The Band Plays Barton Hall At Cornell University In 1974


Barton Hall at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York may be best known by our readers as the venue that hosted one of the best Grateful Dead concerts of all-time. Many other performances have taken place at Barton Hall, which according to Wikipedia was built in 1914 and 1915. One notable show that also went down at Barton Hall was a 1974 concert by The Band. While a database of The Band recordings on a long-running fansite doesn’t make mention of any tapes from the group’s visit to Barton Hall, earlier this year an audience recording popped up on YouTube.

Unfortunately only 30 minutes of The Band’s September 4, 1974 performance at Barton Hall has surfaced. Since there’s no record of a full setlist from the evening and due to the historic nature of the concert, the audio has been picked as this week’s Full Show Friday selection. As a reminder, the audio below is an audience recording and is far from a crispy soundboard, yet it does give a feel for what a The Band concert in 1974 sounded like.

Guitarist Robbie Robertson, pianist Richard Manuel, keyboardist Garth Hudson, drummer Levon Helm and bassist Rick Danko were touring in support of Moondog Matinee in the Summer Of 1974. The Band were at the tail end of a North American portion of the tour and would soon cross the Atlantic to join Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for a performance in front of approximately 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in London on September 14, 1974.

The recording begins with an instrumental that leads into “Just Another Whistle Stop” off Stage Fright as well as the title track from the 1970 album. Next, Levon Helm leads the group on “The Weight” before The Band tears into “The Shape I’m In.” Then, Danko heads up a cover of the Motown classic “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever.” Levon also shows his vocal prowess on “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” before the recording ends with “Across The Great Divide.”

Listen to the audio shared by John Philbin:


Set: Instrumental, Just Another Whistle Stop, Stage Fright, The Weight, The Shape I’m In, Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Across The Great Divide