Rev Tor Krauter: Since 2014, the jam-guitarist extraordinaire Rev Tor Krauter has been organizing an all-star musical jam that has travelled the Northeast, performing the music of The Band. The concert is called "The Last Waltz" in observance of the concert of the same name, which was the final show ever played by The Band. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the original Last Waltz, which took place in 1976. Krauter talked about the show, and what he has planned for the anniversary.
1. Why did you decide to do this kind of show in the first place?:
Well, originally, I just wanted to do something after the death of [Band drummer] Levon [Helm]. I was looking for a way to honor him, locally. The first plan was to just have a tribute concert. But someone came up with the idea of doing a "Last Waltz"-style show. And that was pretty exciting, because the format of that original show in 1976 featured The Band playing with a bunch of guest stars. That format, we thought, would work out perfectly, because it was easier to incorporate guests in our shows.
2. And after that first show, you decided to continue playing. Have you gone beyond Berkshire County?:
Way beyond. We've done shows all over the East Coast, basically. Boston, Vermont, New York City, Connecticut.
3. What's been the response?:
Well, it's always been pretty positive. One of the things we do is incorporate local talent at every venue in which we play. That ups the excitement level locally, because people get to see bands they are familiar with performing these songs. The Band has had such a huge influence on so many musicians and music fans that they love to hear local bands doing these songs.
4. Logistically, it would seem to be pretty tough, pulling this all together at all these different venues. Is it a problem?:
It used to be. We have such an amazing crew working for us that they have this down to a science; they've figured out the bugs and ironed most of them out. The other thing we did was create an online instruction manual. It has chord charts, lyric sheets and even an instructional video of the Rev Tor Band playing all the songs. That way, a performer can sing along with the video, sort of a rehearsal if hey need it. Everyone who uses it has found it really helpful.
5. The original Last Waltz was performed in 1976. Any plans for a 40th anniversary?:
Yes. That original show took place on Nov. 26, 1976. So we've booked the Colonial Theatre for that night, and we're going to have some special guests that night that I think you'll like.