The Last Waltz
On November 25, 1976, The Band played their final performance, calling it The Last Waltz. The Band had an extremely successful career of 16 years producing hits such as The Weight, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Up On Cripple Creek, and many more. The news of The Band's breakup came as a great shock to all of their fans, as well as many popular musicians of that time.
As a result of the sudden news of The Band's break up, momentum for the performance grew, along with the guest list of artists set to join The Band onstage to bid them farewell. Music icons such as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and Muddy Waters all signed up to join the band and pay their respects to the legendary group. The Infamous Bill Graham provided the venue and, fortunately for us, Martin Scorsese, the iconic film director, was there to capture and document the whole performance. The result was a documentary that provides one of the most unique snap shots of music history, and arguably one of the greatest rock n' roll concerts ever assembled.
If you happened to be one of the lucky 5,000 people in attendance at The Last Waltz you were provided with a very unique, musical experience. Not only were you treated to a concert that served up some of the most inspirational and influential rock n' roll artists of all time, you were also provided with turkey dinners (fitting for the occasion) and a formal waltz just prior to the show. Along with the musicians set to entertain, attendees were also entertained by local poets. What started as a farewell, ended as a celebration. A celebration of not just The Band, but a celebration of music, art, friendship and emotion created out of human experience and years on the road.
Scorsese's The Last Waltz captures the true emotion of the artists and their music. From the pain of It Makes No Difference, to the soul of Manish Boy, the viewer is consumed by not just the music but the story and purpose behind the music. The Last Waltz presents a look into an era of rock n' roll history where music was created and written based off of experience and feeling- a quality that popular music today seems to lack. The Leftover Last Waltz and the Woody Guthrie Center make a fitting duo, as the artists captured in Scorsese's film depict and serve as living representations of Woody Guthrie's model of creating music by using the world and environment around them.