Levon Helm raps the skins with help from Galactic drummer Stanton Moore.
Back in 2010, I wrote about the anticipation of seeing Levon Helm perform at Jazz Fest. I had just watched The Last Waltz for the first time.
Helm and his band gave a set at the New Orleans Fairgrounds that was practically a mini-Last Waltz, with guest after guest coming out on stage to lend support and play with the revered drummer and mandolinist. Pianists Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, participants in the original farewell concert by The Band, were among the cast, along with Galactic drummer Stanton Moore, who pounded the skins alongside Helm for nearly the entire set.
Then 69, the gravelly voiced Arkansan had been battling throat cancer and looked frail, but his spirit was inextinguishable. His smile shone from behind the drum kit, and he played with an intensity that belied his condition.
“Oh, you don’t know the shape I’m in!” he bellowed to start the set. The Band classic was fitting on many levels, not only given his health, as the grin on his face suggested, but, this being a Sunday after a long weekend in New Orleans, for the audience as well.
Posted under Deaths, Music, Religion
Tags: jazz fest, new orleans