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The Last Waltz DVD Audio

[cover art]

DVDs and DVD Audio discs are the rage nowadays. Being a Band devotee, I had to purchase the DVD Audio version of The Last Waltz. For those who own the 4 disc bootleg, the 4 disc box set and the DVD of the movie you might ask yourself "Is it worth it?"  Yes it is, even if you all of the aforementioned material. Remember: you'll need a DVD player for this. And to appreciate the full potential of the disc, a six speaker setup. I was thoroughly happy with the 4 disc box set. But this DVD Audio disc lays waste to the 4 disc set in terms of sonic quality.

The Last Waltz in 5.1 surround sound is damn near cathartic!  The "Theme From The Last Waltz" sounds downright symphonic to my ears. The "concert" portion of the disc is a revelation. On "Cripple Creek", you can differentiate Rick, Richard and Levon during the chorus. The audio gives the feeling of being onstage. Doubtless, the highlight for me is Robbie and Garth alternating solos during the final moments of "It makes No Difference". And Garth's accordion during "Down South In New Orleans" which sounded buried previously, now shines. A nice selection of pictures and other goodies can be viewed as well. Ok, the whole damned thing is great! Enough superlatives from me.

If nothing else, this release demonstrates that The Band were a distinct, unique and versatile group of musicians whom we'll never see the likes of again. And despite the circumstances surrounding this concert, they still played one hell of a show! And what better way to hear it?!

I only hope that time will recall more Band albums in this format.

--Mike Despeghel, December 2002

The Band makes its debut on DVD audio with this release, which is worth owning even if you like the four-CD box from Rhino (assuming you have the DVD equipment to play it on, natch). Condensed down from the box and featuring a six-channel surround-sound mix prepared by Robbie Robertson as well as Dolby digital stereo, it's a separate entity unto itself, with characteristics that separate it from the Rhino box and the Warner Bros. DVD release of the film. Actually, the Last Waltz DVD audio is a 30-track monster on playback, with the instruments given an up-close-and-personal presence that was scarcely hinted at on the old double CD or the original triple album, and can't be replicated on the simple 16-bit stereo playback of the CD box. The in-your-face guitar and keyboard sound on "Up on Cripple Creek" and "The Shape I'm In" herald a piercing, potent listening experience, and even the relatively plain Dolby digital stereo track for DVD video players is an absolute revelation -- Robertson's guitar solo and Garth Hudson's sax solo on "It Makes No Difference" sound better than any live performance has a right to, and the pounding rhythm section and organ, coupled with Ronnie Hawkins' boisterous lead vocals on "Who Do You Love," could be a lease-breaker if played as loud as it should be after 11 p.m. in some apartment buildings. The surround-sound mix on "Down South in New Orleans," featuring Bobby Charles and Dr. John, is also worth the price of admission, putting the listener right in the middle of five singers, a pair of guitars, and Hudson's accordion solo. The whole disc is pretty much a total- immersion experience in the concert and the players, the only flaw being the lack of a visible time or track readout on the screen or the player's control panel, but that may be a byproduct of the sheer amount of material jammed into this release. However, there is a wide array of images from the performance visible on the screen, for those who access the on-screen display.

--Bruce Eder, All-Music Guide


  1. Theme From The Last Waltz (with Orchestra)

    The Concert

  2. Up On Cripple Creek
  3. The Shape I'm In
  4. It Makes No Difference
  5. Who Do You Love
  6. Life Is A Carnival
  7. Such A Night
  8. Down South In New Orleans
  9. Mystery Train
  10. Mannish Boy
  11. Stagefright
  12. Further On Up The Road
  13. Ophelia
  14. Helpless
  15. Coyote
  16. Dry Your Eyes
  17. Tura Lura Lural
  18. Caravan
  19. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  20. Baby Let Me Follow You Down
  21. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
  22. Forever Young
  23. Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Reprise)
  24. I Shall Be Released

    The Last Waltz Suite

  25. The Well
  26. Evangeline
  27. Out Of The Blue
  28. The Weight
  29. The Last Waltz Refrain
  30. Theme From The Last Waltz
The Band - The Last Waltz DVD Audio - 2002- DVA Rhino 78260/ Warner Music Vision

Multi- channel surround sound (48 khz/24 bit) - DVD-Audio players
Advanced Resolution Stereo (48 khz / 24 bit) - DVD-Audio players
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound - DVD-Video players
Photo gallery - all DVD players
Song lyrics - all DVD players
5.1 Remix produced by Robbie Robertson
Photo gallery with 125 images

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