The Weight Band To Celebrate 10 Years of Carrying on The Band Legacy at Troy Music Hall
Jim Weider of The Weight Band remembers the first few times he saw The Band, initially at Woodstock in 1969, and again in 1973 at the Watkins Glen Summer Jam, an event that drew more people than Woodstock, with 600,000 attending. He was 21 years old, and it changed his life.
“It was fantastic. They jammed out a lot. They did songs like “Going Back to Memphis,” “Loving You,” and “Sweeter than Ever.” They jammed out a lot and stretched out. They did stuff off The Moon Dog Matinee record. They jammed more ’cause they were with the [Grateful] Dead and The Allman Brothers [Band]. It was very loose, and I drove along the railroad tracks and found a way to get in and out, get beer, and then watch. Of course, I went to really hear The Band, and I saw everybody.”
Twelve years later, Jim would become Robbie Robertson’s replacement as lead guitarist and co-writer in The Band, whose name itself signals that they were fundamental to the development of a cultural phenomenon as significant in their contribution to American rock music as the other groups at that festival, the above mentioned Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers.
Weider’s current group, the Weight Band, carries on that legacy. Celebrating their 10th anniversary, they will perform on Saturday, September 23rd, at The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, carrying the torch for the original Band. Jim agrees that the hall itself undoubtedly has the best acoustics of any venue they’re playing on their current tour and is closest to their home base in Woodstock.
“At The Troy Music Hall, I want to do a special acoustic show. We’ll do some songs from Big Pink and some songs that The Band used to do when I played with them. “Ain’t No More Cane” is one. We do versions of “Remedy,” maybe acoustically.”
Jim has fond memories of his first encounter with The Band at Watkins Glen. “We’re gonna be doing songs from the Watkins Glen show that The Band did. That was 1973. I was there. And it was the largest festival. It was with The Allman Brothers. We’re gonna do some Allman Brothers songs. We’ll be doing some Grateful Dead tunes celebrating that, and of course, the new album, the current Weight Band record Shines Like Gold. So, let’s rock that place.
Ironically, I interviewed Jim on August 9th, the day his predecessor in The Band, Robbie Robertson, passed away. We didn’t know of his passing until after our interview. I emailed him when I found out and asked if he had anything to say about the man whose “Last Waltz” concert with The Band marked Robertson’s departure but would become the cornerstone for almost four decades of continuing great music led by Jim’s guitar, first with The Band itself in 1985 and then in 2013 with The Weight Band. This was his response: “We lost one of America’s great songwriters. The songs and melodic guitar playing he did with The Band inspired me greatly and many others to combine folk, blues, and rock ‘n roll into what’s now called Americana music!”
Every time I see Jim and his band, which is the same lineup that played at Cohoes Music Hall in 2022, I’m amazed at the talent of this powerful unit, which, if my memory serves me right, exceeds that of the original Band. This is from a guy who is 71 years old. I asked him how it feels.
“You know, painful.”
You’re not supposed to admit that I told him. He responded by saying his guitar playing isn’t as fast as it used to be, but we both agreed that speed is less important than the emotion of capturing a great song.
I suggested they record the show at this hallowed hall famous for its acoustics. He agreed that that was a good idea. “I think this is an important show because it’s my hometown area. The Albany area is great, and people really love the band up there, and after playing Athens and seeing all those people, there’s gotta be a way to get them to know about this show and how special it’s going to be.”