Musical Tribute to The Band Scheduled for This Weekend
November 17, 2021
Forty-five years ago this month, The Band staged their final concert along with some of their friends, including Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, and a dozen other stars drawn from the ranks of old friends, admirers, and idols. Filmed by Martin Scorsese, the concert became the film The Last Waltz. This Friday and Saturday, November 19-20, audiences can witness highlights from those concerts performed live as part of The Last Best Waltz on the Montana State University—Northern (MSUN) Campus. This music-lovers’ tribute will take place in the MSUN/MAT Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on both nights.
Produced in collaboration with the Little River Institute, KNMC 90.1 FM, MSUN, and Montana Actor’s Theater, The Last Best Waltz will be a musical tribute to The Band. Three regional bands will perform on Friday: Nick Crawford Band, The Cover Band, and Steeds. They will be followed on Saturday by Music From Big Dirt, The Milk River Band, and Counting Coup.
The Last Waltz was a concert by the Canadian-American rock group The Band, held on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Advertised as The Band’s “farewell concert appearance,” The Last Waltz captures the group’s allegedly last performance—certainly their final performance as a quintet (J.R. “Robbie” Robertson, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko, and Levon Helm).
The Band was a group of musicians renowned for their ability to cross music genres, performing ragtime, blues, country, and rock all in a single performance. Members featured in the film are J.R. “Robbie” Robertson, Guitar / Keyboards / Vocals / Engineer; Rick Danko, Bass / Trombone / Violin / Vocals; John Simon, Tuba / Horn / Keyboards / Piano (Electric) / Producer / Engineer; Levon Helm, Bass / Guitar / Mandolin / Drums / Vocals; Garth Hudson, Organ / Piano / Trumpet / Accordion / Keyboards / Saxophone / Sax (Baritone) / Sax (Soprano) / Sax (Tenor) / Clavinet / Slide Trumpet; and Richard Manuel, Harmonica / Piano / Drums / Keyboards / Sax (Baritone) / Vocals.
According to a brief history compiled by Bruce Eder, from approximately 1968 through 1975, “The Band was one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the world. Their music was embraced by critics (and, to a somewhat lesser degree, the public) as seriously as the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Their albums were analyzed and reviewed as intensely as any records by their one-time employer and sometime mentor Bob Dylan. And for a long time, their personalities were as recognizable individually to the casual music public as the members of the Beatles.”
A pair of songs, “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down,” captured the public imagination. The former earned The Band an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on November 2, 1969, and the latter became a popular radio track.
Tickets for this concert tribute are available at mtactors.com.