On Thanksgiving Day 1976 The Band, a roots rock ensemble, came together one last time for a farewell concert at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco. This concert featured a number of guest stars who themselves were heavyweights of the musical world including Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Dr John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and others.
The concert was filmed by Martin Scorsese, a friend of lead guitarist/lyricist Robbie Robertson, and interspersed with interviews with the band the final documentary named The Last Waltz was released in 1978 to critical acclaim.
Last night saw a tribute from Dublin based The Group who recreated a live re-enactment of The Last Waltz with snippets of the interviews between songs.
The audience, having been nicely warmed up by local singer Tony Villiers, a Dylan inspired act, gave The Group an enthusiastic welcome as they launched into an energetic rendition of Don’t Do It. What followed was a night of renditions of many classic The Band songs together with “special guests” who complimented the band well.
Whilst the audience, being of an older generation, were a little more sedate than I am used to and the fact that this is a seated concert, did not detract from the fact that it was evident The Group can entertain the crowd. The Group provided a fitting tribute to one of the seminal concert films of all time and it is of no surprise that they have been active for quite a number of years.
The music itself may not necessarily be to everyone’s taste but The Group do it well and this variety is the beauty of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival – something for everyone.
1st – 11th May 2014 – Cathedral Quarter, Belfast