Newly Surfaced Video Puts You In The Audience At The Band’s Last Waltz
Watch footage shot from the balcony including some songs that weren’t included in the movie.
On Thanksgiving Day 1976 The Band took the stage for a farewell concert featuring guest spots from a number of their musical friends at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s 1978 documentary The Last Waltz, the all-star show wound up as the last time the original The Band lineup — Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel — performed together. Recently, a The Last Waltz attendee shared footage from the event on YouTube that he shot from the balcony at the legendary show 46 years ago.
While the concert featured 50 songs, only 25 were included in The Last Waltz film. A number of the videos posted by fan Leo Buckvold documents tunes that didn’t make it into the movie. Now, bear in mind the quality of the footage isn’t great and both the audio and video has been degraded over the years. However, the clips give a particularly cool perspective on one of the greatest concerts in rock history. Plus, there are already commenters on YouTube looking to sync the footage with high-quality audio. The concert’s promoter, Bill Graham, also captured the concert using black-and-white cameras. Perhaps a supercut is in order?
Buckvold shared the following about his experience and the footage:
When it was announced on Saturday Night Live that The Band was going to play a final concert in San Francisco on Thanksgiving I felt I needed to be there. I called Bill Graham’s office and pleaded for tickets. I scored three tickets at $25 a piece and purchased plane tickets for myself and for my two high school sister-in-laws to help me bring equipment and 32 film cassettes in their purses to the venue. I filmed approximately 90 minutes of the concert and ran out of movie film before I Shall Be Released. At which point I had a Nikon still camera with a 300 mm lens and took shots of the finale. The Last Waltz movie has about 72 minutes of concert material. Sadly the clarity and audio has succumbed to the ages of time. I wish YouTube, internet and transfer services would have been around several decades ago.
A total of 23 clips have been posted on YouTube by Leo Buckvold. Watch nine of the best below starting with four songs that were not included in the movie: