Almanac Music: ‘The Weight” (Live at the Royal Albert Hall) – The Band


From the moment I heard ‘The Weight’ from Music from the Big Pink  by The Band in the late 60s I was hooked.


I first became aware of The Band as Bob Dylan’s backing band during his 1966 world tour, had read about them but I had not heard any of their music. When I became aware they were releasing their first album I knew I had to buy it even without having heard any of the songs from the record. In those days on Top 40 radio in Melbourne it was not the sort of music they played on their stations. You had to rely on your instincts at times with your record buying but their association with Bob was good enough for me.


One of my big musical regrets was not seeing The Band perform live in concert. I got close when I was living in London in 1974, I had decided to return home to Melbourne but debated whether to hold off my flight for a couple of weeks so I could go to the The Band concert at Wembley. I punted on The Band eventually touring Australia after I returned, sadly, it was not to be. A version of The Band did tour in the 80s/90s (not certain when) however I decided against going as I felt it was not the same without all the original members.


A few weeks ago as I was out walking and listening to ‘Off the Record’ with Brian Wise, he played the live version of ‘The Weight’ from the 1971 Royal Albert Hall concert which is one of their best live performances IMHO. And, it sounded fantastic through ear buds!


Unfortunately I could not find any live vision of the song performed from that concert but the audio is available below. Play it loud with headphones on for best effect.






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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Anthony W Collins says

    I was mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, when I saw one fellow from Brisbane who was planning on spending the three day lockdown listening to the Ramones. Sounded like a fair idea. You could do worse than listen to the Band for three days.

  2. My fave “band” of all time Col. I must have watched The Last Waltz movie 20x starting in cinema, then video, DVD, now Amazon & Stan streaming. Whispering Pines and Stage Fright are favourite songs because of Manuel and Danko’s amazing (and very different) voices. Tragic ends – the gifted rarely come to terms with their gifts. A true ensemble with great musicianship, vocals and Robbie’s songwriting. Strange that he never wrote much remarkable afterwards – must have needed the energy of the group.
    Great Jason Isbell tribute song “Danko/Manuel”.

  3. Bruce Hay says

    Music From Big Pink?? Takes me back 50 years to the Ritchie house in Ramsey Avenue, Kew listening to music with Col and then watching TV Ringside.
    My first year in Melbourne.
    Great memories.
    Bruce Hay

  4. Just brilliant, Col. This track is a masterpiece.
    What a great band they were. Robertson a genius.

    Have you seen the version with the Rockwiz Band and the Bull sisters? That’s a good one.

  5. Peter Crossing says

    “Someday (it’s) gonna sound like a rhapsody”

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