Since it’s Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for the indispensible Wolfgang’s Vault, which has posted the most complete available recording of The Last Waltz, the all-star farewell concert by The Band on Thanksgiving 1976. Whatever qualms you might have about the film — I refer you to Levon Helm’s autobiography This Wheel’s On Fire for a savagely hilarious demolition of former bandmate Robbie Robertson’s self-mythologizing ways — there are moments of supreme beauty and artistry, as when Dylan takes the stage near the end of the proceedings.
Aside from the fact that this is a superb performance of one of Dylan’s greatest songs, what I particularly like about this clip is the way you can see drummer Levon Helm and guitarist Robbie Robertson watching Dylan as the song ends — wondering what he’s going to spring on them next. Helm’s evident enjoyment of Dylan’s unpredictability is there to be seen in the film, in between the closeups of Robertson and his designer scarves.
And, of course, no Thanksgiving is complete without a viewing of this Warner Brothers classic: