WHEAT IT, BALLY!
Garbage, Sheryle Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, Victoria Williams, Keb’ Mo’, the Martinis (featuring Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago and drummer David Lovering), and surprise guests Crowded House and George Clinton performed at the Alex Theatre in Glendale to benefit cancer survivor Wally “Llama” Ingram and his rising medical costs to treat throat cancer.
The three-hour plus event brought in an unusual mix of well wishers, industry know-it-alls, and an array of youngsters whom were expecting a lengthy Garbage set and didn’t have a clue who the other artists were, nor were they familiar with Mr. Ingram and his plight. Unfortunately for them, all of the performances of the evening were limited to two or three songs, to keep the night moving without a hitch. Here is a brief recap of the night’s events.
Jackson Browne still looks and sounds amazing; after years of touring and recording, he’s still got it. Now, I’ve never been a Bonnie Raitt fan, the songs I heard on the radio were always too sugary and lovey dovey…but after seeing her live, I am now a true fan. She is such an accomplished musician, her ability to play complex songs while singing perfectly on key and in time is astounding. I was truly floored. And the soft, well thought, technically beautiful songs of Keb’Mo’ rounded out the trio in such an amazing way.
It was a full night of once-in-a-lifetime collaborations, amazing renditions of classics, and magnificently crafted ballads dedicated to, and even featuring, Mr. Wally Ingram. It was overwhelmingly easy to tell that each one of these performers had a personal connection with Ingram, and that they were truly glad to be present and not there because it was “this thing they had to do.”
The reclusive Shirley Manson led the group through a very brief but incredible three-song set: acoustic driven, with the Section Quartet (who had played some fantastic rock covers earlier in the night) providing amazing atmosphere to the band’s already hauntingly beautiful music that was also accompanied by a theremin player. Yeah, it was as cool as it sounds.
After a guest appearance by Aussie rockers Crowded House, whom delighted the audience with their first performance in a decade (preceding their stint at this year’s Coachella festival), Sheryl Crow took the stage. Crow ended off the evening with some excellent insight into Wally’s situation—being a cancer survivor herself—and proceeded to play some of the most simple, touching songs of the night, before inviting the entire culmination of the evening’s performers Last Waltz style onto the expansive stage at the Alex theatre to perform “Every Day is a Winding Road,” complete with George Clinton sneaking in “We Got the Funk” between verses.
The single-song encore was a welcomed, lengthy, and upbeat rendition of “No Woman, No Cry,” led by troubadour Jackson Browne. An amazing end to an amazing evening. Awareness was raised, over $100,000 was raised to assist Wally Ingram, experiences were shared, and Garbage fans were pissed at paying so much money for such a short set.
If you’re interested in helping, donations can be made to: Beat It Wally!, c/o Mark Brenner, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., #232, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.