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Rick Danko 2nd Annual Tribute Concert

Simcoe Composite School Auditorium, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada, Friday, August 3, 2007

by Nancy Dixon

I was fortunate enough to meet up with some friends in Simcoe this past weekend to celebrate Rick's life and music at the 2nd Annual Rick Danko Tribute Concert and just wanted to share with everyone the tremendous experience we had. So not just in my words, but also words from Amy and Abby, my fellow tribute-goers and Dankettes-in-arms... it was INCREDIBLE! Actually even more incredible than we imagined. Glen Silverthorn, our friend and host for the weekend, is truly a sweetheart - fun, generous and a real dynamo!

Amy: "Glen never stops moving! He and Rick must have been more closely related than we knew, or else he was just channeling Rick's energy. He put all of us 40 - 50 somethings to shame, and we can never thank him enough for all he did for us to make the weekend unforgettable. From the tour (of Rick's haunts) to the VIP treatment at the show to the extra shows at the Norfolk Inn, to the armful of souvenirs."

Glen went above and beyond the call and for that we are truly grateful. There is definitely something about Simcoe and Southwestern Ontario that produces the kindest of souls and some fine musicians! Everyone we met was open and friendly, and nothing like having the event organizers recognize the Dankettes when we arrived for the show. Here are some highlights:

Colin Linden in the parking lot of the venue hours before! It was a good thing Glen was driving as one of us gals probably would have driven off the road. However, we regained our composure when we scrambled out of the car and spoke with him for a few minutes.

Rutter, Danko & Atkinson performing first and putting on a brilliant totally acoustic show. Terry also treated us to a beautiful new song, one of many he has recently written. Was it "IMND" that Terry sang? And yes, if you closed your eyes and just listened, Rick was very much present, BUT Terry is very much a singer and musician in his own right and has his own style and sound!

Then came Professor Louie and the Cromatix! Absolutely top notch! They did an unbelievable Blind Willie McTell (among many others) that rocked the house.

Then... Colin Linden and his band, along with Tom Wilson, Colin's bandmate from B&RK, tall, oozing personality, a little out there but with an unbelievable range. When his deep baritone chimed in on the finale of "I Shall Be Released," we howled, it was just so fun! Colin, well Colin and the band were superb. They performed everything from "Remedy," to "Unfaithful Servant" (which reduced this writer to tears) to his own "Out of The Wilderness." Colin seemed so happy to be there, honouring his great friend Rick, and after each song he would have a huge grin that lit up his face and say "Thank you so much." He also honoured his friendship with Richard Bell, and you could just feel how the deaths of these two men had affected him profoundly.

Too soon it ended but not before Colin took back the stage after a standing ovation and led the whole ensemble into The Weight (with Colin singing Rick's verse and where we lost Amy) followed by an emotional "I Shall Be Released."

Immediately after the show Glen took us backstage to meet Terry and others. Terry, very warmly and graciously embraced us for a group shot and then spoke to us about his hiatus from music, being drawn back in a few years ago, focusing on his songwriting, and just wanting to play acoustic only. He told us about his career with the Toronto Zoo, originally designing exhibits for the animals' habitats, something that started out as a temporary thing, and which has now turned into something else and which he pursues full time. It was a thrill to meet him.

Then we were off to the Norfolk, arriving there in the wee hours after the show. Half of the Hawks, the Shane Gang minus the Weber brothers, were performing. They are made up of Shane Pinchen (think young goodlooking Rick or Robbie from their Hawk days), Bill Cayley (the legend in black, with the best tribute show to Johnny Cash)) to Jeff Webster on drums. Jeff, who told us he was influenced and inspired by TLW and Levon, is a great drummer in his own right but boy does he channel him! The way he plays, punches, turns his head to the side, even has that Levon grit and grimace look to his expression. They were all a pleasure to meet and a joy to experience.

The next night we were in for more of a treat, when we went back to the Norfolk Inn and saw our own Glen Silverthorn sitting in on drums with Tony Duclos and the Shoeshine Boys!! That is one rocking band, and one double rocking drummer!

It was a whirlwind weekend, filled with joy, laughter, meeting new friends and absolutely fabulous music. For me personally, the experience was profound. I never had the opportunity to see Rick live and as I looked around and saw all of Rick's friends and family, looked on stage at all of the musicians who knew and loved him and were paying homage to him, I realized "you'll never ever see this man perform and never have a chance to go up to him after a show and say 'Thank you for the wonderful music tonight and always Rick.'" -- and that's when I understood that what the three of us were experiencing right then and there, after the honour of meeting his friends and family, it all happening in his home town, was the closest thing we would ever get to experiencing the man himself!

For Band fans and especially Rick's fans, this is one event you can't miss and I urge everyone to "come up" next year for the 3rd Annual Rick Danko Tribute. It will be an experience you won't want to miss and won't soon forget! See you on Danko Day 2008!

--Nancy Dixon, Burlington, ON, August 2007

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