There is a word of sage advice at the very beginning of The Last Waltz: “This film should be played loud.”
The Martin Scorcese movie documented the Band‘s final five-man show on Nov. 25, 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. They’d established themselves as one of America’s premier groups over 15 years of music making — first as the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins, then Bob Dylan, then through their own catalog of albums. But their future now was uncertain.
Guitarist Robbie Robertson, bassist/vocalist Rick Danko, drummer/vocalist Levon Helm, multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson and keyboard player/vocalist Richard Manuel initially intended The Last Waltz only as their final concert. But when Robertson booked some studio time shortly afterward, the others didn’t turn up.
They certainly went out with a bang. Scorsese’s film, which premiered a couple of years later, emphasized the excitement of this farewell show, which included guest appearances from Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Ronnie Wood and many more.
Here’s a look back at how each of the Last Waltz guests have fared since that fateful evening in San Francisco.
‘The Last Waltz’: Where Are They Now?
Here’s what the cast of one of rock’s best concert films has been up to since.
Odd Couples: Bob Dylan and Michael Bolton