Nov 15, 2023 - Things to Do

Annual showing of "The Last Waltz" is back at the Belly Up

the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach

Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, California. Photo: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

Sure, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is a classic, but the best Thanksgiving movie is "The Last Waltz" — the Martin Scorsese documentary of The Band's final concert.

Driving the news: Chest Fever, a San Diego-based The Band cover group, is back for its annual "The Last Waltz" show.

  • After a year at the Magnolia in El Cajon, it's back at Belly Up in Solana Beach this year, on Sunday, Nov. 26 for $35.

Why it matters: It's an opportunity to celebrate the musical legacy of one of the most influential bands ever, while showcasing some of San Diego's best musicians.

  • Or if you're not into all that, it's just a night of rocking music at a great venue.

Zoom out: The Band invited their friends, influences, heroes and collaborators to San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom to help say goodbye on Thanksgiving night of 1976.

  • Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Emmylous Harris, Van Morrison, the Staples Singers, Dr. John and Neil Diamond made it an all-timer, and the film that documents it is a staple of best-ever lists.

Zoom in: Chest Fever follows the same set-up, bringing some of southern California's best musicians to fill the roles from the 1976 concert. This year's lineup:

  • Marc Ford: The former lead guitarist of the Black Crowes is back, after years of stepping into Clapton's role (he hasn't broken a guitar strap mid-solo, though).
  • Bryan Barbarin: Lead singer of San Diego soul group The Routine, has stood in for both Van Morrison and Dr. John.
  • Jerry Raney: A San Diego music legend and co-founding guitarist of local cult favorite the Beat Farmers.

What we're watching: Last year's show at the Magnolia in El Cajon was good, but couldn't match the energy from previous versions at Belly Up. We're glad it's back home.


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