Never let it be said that the Indianapolis music scene lacks ambition, or heart. While Tonic Ball may be the granddaddy of Indianapolis music fundraisers, it’s far from the only event on the Indy calendar featuring local musicians doing something dramatic while giving their time and talent to do good in the world.
The latest example: Tonic veterans Jeff Grantham, Matt Mays, and others have conspired to produce The Ramble at Radio Radio, at which a host of local musical luminaries will recreate The Last Waltz: the epic final concert performed by The Band and an all-star ensemble of musical guests on Thanksgiving Day, 1976. The event was filmed by Martin Scorsese and released in 1978. It is, quite simply, one of the greatest concert films of all time.
The name of the show is taken from the Midnight Ramble concerts The Band’s Levon Helm hosted at his studio in Woodstock, New York. You could never be sure who was going to show up for the Midnight Ramble–maybe Garth Hudson, maybe Dar Williams, maybe Alejandro Escovedo or Steve Earle. You could always be sure of a great show and great community, though; attendees were encouraged to bring a side dish to share at the community table.
Helm passed away earlier this year, which is what initially prompted discussion about recreating The Last Waltz. Enthusiasm for the project was instant, and the idea to do the show for charity wasn’t far behind. All proceeds from The Ramble at Radio Radio will benefit Down Syndrome Indiana.
The show happens this coming Friday, July 13, 7:30 p.m. at Radio Radio in Fountain Square. Tickets are $15 at the door or in advance at the Down Syndrome Indiana website. Here’s the lineup:
- The Haters (Tad Armstrong, David England, Matt Wilson, and Wade Parish) as The Band
- Tufty Clough as Bill Graham
- Brian Deer as Eric Clapton
- Stasia Demos as Emmylou Harris
- The Fabulous Jones Sisters as The Staples Singers
- Joel Henderson as Bob Dylan
- Ken Honeywell as Lawrence Ferlinghetti
- Mina Keohane as Joni Mitchell
- Bill Mallers as Dr. John
- Matt Mays as Van Morrison
- Jon Martin as Ronnie Hawkins
- Bryan Meyers as Muddy Waters
- Mike Redmond as Michael McClure
- Danny Thompson as Paul Butterfield
- Gary Wasson as Neil Young
- Mike Wiltrout as Neil Diamond
Want a taste of what’s in store? Here are The Haters performing The Band’s classic “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” It’s going to be a great evening for a great cause. But that’s what we’ve come to expect from these guys.