by Carissa Joines
40 years ago, the Band served a Thanksgiving dinner to 5,000 guests and then took the stage for one larger than life concert performance, known as The Last Waltz. Held on Thanksgiving Day 1976, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco and advertised as the Band’s farewell concert appearance, the concert featured the group joined on stage by more than a dozen musical guests.
The entire event was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and was made into a documentary film of the same name, which was released in 1978. The film features performances from the Thanksgiving Day concert and other performances shot on a studio soundstage, and interviews with members of the Band.
The Vagabond Saints Society will be recreating this magical experience just two days after Thanksgiving this year on Saturday, November 26th. While they won’t be serving dinner to 5,000, several dozen people have purchased tickets for a Thanksgiving dinner to be prepared by the folks at Providence Catering. Following the catered meal, those patrons will be joined by an additional crowd to watch the VSS’ performance of the Last Waltz.
Like the Band, who was joined on stage by such musical guests as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, and Muddy Waters, the Vagabond Saints Society* will also be joined on stage by local musicians Jeffrey Dean Foster, Martha Bassett, Mark Kano, the Dan River Girls, Susan Snow, Allison King, Peter May, Brent Bruckner, Patrick Ferguson, Nick & Chobey Badgio, Chuck Dale Smith and others.
Martin Scorsese was not available to assist the VSS with their video production, so Chad Nance of Camel City Dispatch (who will do just about anything) stepped in and has filmed interviews with the core members of the VSS, which will be played during the concert. These intimate interviews will reveal a side of the band never seen before on stage and provide a behind the scenes look at how they work together.
In addition to providing a great evening of classic music, the event’s proceeds will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank and the host venue, SECCA.
Tickets for the dinner/concert combo are nearly sold out, but tickets for the concert are still available. Online sales end Friday, November 25th at 5:30 pm. Any tickets remaining will be available for sale at the door. The concert begins at 8pm. Patrons are invited to come early to SECCA and visit their exhibits, which will be open until 7:30pm. Tickets to the concert are $15, and can be purchased HERE.
*The Vagabond Saints is Jerry Chapman, Doug Davis, Randall Johnson, and Corky McClellan.
Get in the mood – listen to the Last Waltz by the Band: