The Band The Last Waltz 1976

The Last Waltz is the live recording of the last concert by The Band before they broke up on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976.

The main concert was recorded at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.

The Last Waltz Suite was recorded at the MGM Soundstage.

The album is also the soundtrack to a film of the concert of the same name.

Personally I find it a strange album and prefer Rock Of Ages for a more authentic experience of The Band as a live group. The problem is that so many rock superstars were keen to pay tribute to The Band, the group rather got lost in the mix.

The Last Waltz finishes up as some kind of rock variety show. Interesting but not The Band at its finest.

The Band The Last Waltz

The Last Waltz by The Band

Set List

This is extensive and was first released as a triple LP and is now a 2 CD set. I’ve listed the famous guest stars against their particular tracks.

CD1
Theme from The Last Waltz – 3:28
Up On Cripple Creek – 4:44
Who Do You Love – 4:16 (Ronnie Hawkins)
Helpless – 5:47 (Neil Young)
Stage Fright – 4:25
Coyote – 5:50 (Joni Mitchell)
Dry Your Eyes – 3:57 (Neil Diamond)
It Makes No Difference – 6:48
Such A Night – 4:00 (Dr. John)
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – 4:34
Mystery Train – , Levon Helm     4:59 (Paul Butterfield)
Mannish Boy – 6:54 (Muddy Waters)
Further On Up the Road – 5:08 (Eric Clapton)

CD2

The Shape I’m In – 4:06
Down South in New Orleans – 3:06 (Bobby Charles, Dr. John)
Ophelia – 3:53
Tura Lura Lural (That’s An Irish Lullaby) – 4:15 (Van Morrison)
Caravan – 6:02 (Van Morrison)
Life Is A Carnival – 4:32
Baby, Let Me Follow You Down – 3:00 (Bob Dylan)
I Don’t Believe You – 3:23 (Bob Dylan)
Forever Young – 4:42 (Bob Dylan)
Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (reprise) – 2:46 (Bob Dylan)
I Shall Be Released – 6:22 (Bob Dylan)
The Last Waltz Suite – The Well – 3:27
The Last Waltz Suite – Evangeline – 3:17 (Emmylou Harris)
The Last Waltz Suite – Out of the Blue – 3:03
The Last Waltz Suite – The Weight – 4:38 (Mavis Staples)
The Last Waltz Suite – The Last Waltz Refrain – 1:28
The Last Waltz Suite – Theme from The Last Waltz – 3:22

The set list features plenty of classic songs by the guest artists but, in my opinion it’s short of classic songs by The Band and is why I consider The Last Waltz to be inferior to Rock Of Ages.

There’s an extended version of this album spread over four disks that includes extra songs.

Performance

It must have been a tremendous thrill to have been at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on this night and to see so many big names perform.

Bob Dylan rightly has star billing as his connection with The Band is the most famous. If you’re after a Bob Dylan backed by The Band live album with songs from both of them, Before The Flood is the album for you. He also makes an appearance on Rock Of Ages.

Other big name stars that appear on The Last Waltz include Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond and Eric Clapton.

Atmosphere & Authenticity

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I was going to struggle in this area.

Perhaps struggle is the wrong word. I do feel that The Band get lost within all the big name stars.

I’ve read that the album has been studio enhanced and resequenced.

Overall Rating For The Last Waltz

A very good rock concert and a historic event in classic rock.

It’s considered to be one of the best live albums ever by some. Not by me.

I guess it could have a role as the Desert island disks live album because of the variety on display.

It fails my “how often do I play it” test.

If I want to hear The Band, my fingers on my iPod flick to the first two studio albums Music From Big Pink and The Band and their first live album Rock Of Ages. I love all three of these albums.

What Other People Say About The Last Waltz

This album regularly appears in the best live albums lists:

Q – 2006    2
Slate Readers Poll    4
IGN    14
Rolling Stone    Top 25
NME    33

It’s also popular at Amazon.

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Buying The Last Waltz by The Band

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