Robbie Robertson - guitar; Rick Danko - bass; Levon Helm - drums; Richard Manuel - piano; Garth Hudson - organ, keyboards
Initially formed in 1959, the group that would become the Band in 1967 had first worked as backup musicians for Canadian rock legend Ronnie Hawkins, and later, for America's greatest troubadour, Bob Dylan, when he went electric. This recording, made just prior to the original band's Scorcese-documented swansong concert, The Last Waltz, serves as a testament to their incredible musical legacy.
Featuring the classic line up of Robbie Robertson on guitar, Rick Danko on bass, Levon Helm on drums, Richard Manuel on piano and Garth Hudson on organ and keyboards, it's sad to know that these guys will never play together again since both Manuel and Danko have since passed away. This show runs through nearly every great song the Band ever wrote and recorded since their original inception. This concert is remarkably fresh and exciting, especially in light of the fact that the Band was well aware that the end was near; in fact, they play all the more inspired for it.
Highlights include Rick Danko's emotional vocals on "It Makes No Difference" and "This Wheel's On Fire" (co-written with Bob Dylan) and the always compelling "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down," sung by Levon Helm. In retrospect, it's pretty interesting that a Canadian group could so perfectly capture the times and history behind the great American heartland.