Palladia, you made my day, vastly improved my week, and cemented your position as the greatest TV network ever tonight. You are showing — back to back — Hard Rock Calling 2012 and that fabulous concert film by The Band, The Last Waltz.
Hard Rock is a 2.5-hour version of the music festival in Hyde Park, London, last June. The performances are not shown in setlist order but edited to one or two songs per band in rotation. Several songs of Bruce Springsteen were shown at various points and the film ended with Paul McCartney joining Bruce and the E Street Band for “I Saw Her Standing There” and a rousing version of “Twist and Shout,” which ended the festival. And took place just before Live Nation (not the London police) famously shut down the concert because it was past curfew.
The Last Waltz was the final performance of The Band at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco in November 1976, directed by Martin Scorsese. For me, the highlight of this film is always seeing the late Levon Helm in his prime, singing and drumming. His voice was powerful and betrayed a bit of his Southern background. (Helm continued performing — and drumming — until his death last April.) The other band members, by the way — Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson — were all Canadians.
Not only is The Band in fine form, but they are joined throughout the concert by various special guests — Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Dr John, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris and the Staples Singers, among others.
Hearing The Band and Levon perform “Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Weight,” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” tonight really was soul-satisfying.
Palladia, by the way, is an HD network owned by MTV. Look for it on your cable system. If you love rock and roll like I do, it will make you very happy.