Saturday, November 24, 2007


"When you awake you will remember ev'rything

you will be hangin' on a string from your...

When you believe, you will relieve the only soul

that you were born with to grow old and never know."

(lyrics from "When You Awake," by Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson, 1969)

(I always heard the words as "you will BELIEVE WITH ALL YOUR SOUL that you were both with to grow old and never know)

Every so often I watch my VHS copy of Martin Scorsese's film, "The Last Waltz." I had forgotten that "The Last Waltz" was filmed on Thanksgiving Day in 1976. Now it seems highly appropriate that I chose to watch that exuberant concert film during this Thanksgiving weekend more than 30 years later.

The Band:
Rick Danko
Levon Helm
Garth Hudson
Richard Manuel
Robbie Robertson

Master of Ceremonies:
Bill Graham

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Michael McClure

Paul Butterfield
Eric Clapton
Neil Diamond
Dr. John
Bob Dylan
Emmylou Harris
Ronnie Hawkins
Joni Mitchell
Van Morrison
The Staples Singers
Ringo Starr
Muddy Waters
Ron Wood
Neil Young

It just occurred to me that "The Last Waltz" took place just a year and a half after the end of the Vietnam War. I can remember, in a clear and visceral way, how profoundly relieved I was when the Vietnam War finally ended. Watching the film, I thought about that short period of time when the United States was not involved in a war.

I was reminded that before my boyfriend was drafted in March of 1969, when we were both 19 years old, he had bought tickets for us and we had driven to San Francisco to see The Band in their debut concert in San Francisco on February 28, 1969. That is one of my many joyful memories of the time we spent together before he was drafted into the Army.

Recent interview with Robbie Robertson

("Morning With Three Suns," gouache and watercolor painting from 1988 by Old Girl Of The North Country)

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