The Blue Note & Rose Blog


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The Last Waltz: A Thanksgiving Tradition

THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD!

On November 25, 1976, an audience of 5,000 packed in to Winterland Ballroom — an ice skating rink that also served as a concert venue — to watch The Band perform for one last time.

It was an extravagant event. The audience was served a Thanksgiving dinner with live music, ballroom dancing and readings from various poets under the lavish lights of the chandeliers in the hall.

But the true beauty of the event was the fact that a group of people that certainly had their differences managed to work through them and come together to deliver a night of celebration.

It was dysfunctional, but human.

And isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about? Even though you may not enjoy your uncle’s company sitting next to you at the dinner table — whether he’s discussing his political views or refuses to put down the bottle of Jack — he’s still family and you recognize that both of you are there for one common purpose.

The Last Waltz gave viewers a glimpse at these unstable relationships but showed that the musicians forgot about all of that bad blood before coming on stage and giving it all they had.

From Van Morrison’s high kicks in his tight maroon suit to Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson trading a series of guitar licks during “Further On Up The Road”, what occurred on stage that night transcended any drama that occurred off of it.


THE IDEA

On Friday night, The Blue Note will be presenting its second annual live recreation of the film with no detail spared.

Over the years, Blue Note local talent buyer Pat Kay frequently covered songs from the legendary concert in his various bands. But he craved more — a more complete production for a film that deserves to be seen and heard by all.

For years, Kay saved a place in The Blue Note’s booking calendar for the event — dreaming of a way to successfully pull off a worthy tribute for the historic night. But year after year, he was forced to remove the pin from the calendar — until last year.

Kay enlisted the help of former Columbia musician Sean Canan to play as The Band with his “Voodoo Players”. And slowly but surely, the parts began to assemble as Kay pieced together all the details from the film to eventually create his fantasy.

Between finding the chandeliers to mimic the original set and putting together a cast of local musicians to serve as the famous guests, Kay worked tirelessly to produce a quality product that even Richard Manuel would be proud of.

What was once just a pipe dream for Kay became a reality.


THE SHOW

The design of the show allows for creativity and adaptation with a lighter focus on Robbie Robertson and instead more on the overall community that came together to honor the legacy of The Band’s career.

The set is structured very similarly to the original concert. The first part of the set will feature songs from The Band’s discography performed and backed by Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players and the The Funky Butt Horns. The second part of the evening will make room for the plethora of local musicians on hand to portray the iconic guests from the film. The guests were hand-picked by Kay to match the vocal styles and on-stage personalities of the artists they were chosen to portray.

Each performer left it all on the Winterland Ballroom stage 41 years ago. You can expect the same from this batch of artists on The Blue Note stage Friday night.

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Listen to last year’s recording here to get you ready for Friday’s show!

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Susto: & we’re fine today

When: Saturday, November 11thDoors at 8:30 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Rose Music Hall
Tickets: $10 in advance | $12 day of show
Opener: Dawg Yawp + Blue Jay

On SUSTO’s latest record, & I’m Fine Today, the five-piece band manages to blend elements of Americana and psychedelic rock to create their own unique sound. Lead single Waves is like if early A.M.-era Wilco collaborated with Oasis during the Gallagher brothers’ psychedelic phase on Standing On The Shoulder of Giants. 

And most importantly, it works.

The album deals heavily with visions and dreams for its narrative base. Lead singer Justin Osborne is willing to get very personal with his lyrics. And while the record deals with difficult topics, at the core of the record is hope. Whether it’s dealing with his father’s cancer in “Far Out Feeling” or substance abuse in “Hard Drugs”, Osborne’s lyrics provide hope. Hope that any problem in life eventually works itself out on its own, and the best that anyone can do is take it in stride.

The album concludes with “Jah Werx” an uplifting song about community and having people to help you through those dark times — perfectly describing the overall sentiment of the record.

“Jah Werx, and I’m fine today.”

SUSTO returns to Rose Music Hall this Saturday night following up on a headlining show last June at Rose that turned out to be a staff favorite.

Be sure to come early to see local indie-folk band Blue Jay! Listen to their newest single, Sapphire Eyes, below!


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9th Street swoons over The Head and the Heart

This past Friday night, The Shelters and The Head and the Heart hit 9th Street, blowing us all away and closing out this year’s Summerfest concert series. The weather was perfect and the crowd’s excitement was more than apparent. The Shelters were first to take the stage, warming up the crowd with their upbeat brand of blues rock. They brought an almost tangible energy to the crowd that was sustained all night long, which is what we all look for in an opening act.

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Next up was The Head and the Heart. This band puts on an impressive performance no matter where they are, but they were without a doubt well suited for a 9th Street Summerfest show. Something about a cool breeze hitting your face right as band member Charity Rose Thielen’s melodic voice comes in on the second verse of “Let’s Be Still” gives you a rush of pure joy and content unlike anything else.

It was obvious that many of the concertgoers were big fans, singing along to every song and knowing every word. The band played a mixture of songs across all three albums, while leaning heavily on their most recent release “Signs of Light” and making sure to include crowd pleasers like “All We Ever Knew” and “Rhythm & Blues”.

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Based solely on crowd reaction, the highlight of the night was inarguably when the band played “Rivers and Roads” at the end of their incredible four-song encore. Many fans have an emotional connection to the song and its relatable lyrics about friendship and the changing phases of life. Crowd members put their arms around each other and belted the well-known lyrics bringing about a sense of camaraderie and connection among strangers that only good music can provide. This in addition to a consistently energetic and magical performance from the band made this show one of the best we’ve seen this year.