Liverpool-based blues, ballads and broadsides band Seafoam Green are back in town after a US tour in support of their debut album. How to celebrate your homecoming? Throw a big party in the main hall of the Phil’ and invite your famous friends to recreate ‘The Last Waltz’. By Alan O’Hare.
I’ve had a year of The Band. Ever since Robbie Robertson released his autobiography ‘Testimony’, late in 2016, the seminal rock ‘n’ rollers have dominated my musical thoughts. First, I followed Robertson’s revealing read up with Barney Hoskyns‘ brilliant ‘Across The Great Divide’, and then I found myself in possession of an updated take on Levon Helm’s 1993 torn and tattered tome, ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’ (Levon’s is the best, in case you were wondering). All the while, I was revisiting the soundtracks to the stories I was reading about and found hidden delights in some of the more less-known corners (ie. not the first two records) of The Band’s oeuvre: ‘Rock Of Ages’, ‘Moondog Matinee’ and ‘Jericho’.
Still, lovers of Bob Dylan’s best ever backing band always come back to ‘… Big Pink’, ‘The Band’ and ‘The Last Waltz’. The latter, in particular, attaining mythic status over the years with fans willing to forgive such letdowns as obvious overdubs and constant repackaging. It’s the music that endures, though, and with ‘album tours’, reunion concerts and themed gigs being de rigueur right now, Liverpool-based Seafoam Green made the grand decision a few years ago to honor said fitful night every twelve months with a recreation. In 2018, the event has moved into the main room of the Phil’ and it’s going to be no mean feat to pull a crowd of 1976’ers into the Hope Street hall. Fortunately, Seafoam Green have the chops and, fresh from a US tour, they’ve invited friends such as Phil Campbell (The Temperance Movement), Nick Ellis, Xander & The Peace Pirates, Dan Wilson (The Cubical), Connie Lush and Robert Vincent to help take the load off.
Ahead of the big do, I asked Seafoam singer and songwriter Dave O’Grady to tell me about the performances that moved him most from that famous night inside San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom…
Van Morrison ‘Tural Lura Lural (That’s An Irish Lullaby)’
“This is in no order! My favourite performances from that fateful night are Van Morrison coming on with all the swagger you would imagine and opening his set with a soul crushing version of ‘Tural Lura Lural (That’s An Irish Lullaby)’ and then kicking straight into ‘Caravan’… ”
The Band ‘Don’t Do It’
“The opening song on the movie, but the last song of the night, gave an injection of incredible rock ‘n’ roll into a Marvin Gaye original… ”
Dr. John ‘Such A Night’
“Who doesn’t love Dr John?! ‘Such A Night’ was a highlight for me from the first time I saw ‘The Last Waltz (blues singer Marcus Bonfanti bought it for me for my eighteenth birthday!). Most of Seafoam Green and I all went to see the Dr. in the Phil’ a couple years ago, so we are hoping to channel some of that New Orleans mojo he left up there… ”
Mellowtone presents Seafoam Green’s The Last Waltz
Friday 16th November 2018, 8pm
Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, Liverpool
Pic courtesy Mellowtone Records