When yet another music legend dies, do you imagine them jamming with heaven’s ultimate band?
That daydream is coming to life on stage in the show Rock is Dead in Regina.
The gates of rock and roll heaven open for one night Wednesday, when all great artists of the past join musical forces for an amazing concert.
A cast of 30 local musicians, including 20 singers and a live band, will take the stage at the Exchange at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 to pay tribute to their favourite dead rock and pop stars.
Regina musician Ben Redant is producing the show for the second year, and describes it as a joyous experience.
“No one wants to lose some of their favourite artists, but it is kind of a nice balm to soothe the loss by being able to celebrate their music,” he said.
“In most cases, we’re trying to be really true to the spirit of the original and it’s a really fulfilling experience, I’d say one that nearly verges on the spiritual.”
Redant first organized the show last October while thinking about the deaths of Prince, David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead.
He had stumbled on a YouTube video from Czechia of a woman doing a cover of a Janis Joplin song – then realized it was a whole show paying homage to dead rock stars.
Unfortunately, 2017 picked right up with an ever-growing list of rock stars dying.
“This year, having grown up as a giant Soundgarden fan, Chris Cornell’s death was really shocking” Redant said.
“Then Chester Bennington from Linkin Park so soon after – and both by their own hand – which was stunning and terrible.”
In the final few weeks of rehearsals, Redant has kept adding to the program to include rock giants like Tom Petty and Canadian legend Gord Downie.
He has the difficult task of choosing the music to represent the artists so many people have loved.
“You have to sort of pare it down to what is really the essence of this performer or this band – like what is the song really sums it up the most or that people really want to hear the most,” he said.
“When you have someone with a catalogue like the Tragically Hip or Tom Petty, it’s daunting to pick just one song that is the perfect song for this show.”
With the news of Fats Domino’s death in the last week before the show, it was too late to properly rehearse a song, but he will be included in a tribute video.
Tickets are available at the door for $15 and the proceeds of sales will go to Music Heals, which provides funding and awareness for local music therapy programs.