REVIEW: Seafoam Green's The Last Waltz returns to Liverpool's Philharmonic

Picture: Chris Parkes
THERE was a great buzz to the opening night of the return of Seafoam Green's ode to The Last Waltz in the back music rooms of the Philharmonic.

Packed with bustling musos the front section of seats had been filled to capacity, leaving a speck of seats by the bar for late comers.

Perched on the back ledge, slightly to the left, we sat with drinks in hand awaiting the arrival of Dave O'Grady and his band.

Strict staff stood manning the doors with ear pieces, overseeing as chattering continued among the audience.

There was a sense of belonging, everyone was talking to anyone. Making friends, introducing everyone to partners, family and friends.

They all shared a common love for The Band - even if they didn't, they did when they left at around 10.30pm.

Strutting on stage, the background music was cut and all eyes were on Seafoam Green.

A powerful array of talented artists, ready to make the night their own complete with keys and small brass section.

Muireann McDermott Long sang backing, adding a stunning wave of harmonies and picked up the lead in some tracks, performing one of the most beautiful renditions of Joni Mitchell's Coyote.

Oozing confidence and prowess, they trundled through some of the set-list from The Band's iconic last-ever show back in November 1976 at the Hinterland Ballroom, San Francisco.

That show featured guests such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison and Eric Clapton.

This two-date sell-out spectacle featured some of Liverpool's most treasured artists such as The Zuton's frontman Dave McCabe, Edgar Jones, Limerance and Acadian Driftwood.

McCabe brought out a long piece of paper, with the lyrics to The Shape I'm In sprawled onto it.

Holding the mic in his hand, he gave a punchy rendition full of heat and grit - in true McCabe fashion.

Acadian Driftwood, who take their name from a track by The Band, sang The Weight with vocalist Robert Johnson and drummer John Ellwand sharing the mic, their chemistry evident with their ode to blues masters.

Gig revelers threw their arms up at the beauty on stage, not a carbon copy, but our own history in the making.

With an intermission splicing the set into two halves, the night ran to a smooth pace.

Audience members passed comment about forking out a fair few bob for tickets for another unrelated tribute to The Last Waltz some years ago and that this Philharmonic show was far superior.

Tracks such as The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and Ophelia filled the air and the crowd sung the words in sync, holding their fists up in matrimony with the love pouring from the stage.

41 years later, this night was the ultimate 'tribute'.

A beautiful sentiment of the world The Band left behind.

Hats off to promoters Mellowtone, Seafoam Green, the special guests and everyone behind the scenes - we'll meet again next year.

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lauren@themusicmanual.co.uk