The Band’s farewell concert, The Last Waltz, will be released as a four-CD box set on April 16th, to coincide with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the landmark concert and subsequent Martin Scorsese-directed film. The box set, which was remixed by Band songwriter/guitarist Robbie Robertson, includes the thirty songs from the original soundtrack, as well as twenty-four unreleased performances, including the Band’s rehearsals with Van Morrison and Dr. John.
The release is part of a celebration that will also include a short theatrical run for the film, starting on April 5th in San Francisco, where the concert originally took place. The Last Waltz will open in New York City on April 10th, Los Angeles on April 12th, and Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle, Washington and Toronto on April 19th. Robertson oversaw the film’s reissue, which has been digitally remixed and remastered in 5.1 stereo surround sound. A premiere will also be held at New York’s landmark Ziegfeld Theater on April 10th; the theater was the first to show the movie twenty-five years ago.
On May 7th, MGM Home Entertainment will release a special edition DVD of the film, featuring new interviews with Scorsese and Robertson. Also included will be some previously unreleased footage including performances by the Band, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Ron Wood, Ringo Starr, Dr. John and Paul Butterfield. Two full-length running commentaries are also on the DVD: Robertson and Scorsese provide a shot-by-shot audio commentary on the film, and the other surviving Band members, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm, discuss the songs and the concert.
“What’s really interesting is to look back and see what a historic event and extraordinary musical collaboration it was,” Robertson told Rolling Stone last year. “The fact that it actually happened is a phenomenon.”
Robertson will kick off the anniversary festivities next week at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin. In addition to serving as the conference’s keynote speaker, he will preview material from the DVD and the box set.