Release Date: Sep 17, 2013
Record label: Capitol
Genre(s): Singer/Songwriter, Folk-Rock, Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Rock & Roll, Country-Rock, Psychedelic/Garage
In these days of near-instantaneous, shit-sounding YouTube bootlegs, it's hard to recall how great live recordings can be. Rock of Ages is indeed a great live recording – in his 1972 Rolling Stone review, included in this reissue, Ralph J. Gleason called it a "classic" straight out of the gate, ranking alongside "sacred" in-concert LPs like Mingus at Monterey.
Live at the Academy of Music 1971 revisits the four-night residency The Band played leading up to New Year’s Eve of that year. Some of this material was originally released on the 1972 live set Rock of Ages, but more on that in a minute. First, let us revisit something that happened five years after these shows: The Last Waltz. The Band’s star-studded farewell show, as captured by Martin Scorsese, has gone down as one of, if not the best, concert films of all time.
In terms of live albums, 1978’s The Last Waltz may have the breathtaking roll call of special guests and accompanying Scorsese rockumentary, but those in the know cherish Rock Of Ages as a document of The Band’s extraordinary powers as a live act. Recorded over a four-night stint at New York’s Academy Of Music, the 1972 album captured The Band in their fluid, intuitive pomp. The first two discs here are basically a sonically refreshed reconfiguration of the 2001 reissue, plus a storming Strawberry Wine.
Not so much an expansion of 1972's classic double-live album Rock of Ages, but an exhaustive tribute to its source material, the four-CD/one-DVD 2013 box set Live at the Academy of Music 1971 digs deep into the Band's year-end four-night stint at New York City's Academy of Music. The original 18-track sequence for the 1972 LP has been abandoned in favor of a double-concert construct, where the first two discs present one version of each of the 29 songs the Band played over the course of these four nights, while the final two discs present the entirety of the New Years Eve concert that capped off this residency; this CD is remixed from the soundboard tapes, and the DVD replicates this New Years Eve concert (note that there is no footage of the NYE concert, so the music is presented with a selection of stills; nevertheless, there are full clips of the Band performing "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" and "The W. S.