Anniversary of The Band's Last Waltz

11/04/2011
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(Gibson) On this day in 1977, The Last Waltz, the movie of The Band's final concert, premiered in New York. The Martin Scorsese movie also featured Joni Mitchell, Dr. John, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. Gibson takes a look back: On November 4, 1977, New York was the site of the premiere of probably the greatest rock and roll concert ever caught on film. It's also the most beautifully and sympathetically shot concert movie in history, directed by a young New York filmmaker by the name of Martin Scorsese.

In 1976, Robbie Robertson decided he'd had enough of playing with The Band, Canada's most successful rock band, best-known throughout the rock and roll world for their groundbreaking work with Bob Dylan. The Band (Robertson, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel) had been touring most of their working lives, for almost 16 years. Initially hired as Ronnie Hawkins' backing band, they ended up as Dylan's musos of choice and put out some pretty successful offerings of their own. With Robertson tiring of the grind and the band ready to quit, they chose one last concert on Thanksgiving 1976 to say their goodbyes.

The farewell show would take place at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, feature their musical buddies on the bill and be filmed by the hottest director in the business. Scorsese was still glowing from the reception his Taxi Driver received and couldn't resist the diversion while finishing work on New York, New York (which would be panned and received with less than mass enthusiasm). more on this story

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Copyright Gibson.com - Excerpted here with permission.

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