The Band’s Robbie Robertson left the world today. He was a true legend, and along with Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman and Bernie Leadon, a man who could probably claim to have laid the foundations for country rock. The Band’s rootsy sound and image was completely out of step with the psychedelic scene in which they first found fame, but Robertson’s songwriting – along with that of bandmates Rick Danko and Richard Manuel – had a timeless quality that will outlive everyone. His songs had heart, and often a massive sense of narrative, and his gift for a great melody carried right through a career spanning several decades.
Some of Robertson’s most enduring performances come from The Band’s ‘Last Waltz’ concert movie – a film fans have seen time and again. In terms of historical importance, it often feels like a gift that keeps giving, but here’s something a little different. Presented below is approximately three quarters of the legendary gig, captured in raw footage by cameras not belonging to Scorsese’s film crew. The footage is rough, but features a number of songs that didn’t make the movie’s final cut. It isn’t always smooth viewing, but seeing different bits of something so familiar is a reward in itself.
Goodbye, Robbie. You will be missed, but all the time we have The Last Waltz and your fine catalogue of songs, you won’t be forgotten.