'Last Waltz' Plays Sunrise Thanksgiving Day
On Thanksgiving Day, the Sunrise Theater in Southern Pines continues its annual tradition with a free showing of the concert film "The Last Waltz."
Widely acclaimed as the best of all rock-concert documentaries, the film will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, "The Last Waltz" is a chronicle of one important group in rock music of the late 1960s and 1970s and a commentary on those times.
On Thanksgiving Day 1976, at the Winterland Auditorium in San Francisco, rock superstars celebrated the historic farewell performance of The Band after 16 years on the road.
The mostly Canadian rock group played honky-tonks for years before attaining prestige as the backup band for Bob Dylan and Ronnie Hawkins. The Band emerged on its own for a brief moment of fame in the early 1970s.
The music is the star of the film, and it is performed by a rare gathering of important artists.
The Band performs 12 numbers, including "Up on Cripple Creek" and "The Weight." They back up another dozen numbers by famous guests, including Van Morrison, Bob Dylan playing a 20-minute set, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton.
In interviews between songs, members of The Band tell stories about life on the road, coming to the United States from Canada, and how they survived all those years.
As the stories become darker, life on the road and life in The Band appear to be two decades of hard, impossible living.
The cameras show similar images, as Scorsese focuses on the musicians' faces, revealing the physical and emotional costs of their work.
The film "captures the voice of the 1960s counterculture at the very moment it was about to pass from the center stage of American life," wrote William Arnold in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Critics say the magic and the music hold up well.
The film is rated PG and runs 120 minutes.
The historic Sunrise Theater is located at 250 SW Broad St. in Southern Pines.
For more information, call (910) 692-3611 or visit www.sunrisetheater.com.
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