Fans of The Band celebrated the 50th anniversary of the band’s 1970 Stage Fright studio album in 2020, and to mark the ongoing celebration, Universal Music Enterprises has shared a previously-unreleased live version of the band performing their most well-known hit, “The Weight”.
This live take on the celebrated Music From Big Pink track was recorded during The Band’s June 3rd, 1971 show at London’s famed Royal Albert Hall. The previously-unreleased concert is set to be included in full on The Band’s upcoming Stage Fright 50th Anniversary Edition box set, out on February 12th.
The song that perfectly encapsulates The Band’s deep arsenal of talented singers in Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel came in at the three slot of the show as the group explodes out of the starting gate. Coming into London hot on the tail end of a 1971 European tour, this two-night run at the Royal Albert Hall was The Band’s first time back at the famous venue since backing Bob Dylan in 1966. Given the crowd’s vitriolic reaction to the newly-electrified demeanor of the iconic singer-songwriter five years prior, the group’s 1971 return was justifiably much more rewarding.
“Everybody was on their game. And it was such a great relief to come back to Albert Hall from the last experience of playing with Bob there, [Laughs]” Robertson told Rolling Stone. “When we played with Bob, we were on a ridiculous schedule on tour. I’m amazed that Bob, you know, could even pull it off physically. This time, the crowd was just over the top on enthusiasm and we were trying to give it back to them.”
Listen to the newly-released live version of The Band’s “The Weight”, recorded on June 3rd, 1971 at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The Band – “The Weight” – London, England, 6/3/71
The 50th-anniversary edition of Stage Fright is set to feature a trove of other extras in addition to the Royal Albert Hall gig. Featuring new mixes executed by Bob Clearmountain and supervised by Robbie Robertson, the tracks on Stage Fright will be presented in their intended order for the first time ever. The box set will also include field recordings made on a hazy night at the Calgary Hotel as Roberston, Danko, and keyboardist Richard Manuel workshopped “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” and jammed on other songs that didn’t make the record. Click here to pre-order in a variety of formats.