Weekend Video | The Last Waltz

The Band has been on heavy rotation as of late. Two of my good friends (Mark and Ben) have been listening to them a lot too. In fact, Ben blogged about the Canadian / American group not too long ago. In ’76 the folk rock ensemble assembled an all star line-up for what was meant to be their final performance together. The concert would become an epic 1978 rockumentary – directed by this guy Martin Scorsese – called The Last Waltz. Some of my favorite performances are below.

Is there really anyone cooler than Levon Helm? Below is my favorite shot from the film, when the camera zooms in on Helm playing drums and signing The Weight. Pure magic.

Also, could this be the coolest mesh hat ever seen? The brim looks shorter than normal and the blue fabric almost looks like wool. I can’t believe I am saying a trucker hat is cool, but these photos pretty much sell it. Again, it helps that Levon is the man.

Comments on “Weekend Video | The Last Waltz

    aaron on April 11, 2009 10:09 PM:

    a big favorite…one of the only bands (besides the beatles) with three legitimate singers.

    james on April 11, 2009 10:40 PM:

    full foam beats foam/mesh… but wool mesh might be the ro-sham-bo killer of all… ACL, time to start the merch. best. 10e.

    Biggie_Robs on April 12, 2009 12:48 AM:

    Great band. Love these guys.

    plaidout on April 12, 2009 1:08 AM:

    Life is not complete until one experiences The Last Waltz.

    ita-darling on April 12, 2009 1:18 AM:

    Dear Michael, Please stop blogging about everything I love most in life so I can’t stop being obsessed with your blog. Even though I am a mere girl in this manly realm, I can’t stay away.

    Seriously. “The Weight” with The Staple Singers? Brilliant. Everything about TLW is brilliant. It is part of my Thanksgiving ritual right after listening to Alice’s Restaurant. Screw the fact that The Band is Canadian, they filmed this on Turkey day. Accompanied by American Rye Whiskey (michters preferably)

    (But now, this reminds me of hunkering down before Ike hit Houston drinking straight Titos and waiting for the power to go out. go figure)

    Just stop it.

    Adam on April 12, 2009 8:47 AM:

    Anyone seeing this footage for first time MUST see the duet with Emmylou Harris “evangeline”

    Paul on April 12, 2009 12:40 PM:

    Last weekend I went up to Woodstock to attend Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble, one of a series of performances that he puts on in his barn. It holds about 200 people and I was able to sit in the front row with my feet touching the mike stand bases. Donald Fagen sat in all night, and I have to tell you that you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Don singing King Harvest (Has Surely Come). If you’re anywhere within reach of upstate New York you ought to check it out. See levonhelm.com.

    Andrea on April 12, 2009 1:14 PM:

    The Last Waltz (at max volume) is a darned good cure for the end-of-winter blahs.

    Daniel Vincent on April 12, 2009 7:35 PM:

    Wow, this was already out of touch in 1976.

    rich on April 13, 2009 10:13 AM:

    … … pure.

    Louis on April 13, 2009 11:06 AM:

    One of my favorite movies ever.

    This is also a great clip – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_hsp4SBwO4

    Damion on April 13, 2009 11:40 AM:

    Much deserved attention for such a great film. All music lovers ought to spend a lazy day watching this movie and “Festival Express” on loop. Have a stash of cold ones nearby.

    corey on April 13, 2009 1:31 PM:

    Awesome, awesome concert film. Love Van the Man’s performance of Caravan, but can’t seem to find it on you tube.

    This is definitely one of my all-time favorite concert DVDs. Actually, the only concert film, I would argue, that might be better is the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” – about their concert at Altamont in ’69.

    Sick performance of Under My Thumb:

    Richard on April 13, 2009 1:36 PM:

    please watch this in its higher resolution to fully experience neil young’s coke booger and don’t forget v. morrison in his sparkly purple unitard doing some sweet air kicks. live music just isn’t the same.

    Marcellus on April 14, 2009 1:23 AM:

    My favorite performances are Mitchell’s “Coyote”, Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy”, and Morrison’s “Caravan” (always got a kick out of how he pronounces radio, “rad-ee-o”).

    Interestingly, if I recall reading this correctly, the rest of The Band was really irritated with Robbie Robertson after shooting the film–apparently he would appear to be singing his heart out in front of dead mic’s, knowing he wasn’t supposed to sing on the particular song, thereby calling attention to himself–and the rest of the group took exception to what they felt was an act of selfishness.

    In the discussion for best concert film, I’d have to say “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones” (from their ’72 US tour) is my biased favorite.

    John on April 15, 2009 4:29 PM:

    internet would be sincerely meaningless whitout A Continuous Lean

    Jeff on April 16, 2009 6:15 PM:

    Their performance of “Makes No Difference” breaks my heart every single time. The way Rick Danko belts it out, Robbie’s gushing guitar solo (the wrong note just makes it more sincere), everything. I just bought The Last Waltz for the third time after giving my other two copies away as gifts. Only Stop Making Sense approaches it in sheer awesomeness, if for nothing more than the Byrne on Byrne self-interview.

    keithwwalker on May 14, 2009 9:40 PM:

    In music, you won’t get closer to American royalty than this:


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