Complete Last Waltz Organizer Discusses The All-Star Gala

Back on Monday we broke the news that a concert dubbed “The Complete Last Waltz” was set to take place at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco on November 24th featuring a slew of our favorite musicians. Not only were Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Scott Metzger, Sam Cohen, Alecia Chakour and the Antibalas Horns among those on the bill, but the event is also expected to include performances from cast members of TV shows such as Mad Men.

While we were able to dig up some details on what fans can expect at The Complete Last Waltz, we still had a few questions about the event. So before tickets go on sale tomorrow, we wanted to share our conversation with the show’s organizer, Ramie Egan, who was kind enough to answer our queries.

HIDDEN TRACK: What made you decide to put this event together?

RAMIE EGAN: This idea has been a long time coming. While it might seem like this was sparked by Levon’s passing, it wasn’t. It’s been in the works for over a year. It was born out of a “wouldn’t it be awesome to see this show” type declaration. Every artist I’ve ever know was greatly influenced by this concert. Not just The Band. This concert. In whatever format they encountered it. Beyond that, there was a lot of great music and interesting readings that happened that night that people don’t know. Now they will.

HT: How did you figure out which musicians would play?

RE: Well, most of them I am proud and humbled to call friends. I used to work in the live music “business” and forged some very strong bonds with phenomenal people. They also just so happen to be some of the most talented musicians walking the planet. The whole thing has kind of snowballed into “friends of friends” and beyond. Sam Cohen from Yellowbirds and Apollo Sunshine is the Music Director, and he has the herculean task of taking 30+ remarkable chefs and making one delicious dinner!

HT: Will there be a “house band?”

RE: The answer is yes. And no. There is no way that one band can do what The Band did that night. And were not trying to “recreate” we’re going to “re-present.” But to answer your question, there will be a core line-up that have been practicing together already. People are going to be dazzled by the passion, and virtuosity. The first full rehearsals are in Brooklyn later this month. I’ll post some rehearsal footage on our Facebook page.

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HT: Is this a benefit?

RE: You can probably tell from the ticket prices that this is not a benefit. That is not to say that there will not be beneficiary’s though. A portion of the profits are going to go to a fund that will donate to preserve Levon’s Barn, as well as Doctors Without Borders. But as I said before, this is not a reaction to Levon’s passing or to raise funds for the barn necessarily. If it were the prices would certainly not be as reasonable.

HT: Do you expect more artists to be added as we move closer to the event?

RE: Yes! As a matter of fact there have been two additions since we went public on the 15th. But I can’t announce them just yet. We’ve started getting calls from managers who want their Artists to be involved. There will be several additions. I’d get my tickets before they happen!

HT: Why the Warfield?

RE: Quite simply it’s the best venue in San Francisco. And that’s saying a lot. And of course The Winterland (the original venue) is no longer. The people at Goldenvoice have been remarkably accommodating and supportive of the idea. AND they have a dressing room downstairs that on the door simply says JERRY.

Tickets for The Complete Last Waltz go on sale tomorrow at 10AM PT.

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