The last Waltz Essay

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The Last Waltz is the name given to the “farewell concert” of Canadian rock group The Band, which took place on Thanksgiving Day 1976 (November 25) at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Besides the Band, many guests performed that night, including Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ron Wood and Neil Young. The concert was filmed by director Martin Scorsese, who made a documentary, released in 1978. The film includes performances from the concert, scenes shot in a recording studio and interviews with members of the group by Scorsese. A triple album featuring the film's soundtrack was released the same year. The film was released on DVD in 2002, along with a 4-CD box set including the concert and related studio recordings. The Last Waltz is considered one of the best concerts ever to be filmed. However, Band drummer Levon Helm was very critical of this film, considering it to be too focused on Robbie Robertson, the film's guitarist and producer, and not enough on the other band members.

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However, the latter is poorly seen in the film, and he switches from his falsetto voice to his normal voice between verses. Then there were two "oxen". The first included the Band, except Richard Manuel, with Neil Young, Ron Wood and Eric Clapton on guitar, Dr John on piano, Paul Butterfield on harmonica, and Ringo Starr on drums. The second ox followed, with the same ones, minus Robertson and Danko. Stephen Stills, who arrived late, performed a guitar solo and Carl Radle picked up the bass. The Band then returned, around 2:15 am, to perform an encore, Don't Do It. This was the last time the group played under this formation: when it reformed in 1983, Robertson was not there. Robertson originally wanted to record the concert 16 mm format. He hired Martin Scorsese as a director, based on his use of music in Mean Streets.

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The film's first soundtrack, a triple album, was released on April 16, 1978; it has since been reissued on two CDs. It contains many songs not in the film, including Down South in New Orleans with Bobby Charles and Dr. John on guitar, Tura Lura Lural (That's an Irish Lullaby) by Van Morrison, Life Is a Carnival by the Band, and a song added with Bob Dylan. A four-CD box set was released in 2002, as was a DVD-Audio edition. The album was produced by Robbie Robertson, who remastered all of the songs. It contains 16 previously unreleased songs, as well as rehearsal takes. New additions include Caldonia by Muddy Waters, the concert version of The Weight, all of Oxen 1 and 2, and completed performances by Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. The soundtracks underwent post-concert production involving a lot of overdubbing and re-sequencing. A pirate album, made from the original recordings of this concert, was put into circulation, constituting a more exact and complete testimony of the event; it contains songs missing from the film and from official albums, including Georgia on My Mind, King Harvest, Chest Fever in its entirety, and the stage version of Evangeline.

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