Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

I can’t assume to know where our heroes go when they die. Nirvana. Heaven.The tremendous band in the sky, assembled in the round, together there on a sun-kissed, better shore. Whatever it’s called, wherever it is, you can betthe farm that today the bells are ringing there, and the people are singing.Because Levon knows what we can only guess: That there is no last waltz.That we’ll forever file in through the barn door with the ones we love, drawn by the firelight, grab our children and go round and round in a dance interminable. We doe-see-doe. We stomp the boards. Shout. Kiss. Cry. Sing.Spin. Laugh. Squeal. Study the stars through the gaps in the ceiling. Simon Felice Requiem for Levon
The Weight

I have been to many a concert in my 34 years, but I think I may have been witness to musical perfection last night at the Brooklyn Bowl. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, A Benefit to Save the Barn was held in honor of Levon Helm who passed away in April. With acts such as Nicole Atkins, Ian Felice, Marco Benevento, Joe Russo ... you knew great music was going to be played. The energy was incredibly high and positive from the first note of Ophelia to the last beat of The Weight.

The musicians played musical chairs all night, never taking a set break, and performing some of Levon and The Bands greatest songs. The crowd, a mix of eclectic hipsters and Ramble veterans (such as myself) sang, danced and reminisced together, celebrating the music of Levon. There were many highlights to the night - each moment a special musical memory. Ian Felice taking lead on The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down was beyond stellar. Don't Do It's jam kept going and going with incredible energy - you'd think these guys have done this song for over 20 years together. And Levon himself would have been so proud of the lovely ladies singing Anna Lee.

There have been and there will be many more tributes to Levon. But last night's show embodied the soul of the man and the pure joy that music can bring. We each had our moments that brought us to tears, made us dance up a storm and pause to reflect on that smile that Levon would get when he played. Whether you have been a lifelong fan or were just introduced to his music, the night will go down as memorable and just they way Levon would have wanted: a bunch of strangers becoming friends, singing songs together as if soulmates, laughing,loving and dancing at our ramble, our own last waltz.

Courtesy of Brooklyn Bowl Instagram @brooklynbowl

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