kharchenko (bass/vocal), Nate Woodward (keys/vocals), and Larry Meyer (drums). Special guests include Dr. Harp (aka Russell Smith), Rick Caswell, Steve Steel, John Grafing, Tim Bauer, Greg Aranda, Chloe Wagenhauser, Drew Merritt, Ben Zandler, Jake Pilewski, Zak Ward, Will Schneider, and Megan Fitzpatrick.
At the Helm
The Band’s infamous show, “The Last Waltz,” was originally performed on November 25, 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. It was to be the legendary group’s last hoorah, an onstage party that included blues and folk legends Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, and Bob Dylan, among so many more. (The Band was initially Dylan’s backing band during the 1960s, and Dylan’s reference to them as “the band” is how they ended up with the name.) “The Last Waltz” was filmed and made into a documentary of the same name by Martin Scorcese. Since that time, recreating the concert has become somewhat of a Thanksgiving tradition, especially in U.S. cities with developed music scenes.
Merritt, one of the organizers for the show, explained that the idea came to him after he spent time in Nashville, and saw the show for himself. “I was just floored by the musicianship, and the experience,” he said of seeing the show recreated live. It was only a matter of time before Merritt was able to pitch the idea of recreating “The Last Waltz” here in Toledo, where he had lived and played. “[The participating musicians] are all people I’ve known for years and years,” he said. “When the word got out, people jumped at the chance to play [ . . . ] it was all very organic, the way it came together.”
A crazy ride
Tickets to the Maumee show on Nov. 22 are just $5, and are available for presale now through the date of the show via EventBrite. And, Merritt added, it doesn’t matter if you’re a longtime fan. “I want everyone to have a good time at the show, whether they’re into The Band or not,” Merritt said. And while he admitted that The Last Waltz could never truly be recreated, he hopes audience members will come together for a night that will honor one of America’s most influential rock bands. “They had such a crazy ride, and it’s worth celebrating,” he said.