Local musicians remember Robbie Robertson at Last Waltz tribute show

Every year, a group of Minnesota musicians plays a tribute show to the legendary band, The Band. But this year's show will be more emotional than most.

"We did our second rehearsal and then we found out Robbie passed away," said Jon Herchert.

Since 2006, Herchert has been one of the local performers who recreate The Band's last concert, with hits like "Up On Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", from the 1978 film "The Last Waltz", directed by Martin Scorsese.

Herchert says Minnesota's Last Waltz is intended to honor the music in the movie and bring Minnesota musicians together.

"The spirit of The Band is so strong. Every member of that band had such great talent, such great voices, such great musical integrity. They did something so unique nobody else has done," said Herchert.

But earlier this week, The Band's guitar player and main songwriter, Robbie Robertson passed away.

Herchert, who portrays him on stage, says this year's tribute show will have extra meaning given Robertson's death.

"I'm kind of stunned. I always dreamed one day I'd meet Robbie and share some stories. It's going to be powerful to be there on Saturday and play those songs with his spirit in the air," said Herchert.

Herchert says he and his fellow musicians plan to hold a moment of silence for Robertson.

But the best way to remember him will be to celebrate The Band's swan song, with fans who feel the same way.

"The love will be there. When someone passes, it seems to come with greater energy and force in a way into the feeling of the air and I'm excited to play in that and honor Robbie," said Herchert.

Minnesota's Last Waltz tribute show will be Saturday, Aug. 12 at the Como Lakeside Pavilion in St Paul at 6:30 p.m.

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