30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Nothing short of an outstanding performance,
This review is from: The Last Waltz (Audio CD)
Well - if you're going to go, go out with a bang! The Band sure did. A thanksgiving concert spanning five hours, playing their last song as a quintet in a beautifully decorated hall, infront of 5000 adoring fans.... at 2:00 in the morning. Prior to this 4-disc set, all you had was the film and the 2CD soundtrack (unless you were *very* lucky to grab the limited edition "Complete Waltz" bootleg set) so, after 25 years, you now get the works.
Firstly, this is no "repackage it, slap on a bonus track and make a quick buck" set. All the material was digitally re-mastered by Robbie Robertson himself - a significant percentage of which is previously unreleased. The packaging comes in a de-luxe hardback book complete with a full-colour booklet (containing a preface by Robertson) and a money-off coupon that is invalid outside of the US.
Secondly, this is also not a case of "list all the guest stars and let namedropping promote the album". Guest stars like Muddy Waters, Ronnie Hawkins, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell all have a significant connection to The Band and give this set a lot of diversity and coherence.
Finally, there's the most important part: the music. Levon Helm is in fine voice and Robbie Robertson's guitar work is white hot - while Rick, Garth and Richard give the music an unrivalled vibrance. They were loving every minute and making each moment count.
My highlights have to be: "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (Levon singing for all he's worth), "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" (for Dylan, this is totally rockin') and my personal favourite "Arcadian Driftwood".
From here, I strongly suggest watching the movie - at this present moment in time, the DVD is unavailable in the UK but it's well worth importing if you have a multi-region player (failing that, the VHS should suffice). Musically, you may also want to try "Rock of Ages" but definitely go for the "Brown Album" and "Music from Big Pink".