Levon Helm – subject for the eponymous song by Elton John, drummer for The Band, one-time cancer survivor – is in his final stages of his fight with cancer. UPDATED: Levon died April 19, 2012.

For Bob’s birthday one year, I got him tickets to a Midnight Ramble, at Levon’s house in Woodstock, NY. It was probably the most awesome musical event I’ve ever attended. First of all, and this can’t be emphasized enough, it was AT LEVON’S HOUSE. He had a large barn-like space that fit probably 100 chairs (and there was standing room). There was a balcony behind the stage area (which was flat on the ground, so the front row could have just leaned over to pat the drum kit, if one felt so inclined) where folks could watch from, too. The opening act was Punch Brothers. Garth showed up and played the squeezebox. They played some Band standards, like The Day they Drove Old Dixie Down, Ophelia, and The Weight.

I always thought we’d go back; maybe take the babies. I guess that now we can’t.

I know we’ll sure miss him. I can’t imagine how hard it is for his family, after almost losing him once already to cancer.

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