On Friday night, Nov. 19, Buffalo’s The Last Waltz returns to the stage at Babeville, presented by the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation. The Thanksgiving tradition is back!
For those who somehow missed what this show is about, this is a reenactment of the Martin Scorcese movie documenting The Band’s last concert in 1976 in San Francisco. We launched the initial Last Waltz in November 2017 and it’s been a highly successful, sold-out show for three years in a row. The show was a Covid victim in 2020 but now we’re very excited to be presenting the show again.
This was an idea I shared with Doug Yeomans in 2016 and together we spent a lot of time watching the movie, conducting auditions and trying to put together a faithful reenactment of the movie, while making it a thrilling live concert in its own right. This is not just a bunch of musicians playing the songs; this is a theatre piece with a group of very talented and dedicated musicians portraying the artists that appeared in the 1976 concert. If you weren’t in San Francisco for the show on Thanksgiving in 1976, Buffalo’s The Last Waltz is your opportunity to experience some of the excitement of what it must have felt like to be there.
Doug Yeomans is the musical director and plays Robbie Robertson. Jim Whitford is Rick Danko, Ron Davis is Garth Hudson, Pete Holguin is Levon Helm and a new cast member this year is Jim Beishline as Richard Manuel.
The Last Waltz Horns are Matt Harris, Joe Parisi, Al Jaenecki and Harry Fackelman
Buck Quigley is Ronnie Hawkins, Tom Makar is Michael McClure, Dan Delano is Dr. John and Jerry Hall is Neil Young. The Staples Singers are Joyce Wilson Nixon, Alex McArthur, Rod Nickson as Pops and Erinn Benning as Mavis.
The Brothers Blue, Charlie Coughlin, Matt Sperber and Ben Haravitch, play Danko, Robertson and Manuel from a backstage scene.
Michael McGuire is Neil Diamond, Sara Rogers joins the cast of 2021 as Joni Mitchell, Ted Cacciatore plays Paul Butterfield and Eric Crittenden is Muddy Waters.
Frank Grizanti is Eric Clapton, Joelle Labert is Emmylou Harris, Mark Norris is Van Morrison, Kevin Cox is Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Bill Smith is Bob Dylan.
The Narrator is Phil Knoerzer.
We’ll be presenting the Extended Version again this year, as we did in 2019. We’ll include everything from the movie plus several songs that were in the concert but didn’t make the final cut of the movie.
If you’d like to be there, get your tickets early. In past years, the show was sold out by mid-September. Tickets for members are $40. Non-Members – $45. The doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8:00. This is general admission seating. We’ll be selling 650 tickets, and there will be a seat for almost everyone who’d like one.
You must show your membership card to get the members’ price. Each member is entitled to two tickets at the members’ price. You may buy more than two per member but the price after the first two is at the non-member price of $45. You can update your membership at sportsmensamf.org or at the SAM Foundation store on Tuesdays from 5-8 p.m. Babeville does not have access to our membership list, therefore you must show your card when purchasing at their Box Office.
Tickets are also available at babevillebuffalo.com. When purchasing tickets online, the members’ discount is not available and additional fees will apply.
The SAM Foundation Board of Directors is very happy to be coming back to re-build the Foundation after this very difficult period of time for musicians, venues and music fans. We are a grassroots organization and we need all of you to come back and renew your memberships and support our efforts to strengthen the Americana music scene in Western New York.
Robert J. McLennan
SAMF Board Member