American Thanksgiving weekend always brings around an anniversary for The Band and this year it will have been 41 years (Nov 25th 1976) since they played their most famous and final concert. Billed as ‘The Last Waltz’ The Band was joined by Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Ron Wood, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Muddy Watters, Neil Diamond and Joni Mitchell at Winterland in San Fransisco. Before Martin Scorsese became the film giant he is today he directed the film which is now largely believed to be the greatest big screen concert film of all time. The film made it’s debut on April 26th 1978.
Here’s Neil Young performing ‘Helpless’ with The Band in the film. Before taking the stage Young had done a massive amount of cocaine at a party backstage and there was a “good-size rock of cocaine stuck in his nostril” Levon Helm recounted in his memoire. “Neil’s manager saw this and said no way is Neil gonna be on film like this.” the resolution was thanks to special effects people who were able to somehow clean out Neil’s nose in post production. They couldn’t take the sweat off his forehead or the coked up look on his face though..
Here is some less cocaine oriented footage from The Last Waltz
Cover Photo Credit: YouTube