Story and photographs by Stan Johnson
A buddy called to tell me about Levon Helm’s passing. We had talked often about going to one of Levon’s Midnight Rambles in Woodstock, but now all that’s left is memories.
And there were many good ones. My favorite Band show was in 1986 at JB’s Theatre, a former roller rink in Albany’s Westgate Plaza, now a music store. It was the entire Band line-up except, of course, for Robbie Robertson, who never re-joined the Band following the Last Waltz. JB’s was packed, but during a few of the quieter numbers, the audience in front and in the middle actually voluntarily sat down on the floor so everyone in the back could see. (I’ve never seen this happen at any other show anywhere.) The place seemed to shrink from a crowded, standing-room-only barn to an almost intimate, large living room.
I can’t remember much of the set, but I think you can find it on the internet. What I do remember was that they played so well together that I finally realized why Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and George Harrison had such high opinions of these guys.