“Life Is A Carnival: A Tribute to The Band” at the Lucas Theatre – review + photos

Wow, I can barely find the words to express the feelings that I had at the concert at the Lucas Theatre on Wednesday night. The show, Life Is A Carnival, was loosely based on The Band’s famous Last Waltz concert. The Lucas show gathered together many of Savannah’s finest musicians for an ensemble-type show. Most of them played for a only a song or two, just like at the Last Waltz.

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The first half was hosted by The Accomplices. So many guest stars came out that I am sure I lost track of a few of them. My apologies to anyone who was in the show and happens to be reading this if I left you out. There was Austin Quattlebaum, Shane Baldwin (Voodoo Soup, Jubal Kane), Craig Tanner (American Hologram), Aaron Zimmer (City Hotel), Eric Dauber, Jared Hall (Velvet Caravan), Jason Bible (The Train Wrecks), John Banks (The Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love), and Larry Golden (The Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love). When The Accomplices first came out, I thought I detected a rare bit of nervousness from singer Matt Eckstine while starting the show. During the first song (“Up On Cripple Creek”), drummer Stan Ray took lead on one verse, and the crowd went wild. It was at that moment that I saw Matt’s smile return to his face, and I knew he saw it was going to be a magical night. By the end of The Accomplices’ set, the audience was bubbling over with the excitement about being present for this event.

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After a brief intermission (and a song from special guests Passafire), the audience of 900+ was not going to stay in their seats anymore. The Train Wrecks had most of the audience on their feet, dancing the night away. The guest stars continued, with Ray Lundy (Bottles & Cans), Charlie Hodge (Damon & The Shitkickers, Doom Salad) on trombone(!), Ron Yatek (Bottles & Cans), Eric Culberson, Jim Reed (Superhorse, Magic Rocks), Collene Heine (The Accomplices), Ricardo Ochoa (Velvet Caravan), Josh Safer (Bottles & Cans), and more.

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The show culminated with the inevitable super jam for the few last songs. I think I counted 26 people on stage at one point. Rather than cause a giant cluster-muck, this seemed to fit right in with the camaraderie throughout the whole concert.

This concert really showcased the true fellowship that I see every weekend in the Savannah music scene. Everyone who played at this show was obviously thrilled to be there. They were excited about the beautiful venue (probably a lot of them had never played at the Lucas) and very happy to be playing with their fellow musicians, many of whom had never played together before. From the beginning, you could feel the specialness in the air.

I also found this show interesting in that it was a show that the audience really fed their energy to the performers. It was apparent that the audience was feeling the magic, and I think that cycled up to the people on stage. The audience was obviously very proud of our hometown guys (and girl) up there, putting on such an exciting show. I don’t go to many shows where the energy exchange is so obvious, but that’s Savannah. All in all, one of my favorite shows ever!

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A few more photos by Tom Cartmel after the jump —

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