“Live at the Academy of Music 1971”: The Band’s “Rock of Ages” Shows Expanded

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4CD+DVD Collection Builds on The Band’s ‘Rock Of Ages’ Concerts, Unearthing Much More From the Acclaimed Shows in New Stereo and 5.1 Surround Mixes. Though. Available Sept. 17.

During the final week of 1971, The Band played four legendary concerts at New York City’s Academy Of Music, ushering in the New Year with electrifying performances, including new horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint and a surprise guest appearance by Bob Dylan for a New Year’s Eve encore.  Select highlights from the concerts were compiled for The Band’s classic 1972 double LP, Rock Of Ages, which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and remains a core album in the trailblazing group’s storied Capitol Records catalog.

 For the first time, all four of the concerts’ multi-track recordings have been revisited for Live At The Academy Of Music 1971, a new 4CD+DVD collection to be released September 17 by Capitol/UMe. Collectors have long prized bootleg versions of the event, but this is the first time that an extensive OFFICIAL version has appeared.

 The expansive new collection features new stereo and 5.1 Surround mixes, including 19 previously unreleased performances and newly discovered footage of two songs filmed by Howard Alk and Murray Lerner.  Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 takes a deep dive into The Band’s historic shows for a definitive document of the pioneering group’s stage prowess at the apex of their career.  On the same date, the collection’s first two discs will also be released as a 2CD set.

 Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 is presented in a deluxe, 48-page hardbound book with previously unseen photos, a reproduction of Rolling Stone’s original Rock Of Ages review by magazine co-founder Ralph J. Gleason, an essay by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, and appreciations of The Band and the set’s recordings by Mumford & Sons and Jim James of My Morning Jacket.  The collection’s first two discs feature performances of every song played over the course of the four concerts, and the New Year’s Eve soundboard mix on discs 3 and 4 puts the listener in the room for that entire legendary night: Uncut, unedited, taken straight from the master recordings and presented in full for the first time.  The set’s DVD presents the tracks from discs 1 and 2 in 5.1 Surround, plus Alk and Lerner’s filmed performances of “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)” and “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show.”

 Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 is produced by Robbie Robertson, with co-producers Michael Murphy and Matt D’Amico.  The stereo mixes for the first two discs and the DVD’s 5.1 Surround mix were done by Bob Clearmountain, with the stereo mixes for discs 3 and 4 helmed by Sebastian Robertson and Jon Castelli, assisted by Ryan Nasci.  The collection was mastered by Patricia Sullivan at Bernie Grundman Mastering.  The concerts were originally recorded by Phil Ramone with Mark Harman.

 Of the set’s complete New Year’s Eve recording, Robertson says, “This is like being there.  It was the final night; there was a thrill in the air.  We were excited about New Year’s Eve, and then Dylan joined us for the encore.  When he came out, we thought we could wing it, and wing it we did.  We thought, ‘We’re not gonna fall off this wire.’  That whole night had a bit of magic to it.”

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