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DVDs I think you should own #10 – The Last Waltz

07/02/2011

In 1976, after sixteen years on the road,  The Band were ready to call it quits. Being men of principles and taste they decided to call it a day in style by staging one final gig, a last waltz, one last gift to their loyal fans and an opportunity to celebrate the great musicians that inspired them and who they admired. What better way to commemorate such a glorious occasion than have Martin Scorsese commit the whole shebang to film?

What follows is almost two hours of wonderful music, interspersed with interviews with the band members about where they’ve been, what they’ve done and almost more importantly, where they intend to go next. Frankly it would have been enough to just have The Band there, playing glorious live versions of their greatest hits but in the grand spirit of the occasion they have brought some friends along.

Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison (in a spectacular purple velour suit no less), Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Muddy Waters, The Staple Singers, Ring Starr, Ron Wood, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield and Ronnie Hawkins all put in appearances and add to the majesty of the event.

The music is spectacular and on the DVD you get it in beautifully remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. The same care and attention has been spent on remastering the film visually and the whole thing is a big, bright, shiny treat. Not so long ago I got the opportunity (thanks to Eden Court) to see it on the big screen at a more or less packed out cinema and it was truly wonderful. All in all it is a fitting tribute to a band of real musicians that absolutely doesn’t ever fail to impress.

There are some people who, if they invented a time machine, would go back and kill Hitler. I would go back to ’76 and go to The Winterland in San Francisco and experience this in the flesh.

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