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Saturday, July 18, 2020


Stage Fright is a four-member band formed as a tribute to "The Band" of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Shown are (from left to right): Mike Nickerson (foreground on left), Mike Watkins, Sean Monroe and Joe Callahan (foreground on right).

On Friday, July 24, at 6:30 p.m., Stage Fright joined by several guest musicians will perform a free tribute concert to The Band, a Canadian-American roots rock group formed in Toronto, Ontario in 1968. They will be on the outdoor stage on the Central Avenue side of the Deane Center for the Performing Arts at 104 Main Street in Wellsboro.

Members of Stage Fright are: Joe Callahan of Wellsboro on guitar; Sean Monroe of Horseheads, N.Y. on bass guitar; Mike Watkins of Addison, N.Y. on piano, organ, accordion, mandolin and fiddle; and Mike Nickerson of Corning, N.Y. on percussion. The four share vocals and do a lot of harmonies. Watkins, Nickerson and Callahan grew up in Tioga County, Pa.

Joining them for this performance will be Josh Sperrick of Corning, N.Y., a member of the band Hilltop Revelry, Karin Knaus, who starred in Hamilton-Gibson's 2019 production of "Mamma Mia" and Wellsboro's own Brandon Lusk.

"We’re playing songs from the Band’s entire catalog, including their three biggest hits - "Weight" (1968), "Up On Cripple Creek" (1969) and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (1969), along with some of their deep-cuts - their under-appreciated gems we love," said Callahan.

"We have been doing this for almost five years," Callahan said. '"Our first tribute concert to The Band was in August of 2015. Sean had wanted to start this tribute group for a long time and recruited us. We rehearse at Mike Watkins' house, which is on a lake in the woods in Addison N.Y. The Band actually rehearsed at a home in the woods in Woodstock, N.Y.," Callahan noted.

Stage Fright's name came from The Band's third studio album, which included "Stage Fright" as its title track.

"From 1968 to 1975, The Band was one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the world," according to Bruce Eder who wrote about them in an article published in the "All-Music Guide." "Their music was embraced by critics as seriously as the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones," Eder stated. "Their albums were analyzed and reviewed as intensely as any records by their one-time employer and sometime mentor Bob Dylan. And, for a long time, their personalities were as recognizable individually to the casual music public as the members of the Beatles."

The five members of "The Band" in 1968 included Rick Danko on bass, Levon Helm on drums and guitar, Richard Manuel on piano, Garth Hudson on organ and Robbie Robertson on rhythm guitar. In 1973, the group played "one major show at the race track in Watkins Glen, N.Y. before the largest audience ever assembled for a concert -- it was a demonstration of their place in the rock pantheon that the Band was booked alongside the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band," Eder wrote.

The Band produced the following albums, "Music From Big Pink," "The Band," "Stage Fright," "Cahoots," "Rock of Ages," Moondog Matinee," "Planet Waves" with Dylan, ""Before the Flood," "Northern Lights -- Southern Cross," a best-of album in 1976, "Islands," and their last, "The Last Waltz."

For this concert, bring lawn chairs and sit on the grass in front of the outdoor stage or on Central Avenue, which will be closed to traffic between Main Street and the Warehouse Theatre to provide space for social distancing. Donations are appreciated.

For more information about this concert and others, call the Deane Center at 570-724-6220, email or visit

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Why not just play the recordings of The Band instead of another less talented band mimicking the music of The Band?