By Alan Crandall
Editor of RockyMountainJams.com
Some say The Band was the best band ever. Many of my age group (older) considers Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz to be the greatest rock and roll concert movie ever filmed. The movie is one of my favorites. The film is ranked by viewers with 8 out of ten stars on imdb.com. The now legendary concert was filmed and performed on Thanksgiving Day at Winterland in 1976. Billed as the farewell show for The Band, the concert promoted and organized by Bill Graham, was a grand event. All 5000 of the San Francisco Winterland’s attendees were served a Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Originally The Band was to play the show solo but after a few guests were added to the bill the list of entertainers grew at a terrific rate. Before long you had the long list of: Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Charles and Neil Young set to take the stage.
Now flash forward to 2005 and one of Denver’s premiere jam bands, Polytoxic, had the idea to invite a bunch of their friends to re-enact the legendary concert. They planned for a fun little show and the tickets sold out so fast that it became one of their biggest shows ever. Since then the band has performed the show every year before Thanksgiving offering tribute to the original event.
Polytoxic’s Last Waltz Revisited show featuring the Denver Horns at the Boulder Theater was an amazing event showcasing artists from many different bands and types of music. It was so much fun the audience was soaking up every joy filled moment by dancing and singing along with the long famous rock and roll ballads. Many of the performers were not only in character of the performer they were covering but they dressed the part too.
Boulder Theater’s back stage was buzzing with energy and the artful way the organizers staged one guest performer after another was to be admired. I am now hooked and plan to make this show part of my Thanksgiving tradition. If you missed Friday’s performance you have another chance this Wednesday at the Ogden Theater in Denver. I recommend it.