Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesToday marks the 40th anniversary of The Last Waltz, the concert that marked the final live performance of The Band‘s original lineup — Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson.

Held on Thanksgiving Day 1976 at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, the show featured a jaw-dropping lineup of guest stars that included Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield, Ronnie Wood, and Ringo Starr.

A film documenting the event directed by Martin Scorsese was released in 1978 and is widely considered to be among the finest concert movies ever made. To mark the milestone anniversary, various Last Waltz audio and video packages were released earlier this month, including a Deluxe Edition featuring a Blu-ray version of the movie and an expanded four-CD version of its soundtrack.

Robertson, who lat week released a memoir titled Testimony lthat includes his recollections of the Last Waltz concert, tells ABC Radio he recently had a conversation with a respected music journalist who helped put some perspective on the just how special the event was.

“He said to me, ‘Is it not a phenomenon that in 40 years…nobody has come along and said, “Oh, I see what they did then. Let’s do that, but better. Let’s get more interesting people. Let’s do a better film…Let’s raise the bar,”‘” explains Robertson. “He said, ‘There’s been lots of things done over the years, and terrific stuff as well…but there’s been no Last Waltz.”

As for the special releases coming out to mark the anniversary, Robbie says, “I’m honored that everybody is giving it this kind of respect and praise and everything, and it’s quite a celebration.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.