Live at Watkins Glen
[EMI/Capitol sales flyer]
[Charts and ratings]
Recording: Good, considering.
What a Band, what a Band, what a mighty fine Band! This is a loose,
exuberant recording made before an intimate crowd of 600,000 at the Watkins
Glen "Summer Jam" on July 28 1973, where the Band performed during a de
rigueur upstate New York rock-festival thunderstorm. The CD was drawn from
the "most complete available tape" of the event, which makes me regret the
loss of the rest of the set, as the 45 minutes here are marvelous indeed.
At the time of Watkins Glen, the Band was coming out of a period of
hibernation, having laid off the road while working on their covers album,
Moondog Matinee. They sound feisty and full of sass on this hot July day,
anteing up a juking set of jams, cover tunes, a new original (the fatalistic
"Endless Highway", which prefigured their disbanding), and some old
favorites. The covers are revelatory, from Rick Danko's soulful reading of
the Four Tops' "Loving You Is Sweater Than Ever" to the group's high-
spirited stab at Chuck Berry's "Back to Memphis" to a shaggy ramble through
Bob Dylan's salty "Basement Tapes"-era tossoff, "Don't Ya Tell Henry". The
group chemistry is amazing: Robbie Robertson's steely, jabbing guitar, Garth
Hudson's ornate keyboard sorcery, Levon Helm's joyfully musical drum
thumping, Danko's bopping bass lines, Richard Manuel's rich piano chording.
This previously lost concert seems, in hindsight, to have been a high point
for the Band, whose playing is informed with both a casual humor and a
reckless energy lacking in The Last Waltz.
This is how the Band should
--Parke Puterbaugh, "Stereo Review", Aug. 1995, p. 73
Several of the tracks on Live at Watkins Glen are probably from other shows, see
Pat Brennan's article for details.
Live at Watkins Glen - The Band - 1994 - (45 min.) - Capitol 31742
Liner notes by Chris Morris.
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