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WHY PRESENT THE LAST WALTZ 'LIVE' (And go to all that trouble) ?

Kevin Butler (Bass Player and vocalist) Explains how it all began, and why such a brave undertaking was attempted.

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Date published: 7th Nov 2016


(The story so far.)

On a recent RTE radio interview on the Pat Kenny Show, Kevin Butler ( Bass player, songwriter) was asked to explain how such a comparatively young group of musicians, such as themselves, had come to pay homage to the music from The Last Waltz documentary film?. An interesting question when you bear in mind that the music by Bob Dylan?s ?THE BAND?, as documented in the LAST WALTZ film, first saw the light of day at a time when Kevin and his brothers were not able to tie their shoelaces as they had not even been born then!

Kevin Butler explained:

? There was music everywhere in our home. Particularly because our Dad was always in the music business and he and Terry (mam) were running shows and playing music with The Butler Dempsey Band whilst minding us at the same time!

My brothers and I were eating them out of house and home, not doing our homework, learning guitar, writing songs and hanging out together listening to old albums and watching videos.??One video film became our favourite.? Kevin continued

.? THE LAST WALTZ featured fabulous live playing. Songs such as The Night they drove old Dixie Down, The Weight, Ophelia and so on.?

?As it was a film of The Band?s last show, all these other guitar players and singers were featured. We would ask, at home, who?s that singing?. Who?s that playing guitar? And so on. Pearse, our Dad would say, ? Oh that?s VAN MORRISON and that?s ERIC CLAPTON, Neil Young and NEILL DIAMOND. The mad one is THE HAWK. That girl there is EMYLOU HARRIS, the other one is JONIE MITCHELL. We knew Bob Dylan ourselves, which helped.?

Martin Scorsese, the film?s producer, won many awards for it. ?THE LAST WALTZ? became one of the best loved music films of all time and influenced new generations of musicians through out the world.

Kevin went on to say: ? When myself and my brothers, Daragh and Damian, started our own band we called ourselves ?THE GROUP?

?That was six years ago, and we have an album and two single releases under our belts as well as steadily playing four nights a week in all the music venues throughout the country.?

?To coincide with the 30th anniversary of the original LAST WALTZ film we thought that it would be a mad idea to do the entire gig ?live? ourselves as we were so familiar with the music anyway.?

?We had met a young singer called Shane O?Reilly who we knew would knock people out with his Van Morrison singing. Joey Mullins is the best lead guitar player in Dublin. He came on board as Eric Clapton. Some of our dad?s friends from his old hippie days came along as DR. JOHN, BOBBY CHARLES and MUDDY WATERS.

We got parts done for a full brass section, rehearsed the show, designed the set, and took on The Olympia in Dublin for a night. It booked out!?

The show was invited to The Wexford Opera House two weeks ago and it was full.

We returned to The Olympia in Dublin last weekend and the gig had got even more exciting.?

Daragh Butler, Kevin?s brother, quoted Robbie Robinson of The Band on the buzz that everyone got. ? AS SOON AS WE KICKED OFF THE FIRST SONG, IT WAS OVER.? YOU COULD SEE THE SOUND COVERING THE PEOPLE??.WE WERE 0VERWHELMED BY THE FEELING IT GAVE?

?It feels as if our kite has taken off. We can?t wait to fly that kite at the Echo Auditorium on November 19th. For the 40th anniversary of THE LAST WALTZ concert.

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