The Band – The Last Waltz Box Set (2002)

2002 saw a four disc box set re-issue of the classic 1976 farewell concert by The Band, The Last Waltz, a re-issue that saw the inclusion of twenty-four previously unreleased tracks. This re-issue is far superior to the original release of this amazing moment in rock history, and is largely a complete representation of the concert with the tracks presented in the order they were originally performed barring a couple of emissions. The definite highlight of this re-release is the tracks that were emitted from the original album, a move that I find puzzling and cannot work out as the quality on some of these tracks is immense. Standouts among these extra tracks include a live version of “The Weight” which is as good as any version I have heard, Muddy Waters performing “Caldonia”, “Acadian Driftwood” featuring Joni Mitchell and Neil Young on backing vocals, and a stellar version of “W.S. Walcott’s Medicine Show” complete with horns and a brilliant sax solo by Garth Hudson. The boxed set which is nicely laid out and presented also contains a seventy-eight page booklet that does a nice job in telling the story of the concert in great detail, while at the same time giving a bit of context to the listening experience. The presence of these extra tracks definitely enhances on, and improves The Last Waltz as a listening experience, and this box set is well worth getting just to have such quality live versions of some of The Bands best tracks. A definite must have for music fans and collectors, of what was one of the greatest live music events in modern memory.
– Sam

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