Essential Listening: The Band – And Then There Were Four – FM Broadcast, Chicago 1984

 And Then There Were Four - FM Broadcast, Chicago 1984 (CD)(CD)

This superb live recording, taken from an FM radio broadcast of The Band playing at the Mandel Hall duringtheir first re-union tour following the group’s split in 1976, subsequent to their Last Waltz concert - wasnothing short of a roaring success despite the absence of Robbie Robertson.

The ‘other four’ however were hungry to get back on the road and did just that in July 1983; this CD is anexcellent illustration of what went down during these initial re-union gigs. In truth, this same quartet hadperformed on a stage together since the ‘Waltz’, but it was at a show billed a Rick Danko gig at L.A.'s Roxyclub in March 1978. That, however, was the only occasion until ‘83 that the four-piece played together,although there were occasions which had featured the members in pairs or trios - Danko with Helm, Dankowith Manuel and Hudson etc.

Playing largely the old classics and a few covers, there was one song not previously performed by TheBand, in the shape of Rick Danko’s ‘Java Blues’. The energy and ambience of the night however was clearlyelectric and the audience appears to have been in raptures. This version of The Band was a relatively shortlivedunit though, as following a gig by the same line-up in Florida in 1986, Richard Manuel was tragicallyfound dead in his motel room. Aged just 42, his death was put down to suicide, which most insiders believewas due to Richard’s by then both chronic and acute alcohol dependency.

1. Up On Cripple Creek  05:45
2. The Shape I'm In    04:15
3. It Makes No Difference  06:13
4. Milk Cow Boogie  03:47
5. Mystery Train     04:25
6. King Harvest  [Has Surely Come] 03:43
7. Java Blues  04:57
8. I Shall Be Released 03:24
9. Rag Mama Rag   04:29
10. Long Black Veil 05:09
11. Rock & Roll Shoes 04:30
12. The Weight  05:39
13. Ophelia   03:45