Originally hired as a backing for Ronnie Hawkins and later (and much more famously) for Bob Dylan, The Band would eventually find its own place in rock history and grow into its own as one of the most beloved groups in the rock and Americana worlds. Made up of Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, and Richard Manuel, The Band’s shelf live was relatively short (a mere 12 years) but its legacy has remained unblemished, having left an indelible mark with albums including The Band, Music from Big Pink, and Rock Of Ages.
Forty-seven years ago today, The Band took the stage at Bill Graham‘s Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco to play a true farewell concert. Complete with an actual Thanksgiving dinner for the 5,000 lucky fans in attendance, The Last Waltz was later turned into a brilliant documentary/concert film by director Martin Scorsese when it was released two years later in 1978.
Part of the legacy of The Last Waltz was the impressive list of musical guests who were also in attendance at the Winterland that evening. The Band would be joined throughout the night by some of the most revered artists of the day including Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, Allen Toussaint, Ron Wood, and of course, the voice of a generation, Bob Dylan.
Take a look back at The Last Waltz and revisit that magical evening at the Winterland with video clips from the film below along with audio of the entire marathon performance.
The Band – “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” – The Last Waltz
The Band With Neil Young – “Helpless” – The Last Waltz
The Band With Van Morrison – “Caravan” – The Last Waltz
The Band With Bob Dylan – “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down” – The Last Waltz
The Band With The Staple Singers – “The Weight” – The Last Waltz
[Originally published 11/25/16]