Recorded live at New Jersey’s Izod Center Oct. 2, 2012, this tribute to The Band’s late singer/drummer Levon Helm resonates with love and admiration for a musician who’s been a major influence on rock, country and folk musicians that have followed him and who’s been somewhat of an unsung hero compared with some of his contemporaries. By focusing on Helm’s music, and utilizing musicians who’ve worked with Helm as well as friends and followers of his work, Love for Levon successfully pays tribute to the man and is essential listening for any Band fan. The performances are by and large spectacular, starting with a rousing rendition of “The Shape I’m In,” featuring Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes singing with Helm’s house band, who have played with Helm for his Midnight Ramble concert series at his family barn — the concert and album aim to help keep the barn in his family’s control. Haynes and Gregg Allman turn in a gorgeous rendition of “Long Black Veil,” with some of Allman’s trademark guitar tones thrilling at the end; Marc Cohn turns in a touching original titled “Listening to Levon” on the piano; Mavis Staple brings a bluesy swagger to “Move Along Train”; Bruce Hornsby plays the dulcimer with beautiful backup vocals from Levon Band members Amy Helm (Levon’s daughter) and Teresa Williams on “Anna Lee”’; and Lucinda Williams givers her raspy, soulful best on “Whispering Pines.” The young Grace Potter (of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals) gives a show-stealing, organ-led rendition of “I Shall Be Released,” stunning in its directness and for Potter’s heartfelt vocal. My Morning Jacket turn in a couple of stunners with “Ophelia” and “It Makes No Difference,” performances that are distinctly MMJ (they only augmented their lineup with Helm’s horn section, to great effect) but which are faithful to Helm’s voice and the original versions. Nearly all of the musicians who participated in the show come together to perform a version of The Band’s biggest hit, “The Weight,” starting hymnal and somber and moving into a shuffling finish closer to the original. It’s a wonderful thing that Love for Levon goes toward a good cause, but, first and foremost, it represents some of rock ’n’ roll’s true greats and a younger generation of devotees coming together to put on a fantastic rock show and pay tribute to the man behind The Band, Levon Helm.
Also Includes performances from Roger Waters, John Mayer, Joe Walsh, John Hiatt, Dierks Bentley, Ray Lamontagne, Robert Randolph and others.
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Time Life Entertainment
- Run Time: 180 minutes
- Catalogue #: 30011