Friday 18 August 2023

Name all the members of The Band

In some anti-misandrist corners of the internet there's the idea that men receive so few compliments in their life that they pretty much remember every single one. I don't know how true that is, but I was complimented in about 2012 and I still remember it. At the time I took playing the electric guitar quite seriously and I was OK at it (nothing special, good enough that I would occasionally get paid, good enough that people would sometimes dance at a wedding or a birthday party).

A good friend of mine said about my playing "You sound like Robbie Robertson". The compliment is doubly moving because the guy who said it really could play electric guitar, and Robbie Robertson played in a way that I very much admire – an absolute virtuoso and incredibly versatile but he played nothing too showy or self indulgent and pretty much never played a note that didn't need to be there.

Anyway Robbie Robertson died last week at the ago of 80 and you should go and watch The Last Waltz. It's the best film that's every been made about live music. The Band had decided to retire, the show was so sold out that tickets were rarer than unicorns, the list of guests who played with them on stage that night is an absolute Who's Who of the music world. Martin Scorsese filmed it and did a couple of interviews, and there was some very professional sound recording. There's nothing else to it!

If you go and watch it – which you should. You'll hear about 90 minutes of live music with not a single mistake, loss of tempo, bum note, or in fact anything at all to criticise. You can hear and see Robbie Robertson play perfectly for Neil Young in the style that the song requires, and then transition to playing with Eric Clapton, in the style of Eric Clapton, only rather better (I kid you not)

Richard "farewell" B

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