In honor of my having watched The Last Waltz for what may have been the 100th time after happening upon it during a flip of channels this evening, I felt like revisiting this breakthrough analysis, if I do say so myself. Among the thousands of things I love about The Last Waltz is Scorcese’s keen eye for rock porn interplay. Does any other rock film allow for as many voyeuristic views of hot musician-on-musician action?
This post initially appeared 6/18/07.
Surely you know the game Rock, Paper, Scissors. You probably know it better than I do. Scissors cut paper, paper covers rock, rock smashes scissors. Using the following clip from The Last Waltz, I’ll ask you to play a similar game I like to call Licks, Faces, Feel. In this game, feel exposes faces, faces amplify licks, and licks always feel good.*
I’m going to ask you to watch the following performance of “Further On Up the Road”, featuring a guitar dual between Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson of The Band, and I’m going to ask you to analyze this video clip, at first, at least three ways:
- With the sound OFF and your eyes fixed on the screen
- With the sound ON and your eyes fixed on the screen
- With the sound ON and your eyes closed
To keep a fresh perspective, I suggest getting up and walking around for a few minutes between each initial round of analysis.
While analyzing the video with the sound OFF and your eyes fixed on the screen, note the points at which one guitarist outshines the other in terms of his use of rock soloing faces.
While analyzing the video with the sound ON and your eyes fixed on the screen, note the points when one guitarist’s licks clearly outshine those of his opponent.
While analyzing the video with the sound ON and your eyes closed, make note of the points at which one guitarist’s feel is hitting on all cylinders.
Finally, watch the video again with the sound on. Spread your notes in front of you and assess the points at which one guitarist’s move is countered, either simultaneously or in the following solo, by another move. For instance, see if there are points at which one guitarist’s licks are countered by the other man’s faces (advantage faces). Or, perhaps, you will see a segment in which one man’s faces are exposed as cheap ploys by the other man’s feel. Or, of course, one man’s fine sense of feel will be negated by the other man’s impeccable licks. There may be times in the performance when the artists reach a draw.
Keep score and report your scores to the Hall!
*Please note that Clapton and Robertson are controlled for both Look and Gear.
Mr. Moderator weighs in with his official scoring of the dual. Continue reading »