From The Last Waltz.
From the Isle Of Wight, August 31, 1969.
Richard Manuel of The Band was born on this date in 1943. The keyboardist/vocalist was instrumental in the success of the group in the early years, but his issues with drugs/alcohol led him down a dark path. Manuel hanged himself in a Winter Park, FL hotel room after a gig in 1983. He had been clean for some time and was touring with a Robbie Robertson-less incarnation of The Band, that included the rest of the gang, when his demons and addictions returned. Manuel took his life on March 4, 1983.
Here’s Richard shortly before his death singing “The Shape I’m In”:
Excellent song from 1970′s Stage Fright.
Mid-August 1976 found the band members Robbie Robertson and Richard Manuel, tired and burned out of constant touring. Their legendary retirement shows, captured in “The Last Waltz” was but a mere three months away. This show finds them mustering their collective strength and flexing their musical muscle. Taken from a pre-FM recording.
01) Don’t Do It
02) Shape I’m In
03) It Makes No Difference
04) The Weight
05) King Harvest
08) Tears Of Rage
09) Forbidden Fruit
10) This Wheel’s On Fire
11) The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
12) Genetic Method
13) Chest Fever
14) Up On Cripple Creek
15) W.S. Walcott Medicine Show
Here’s a little insight on what went down between Robbie Robertson and Levon leading up to The Last Waltz and what transpired on that historic night in 1976. Click here to read his take from 1994.
SOME TIME in September 1976 we got word that Robbie Robertson and our management wanted to put it away. Robbie had had enough, and they decided to kill The Band and go out with a bang. I thought it might be a joke, but Robertson was dead serious. In fact, they had a plan. Robbie wanted us to play a farewell show in San Francisco, where it all started for us, around Thanksgiving. He wanted everyone we’d played with along the way – from Ronnie Hawkins to Bob Dylan – to perform, but without their own musicians. We would be the back-up band for our guests. They were already lining people up: Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Ringo, Eric Clapton, Allen Toussaint. It was gonna be the concert of the century, maybe the show to end the whole so-called rock era. That’s what they told me, anyway. (more…)
If you’re anything like me, you have a special place in your heart for Rick Danko. His unique style and approach to his craft was so personal and deeply poignant. A true workingman’s musician that seemed so accessible and genuine. His former publicist has a blog named Sip The Wine, dedicated solely to Rick. It shares her in-depth character profile through rememberences, touching stories and a number of great, never published, behind-the-scenes photos.
Here’s a Robertson-less version of “It Makes No Difference” from 1983.
This is one of my desert island songs.
Head over to Hidden Track and check out the complete SBD 241 minute real last show of The Band (11/25/1976).
Back To Memphis
Lovin’ You Is Better Than Ever
The Shape I’m In
I Shall Be Released
Don’t Do It
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
Across The Great Divide
This Wheel’s On Fire
Life Is A Carnival
Share Your Love
Up On Cripple Creek
The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show
The Band performed their legendary farewell show at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Promoter Bill Graham provided a Thanksgiving meal for those in attendance and The Band treated their fans to a show that included more than a dozen special guests, including Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood and Neil Young. Here are some videos of the occassion taken from Martin Scorsese’s landmark concert film.
Up On Cripple Creek:
It Makes No Difference:
Neil Young’s Helpless:
Don’cha break my heart, please! Don’t do it! From Rock Of Ages (1972), here’s a version from the Academy Of Music in late ’71.
The Band performing “I Shall Be Released” in the excellent “Festival Express“.
As we metioned yesterday, the Woodstock Music And Arts Festival started on this weekend in 1969. The festival ran from the 15th through the 17th on Max Yasgur’s farm in the rural town of Bethel, NY. It’s widely regarded as one of, if not the most influential event in rock and roll history. Tickets for the three day event cost the princely sum of $18, but most didn’t pay for their tickets and for most intents and purposes, Woodstock has been considered a free event. Concert organizers had expected 200,000 patrons, but what they got was roughly 500,000(!). Obviously the festival was not prepared for such an enormous turnout, so water supply, toilet facilities, etc., were creature comforts the concert goers had to do without.
The festival started with Richie Havens plucking and singing his version of soulful folk music and wove through several different genres and styles throughout the weekend. Some of the highlights were: Crosby, Stills & Nash- performing an acoustic set and an electric set, Canned Heat, Janis Joplin, Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly And The Family Stone, The Who (Yippie Activist, Abbie Hoffman stormed the stage and stole the microphone before it was regained), The Grateful Dead (whose set was marred by technical difficulties), Jefferson Airplane, Ten Years After, The Band, Paul Butterfield, and of course, Jimi Hendrix’s career defining early morning set.
The Beatles were asked to play, but John Lennon refused unless Yoko’s Plastic Ono Band could play as well. John and Yoko were turned down…Cold. Others that declined for various reasons were: The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Frank Zappa, Spirit, Bob Dylan, etc., etc.
The festival was filmed and released in 1970 as “Woodstock”.
Santana’s Soul Sacrifice:
Janis Joplin’s Try:
Joe Cocker’s With A Little Help From My Friends:
Ten Years After’s I’m Going Home:
Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit:
Crosby, Stills & Nash’s Suite: Judy Blue Eyes:
The Who’s Pinball Wizard:
Sly And The Family Stone’s I Want To Take You Higher:
….. and of course, Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child:
A little post bi-centenial Band action for ya, courtesy of our new friend Tim at Music Junkie. Mid-August 1976 found the band tired and burned out of constant touring (sound familiar?). Their legendary retirement shows, captured in “The Last Waltz” was but a mere three months away. This show finds them mustering their collective strength and flexing their musical muscle. Taken from a pre-FM recording. Download here.
An oldie but a goodie. I hate that this song is/was a Cingular commercial. This is for Rick.
Here we have The Band performing “Up On Cripple Creek” from Martin Scosese’s 1978 epic concert film, The Last Waltz. With an unparalleled artist roster, this is amongst the best concert films of all time. Who’s in it you ask? Well, we have Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, (deep breath), Dr. John, Ringo Starr, Van Morrison, The Staple Singers, Emmylou Harris and of course, The Band.
Rick Danko (The Band), Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)
Imagine riding across the Canadian countryside in 1970 with your favorite bands. Well, this DVD, Festival Express, captures the excitement, the camraderie and logistical limitations that existed on this run of shows. The lineup included The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Buddy Guy, The Band, Traffic, Delaney & Bonnie, etc., etc. Sadly, Joplin was not long for this earth and left our planet shortly after the completion of the short run. Apparently the booze ran freely and judging by the following clip, all imbibed.
Enjoy this clip that illustrates the fraternity that the music business used to and should be.