The year is 1976 and The Band is getting ready to call it quits. (For the first time anyway). After what seemed like umpteen years on the road playing in everything from honky-tonk saloons to huge gatherings like Watkins Glen (with the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers) that drew upwards of 600,000 people and being referred to as “Bob Dylan’s back up band, who could blame them? Life on the road and bitter internal squabbles tinged with a dying of the creative process was all it took.

So, on Thanksgiving night they decided to get some old friends together and throw a party for the ages at San Francisco’s infamous Winterland Theater. It was, after all, the place where they first cut their teeth so many years ago. I think I heard somewhere along the line that turkey dinners were supposed to be provided to all those in attendance. I don’t know if that’s true or not but either way, rock history was about to be made.

How’s this for a list of performers?

  • Bob Dylan
  • Neil Young
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Van Morrison
  • Eric Clapton
  • Dr. John
  • Muddy Waters
  • Ringo Starr
  • Paul Butterfield
  • Emmylou Harris
  • Ronnie Hawkins
  • Neil Diamond
  • Ron Wood
  • Bobby Charles
  • The Staple Singers
  • The horn section was led by one Allen Toussaint and Martin Scorsese was there to capture the goings on on film for posterity (and later a movies) sake.

    Now, you can call me an old fart and such but that’s quite a gathering of talent on one stage. Here’s what they played…

    1. Theme From The Last Waltz (with Orchestra)
    2. Up On Cripple Creek - The Band
    3. The Shape I'm In - The Band
    4. It Makes No Difference - The Band
    5. Who Do You Love - Ronnie Hawkins
    6. Life Is A Carnival The Band
    7. Such A Night Dr. John
    8. Down South In New OrleansDr.John
    9. Mystery Train - The Band
    10. Mannish Boy – Muddy Waters
    11. Stagefright - The Band
    12. Further On Up The Road – Eric Clapton
    13. Ophelia – The Band
    14. Helpless – Neil Young
    15. CoyoteJoni Mitchell
    16. Dry Your Eyes – Neil Diamond
    17. Tura Lura Lura - Van Morrison
    18. Caravan – Van Morrison
    19. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - The Band
    20. Baby Let Me Follow You Down – Bob Dylan
    21. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) – Bob Dylan
    22. Forever Young – Bob Dylan
    23. Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Reprise) – Bob Dylan
    24. I Shall Be Released - (Everybody)
    25. The Well – The Band
    26. Evangeline – The Band with Emmylou Harris
    27. Out Of The Blue – The Band
    28. The Weight - The Band with the Staple Singers
    29. The Last Waltz Refrain - Orchestra
    30. Theme From The Last Waltz – Orchestra

    If you haven’t seen the movie, you should, Scorsese captures the concert in a way that I’ve never seen one captured on film before. The interviews are pretty revealing and he even manages to get a shot at famed promoter Billy Graham lurking off to the side of the stage as the performance goes on.

    A huge ten on the borgometer.