On November 26, 1976, the musical group The Band played a concert in San Francisco known as “The Last Waltz”, as it was their farewell show. Guests included Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan, among many others, and Martin Scorsese turned the whole thing into a documentary.
And now Philadelphia bar entrepreneur Fergus “Fergie” Carey is organizing a recreation of that show at the Trocadero on November 30th to benefit Philadelphia’s public schools.
“I’ve been dreaming of doing this for a while,” says Carey, who owns popular Philadelphia pubs Fergie’s, Monk’s, Grace Tavern and the Belgian Cafe. “It was always going to be some kind of benefit, but now the schools need more help than anyone else.”
As with the original concert, there will be a core band that will be joined by musical guests on some numbers. The song list is long at over 40 tunes, which include such Band hits as “Up On Cripple Creek” and “The Shape I’m In”.
Casey Parker, who owns the bar Jose Pistola’s on 15th Street and sings in 80s hair metal tribute band Welcome to My Face, will stand in for Van Morrison. Local drag performer Martha Graham Cracker has been asked to play the part of Neil Diamond.
“That’s the only part of the concert I don’t like,” says Carey of Diamond singing his 1976 song “Dry Your Eyes”, which was produced by the Band’s Robbie Robertson. “So I thought that Miss Graham Cracker could do something good with it.” (Full disclosure: I play piano for Martha Graham Cracker, who has yet to confirm.)
Other details are sketchy, as the plan is just now coming together. But, promises Carey, “It’s going to be fucking dynamite, man.”