The Theatre the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles was the place to be on Sunday, December 11, as it hosted a wonderful benefit gig honoring the career and music of Linda Ronstadt.
With proceeds from ticket sales going directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the night was a warm celebration of Ronstadt’s music featuring several can’t-miss performances from some of her contemporaries, colleagues, friends and even younger acts no doubt inspired by her influence.
After a video presentation of numerous photos by rock photographer Henry Diltz and a recorded greeting from Dolly Parton and other clips of Linda Ronstadt’s illustrious career, the concert officially kicked off with a heartwarming introduction by Freeform rock DJ/Los Angeles icon Jim Ladd.
Serving as the night’s house band, the Watkins Family Hour opened the musical portion of the show with “Different Drum,” a song Linda sang with the the Stone Poneys in 1967.
WFH features Don Heffington (Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan) on drums, Sebastian Steinberg (Eddie Vedder, Dixie Chicks, KD Lang) on bass, Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) on keys, Greg Leisz (Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne) on pedal steel, and Sara Watkins on vocals and violin, brother Sean on vocals and guitar. They also backed many of the artists throughout the evening.
Grace Potter, backed by the Watkins Family Hour did a very cool version of “You’re No Good.”
Los Angeles indie/folk-rock band Dawes fit into the show well with their sound reminiscent of Laurel Canyon and Crosby, Stills & Nash. They performed the title track to Linda’s platinum-certified, Grammy-nominated 1980 rock album Mad Love.
Guatemalan-born Gaby Moreno is ultra-talented. So happy to see her on this show. Her singing is only surpassed by her proficient guitar skills, Latin rhythms included. Her bluesy, soulful, Jazzy style with Latin flavor is truly unique.
I used to see her play shows at Room 5, then she blew up with a bilingual album that gained her a lot of attention and the kind of buzz that earned her a Best New Artist of 2014 award at the Latin Grammy Awards. She toured as a back-up singer for Tracy Chapman as well as Hugh Laurie then went out on her own.
It’s no wonder why — once you see and hear her you’ll get it.
Gaby Moreno’s strong vocals are so reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt’s powerful voice, and she used them to perfection on a rendition of “Rogaciano el Hupanguero,” a song off Linda’s 1987 album Canciones de mi Padre.
Enjoy more photos from the night below:
The legendary David Lindley (the focus of a new Behind the Curtain feature) did his version of “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”:
Jackson Browne performed Lowell George’s “Willin” with female duo Lucius, who also sang “When Will I Be Loved” on their own:
Maria Muldaur graced the stage and sang “Heart Like A Wheel,” the title track from Ronstadt’s breakthrough 1974 album.
There was a silent auction for concert tickets and many of Henry Diltz’s photography pieces.
Winners were announced on a big screen before the cast did 2 encore songs, “Blue Bayou” & “Heatwave,” which was a great way to cap off an unforgettable evening:
For more information on The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, visit the foundation’s official site.