Ed Driscoll

EBERT BURIES THE LAST WALTZ

Roger Ebert buries The Last Waltz,which is being released to theaters as part of its 25th anniversary:

Drugs are possibly involved. Memoirs recalling the filming report that cocaine was everywhere backstage. The overall tenor of the documentary suggests survivors at the ends of their ropes. They dress in dark, cheerless clothes, hide behind beards, hats and shades, pound out rote performances of old hits, don’t seem to smile much at their music or each other. There is the whole pointless road warrior mystique, of hard-living men whose daily duty it is to play music and get wasted. They look tired of it.

What’s interesting is that some musicians seem to be able to handle touring, and take to it instinctively (The Stones in rock, and so many great jazz and blues musicians), whereas others, such as the Band, just seem to let it destroy them.