On Thanksgiving Day 1976, The Band took the stage for the very last time at the Winterland Theatre in San Francisco. The concert, aptly billed as The Last Waltz, has become one of the most revered performances of all time.
For the show, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, and Robbie Robertson were joined by an all-star group of music pioneers, including Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, and Neil Young, among others.
The evening was captured on film by director Martin Scorsese. Released theatrically in April 1978 to critical acclaim, The Last Waltz is still considered by many to be the greatest concert film ever made.
Forty years later, Rhino is issuing four new 40th Anniversary Editions of The Last Waltz, including the pairing of the audio and video for the first time. All formats will be available November 11 except the Collector's Edition, which will be available December 9. Each edition breaks down as follows:
40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (4-CD/Blu-Ray, $64.98) - Complete audio from the concert, including rehearsals and outtakes, plus The Last Waltz film on Blu-ray Disc.
40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Vinyl (6-LP, $119.98) - Complete audio from the concert, including rehearsals and outtakes, pressed on 180-gram vinyl for the first time and presented in an ornate lift-top box.
40th Anniversary Collector's Edition (4-CD/2-Blu-ray, $259.98) - Limited to 2,500 copies, this version includes:
- Complete audio from the concert
- The Last Waltz film on Blu-ray Disc
- Second Blu-ray Disc including a rarely seen interview from the 1990s with Martin Scorsese and Robbie Robertson, photo gallery, and 5.1 audio mix of the original album
- 300-page book, bound in red faux-leather with a full replication of Scorsese's shooting script, rare and previously unseen photos, set sketches, three foldout storyboards, and a foreword by Scorsese
Available as a 4-CD/Blu-ray Disc set and -- for the first time -- on vinyl as a 6-LP set, the 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the original soundtrack has 54 tracks, including the entire concert, as well as rehearsals and outtakes. Among the rarities are performances not featured in the film, such as "Furry Sings The Blues" with Joni Mitchell and "All Our Past Times" with Eric Clapton, plus rehearsals for "Caravan" with Van Morrison, "Such A Night" with Dr. John, and "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)," a song that was not performed in concert. The CD version also includes newly-penned liner notes revered music journalists David Fricke and Ben Fong-Torres along with a classic essay from 1977 written by iconic author Emmett Grogan.
The 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition, limited to 2,500 copies worldwide, includes a replication of Scorsese's original shooting script. Once the film was complete, Scorsese had two copies of the script bound in a red leather book; one copy for himself and the other a gift to Robbie Robertson, which now resides at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Collector's Edition also includes a foreword by Scorsese and an essay from screenwriter Mardik Martin.
Robertson will be busy during The Last Waltz 40th anniversary. On November 15, he will release Testimony (Crown Archetype), a new memoir in which he finally tells his own spellbinding story of the band that changed music history, his extraordinary personal journey, and his creative friendships with some of the greatest artists of the last half-century. Robertson will also release a new musical anthology of the same name on UMe on November 11. The 18-track collection, curated by Robertson to be a deft complement to the memoir, features a mix of live and studio tracks spanning his entire career.