Levon Helm Band and Willie Nelson and Family at Radio City Music Hall [Concert Review]

by Woody on August 6, 2010

The Levon Helm Band opened for Willie Nelson and Family last Wednesday evening at Radio City Music Hall. Both performances reinforced my deep respect and admiration for these two American legends.

The Band is my favorite all-time band and I’ve been lucky enough to see Levon at two Midnight Rambles over the past couple of years. For those of you who don’t know the background story on the Rambles – Levon had throat cancer in the 1990s, which left his voice and pocketbook in shambles for a number of years. In order to cover his staggering medical bills he started the Midnight Rambles up at his barn/studio in Woodstock, NY. Since the first ramble in 2005, The Levon Helm Band has toured extensively and released two Grammy award winning albums, Dirt Farmer (2007) and Electric Dirt (2009). Check out this link for more info.

Sadly, Levon is only singing on a couple of songs now and his voice is noticeably strained, but he doesn’t disappoint! He gave a spirited performance taking the lead on “Ophelia” and singing a verse on the American traditional, Deep Elem Blues. For their encore, Levon invited Willie on stage to join them for the wonderfully ubiquitous “The Weight.”

Not one to be upstaged, Willie Nelson sauntered on stage and preceded to knock it out of the park. At the ripe age of 77, Willie’s voice and guitar playing are silky and strong like an aged bottle of whiskey. Highlights of Willie’s set included the Waylon Jennings tune, “Good Hearted Woman,” and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.

Video recorded on iPhone:

The Author:

Paul Hastings resides in NYC and blogs about music at The Docta’s Notes.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

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