Robbie Robertson of The Band is apparently working on an expanded version of the group’s double live album, “Rock Of Ages,” recorded at New York’s Academy Of Music during the final days of 1971. There is some debate as to the performance dates of the material included, but The Band’s shows from December 28 through 31, in addition to soundchecks, were all reportedly professionally recorded.
The following message was posted on Robertson’s Facebook page yesterday afternoon:
At Eric Clapton's Crossroads Concert in N.Y.C. I did the song “I Shall Be Released” which The Band recorded on our first album. I told the audience it was in remembrance of some dear old friends. Most people knew I was referring to Levon (who passed away one year ago today), Rick and Richard.
We are mixing and putting together a deluxe edition of The Band's album Rock Of Ages -- Live At The Academy Of Music. Hearing my Bandmates perform at the top of their game is so moving and powerful.
I miss those days and miss them so much.
Thank God, Garth is still with us and making beautiful music. -Robbie
The December, 1971, shows featured a horn section in the second half, with arrangements by Allen Toussaint. Bob Dylan made a rare appearance, after midnight, at the New Year’s Eve gig.
“Rock Of Ages” was originally released as a 2 LP set in 1972, then reissued in various permutations over the next three decades. In 2001, the album was reissued on CD with a second disc of ten previously unreleased performances, including Dylan’s four song set. "Smoke Signal," from the December 28 show, was included in the 2005 box set, “A Musical History.”
At this point, it is unclear what is being included, or if Dylan’s set will again be included. When the Byrds’ 1990 box set was updated and reconfigured as “There Is A Season” in 2006, the live material with Dylan was not included.
You can view Robertson’s performance at Clapton's Crossroad's gig below.
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