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Published: 2012/02/27

Warren Haynes, Donald Fagen, Danny Louis and Hooke Hererra Sub for Levon Helm

Photo by Allison Murphy

Warren Haynes and Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen subbed for Levon Helm at his Woodstock, NY-area Midnight Ramble on Saturday night. As previously reported, Helm recently underwent a medical procedure and was forced to sit out the performance.

Haynes has played numerous Rambles in the past while Fagen is a regular at Helm’s jam sessions when he is not on the road (the keyboardist not only lives in Woodstock, but is married to the mother of Helm’s daughter, Amy). Fagen and the Levon Helm Band—including guitarist Larry Campbell, multi-instrumentalist Amy Helm, singer Teresa Williams, guitarist Jim Weider and keyboardist Brian Mitchell—performed throughout the night. Randy Ciarlante—who played with The Band both live and in the studio in the ‘90s and continues to contribute to Weider’s various projects—also sat in on drums throughout the night. Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds opened the show.

Fagen and the augmented version of Levon Helm Band opened their set with the classic Band/Bob Dylan collaboration “This Wheel’s on Fire.” The group ran through a few songs, including “Hesitation Blues,” before Haynes joined the ensemble for the remainder of the Ramble. The rest of the night featured a mix of classic American songs, including Haynes’ “River’s Gonna Rise,” the Grateful Dead’s “Tennessee Jed,” William Bell’s “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” the Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street,” Robert Johnson’s “Come On in My Kitchen,” Willie Dixon’s “The Same Thing,” the traditional “Deep Elem Blues,” the New Orleans favorite “Meet de Boys,” Van Morrison’s “He Ain’t Give You None,” Steely Dan’s “Pretzel Logic,” Bob Dylan’s “Blind Willie McTell,” The Band’s “It Makes No Difference,” Blind Willie Johnson’s “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning” and The Band’s “Chest Fever.” Both Gov’t Mule keyboardist Danny Louis and longtime Haynes harp player Hook Herrera also contributed the latter half of the set. At the end of the night, Haynes, Fagen, Louis, Herrera, The Levon Helm Band and Sister Sparrow singer Arleigh Kincheloe all shared the stage on the traditional Ramble sing-along, “The Weight.”

Helm’s medical procedure was a success and the drummer will return to the stage in the coming weeks. His upcoming dates include Rambles with Los Lobos and Mumford & Sons.

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