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During his opening guitar solo in "Further On Up the Road", Eric Clapton's guitar strap came off. To compensate while he fixed it, Robbie Robertson spontaneously played a brief solo of his own.
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The infamous cocaine drop hanging from Neil Young's left nostril was airbrushed out by Martin Scorsese.
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Every camera but one ran out of film during Muddy Waters' performance of "Mannish Boy." It resulted in the longest shot of the film, while Martin Scorsese scrambled to get the film cans reloaded.
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Bob Dylan decided he didn't want to be in the film 15 minutes before he was due on stage. He didn't want it to compete with "Renaldo and Clara (1978)," which was still in theaters. Bill Graham, owner of the Winterland, intervened, and Dylan relented. He would only allow the last two songs of his performance to be filmed.
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The opening song of the film "Don't Do It" was actually the final encore of the concert. It is also a Marvin Gaye cover.
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Levon Helm states in "This Wheel's On Fire" that Garth Hudson appears so eccentric in his oddly woozy interview because Martin Scorsese showed up to interview him, unannounced, at 6:00 am.
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The Band's management had overbooked the show. Two days before the show, they tried to have Muddy Waters taken off the bill. Levon Helm, The Band's drummer, threatened not to play the show if Muddy Waters was asked to leave. Muddy Waters is in the final cut of the film.
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During the performance of the song "Mystery Train", performed with Paul Butterfield, the stage lights blew out, leaving only one spotlight to light the stage. When Neil Young performs "Helpless", Joni Mitchell is singing background vocals from a microphone backstage.
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Before filming started, audience members at the Berkley Orchestra venue were treated to Thanksgiving dinner and dancing. Robbie Robertson recalled in his memoir "Testimony" that one of the shows organizers said it took 200 turkeys to feed the crowd of at least 1,000 people.
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Levon Helm was very upset that Neil Diamond got a song in the film while he was trying to get two songs on film of Muddy Waters.
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Robbie Robertson's Stratocaster was bronzed for the concert.
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Shot on Thanksgiving 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, Ca.
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The stage decorations were borrowed from a stage performance of "Gone With The Wind" being done at another local San Francisco theater.
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After the concert, Martin Scorsese and Robbie Robertson moved in together in a house in Laurel Canyon, CA. It was here that most of the post-production editing happened without the help of most of the other members of The Band.
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When Brian De Palma viewed a rough cut of the film, he suggested to Martin Scorsese that he should either include more interviews with the singers or remove them from the film.
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To outward appearances, this appears to be a regularly filmed concert documentary. In reality, it was meticulously planned with exhaustive storyboards created from a script that was made up of song lyrics.
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Robbie Robertson was impressed by Martin Scorsese's ability to recite the words to the song "Daniel and the Sacred Harp" verbatim.
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According to Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson visited the set because he was friends with some of the singers. Scorsese also said that Nicholson complimented him about Taxi Driver (1976).
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In the interview where Helm and Robertson talk about their first time in New York, Robertson states that they stayed in the Times Square Hotel located on 42 Street. The Times Square Hotel is actually located on W. 43 St between 7th and 8th Avenues. The building has since been renovated into apartments but the lobby and most of the building remains true to its hotel roots and is still named the Times Square.
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Was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, who deemed it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" in 2019.
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The concert was staged on November 25, 1976. Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977. Therefore Robbie Robertson's comment "the road's taken some of the great ones", which ends by mentioning "Elvis" ... must have been added in a post-production interview at least nine months after the concert itself.
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In an interview, Robbie Robertson says the road claims its victims. In 1986, Richard Manuel committed suicide while on tour with a re-formed version of The Band (minus Robertson).
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