Friday, November 25, 2016

The Last Waltz

The Band : Up on Cripple Creek

On Thanksgiving night in 1976, at San Francisco's Winterland, The Band called it quits in the biggest way possible --with an all-star concert celebration starring Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Bobby Charles, Paul Butterfield, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Ringo Starr, Neil Young, Ron Wood, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Dr. John, Ronnie Hawkins and the Staples. Oh, and for some reason, Neil Diamond. Movie director Martin Scorsese filmed the farewell concert, which was billed as The Last Waltz.  

In his recently released memoir, Testimony, guitarist Robbie Robertson writes about the moment they launched into "Up On Cripple Creek", the first song of the night:

The sound on the stage felt powerful and clear. Levon was knockin' on wood -- his drums were punching right through Garth's electric jew's harp sound and my rumbling guitar tone. We were all adjusting to the altitude and finding our footing. I looked over at Rick and Richard, and they were both in the zone. Levon's vocal was strong and authentic, and he did the yodel section at the end of the song with a grit I'd never heard before. Okay. This was it, I let go of the rope and never looked down.

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