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Fotogalerie van Jan-Maarten Goedkoop

The Weight
The Weight
03/22/2020
'The Weight'  The Band

"Catch a cannon ball now to take me down the line"

In 1976 ging ik naar Amerika om deel te nemen aan de Bikecentennial, een fietstocht van kust naar kust door het achterland van de Verenigde Staten. De aanleiding hiervoor was de viering van het tweehonderd jarig bestaan van de USA op de 4e juli van 1976. Doel van de tocht was om de deelnemers bewust te maken van de geschiedenis en het platteland van hun vaderland. In datzelfde jaar en met dezelfde intentie ging The Band op tour. In een documentaire over de totstandkoming van hun tweede album leggen Levon Helm en Robbie Robertson jaren later uit, dat ze het geluid probeerden vast te leggen van een Amerika dat er niet meer was. Het Amerika van de spoorwegen die waren verdwenen. Ik wist niets van die tournee van The Band in 1976 en zij wisten al helemaal niets van mijn tocht. Als ik in San Francisco niet bij toeval deze twee jonge wildebrassen tegen was gekomen, dan had ik The Band nooit live zien spelen.
Na mijn tocht zag ik in 1978 The Last Waltz in de bioscoop. Ik ging er zelfs een paar keer naar toe. Op dat moment was ik ervan overtuigd dat The Last Waltz het einde betekende van The Band en van haar leden als muzikant. Ik koesterde mijn LP's en de herinnering aan Santa Cruz. Totdat ik op een dag al die clipjes op Youtube begon te ontdekken. Ik zag reünieconcerten en solo optredens van Rick Danko en Richard Manuel. Ik vond Ramble's van Levon Helm. En ik ging lezen in 'This Wheel's on Fire' van Levon. Ik raakte geïnteresseerd in de achtergronden van The Last Waltz en in die van de laatste tournee, die van 1976.
Op een gegeven moment kwam het samen. De Last Waltz en mijn fietstocht. Was het toeval geweest, of had het zo moeten lopen? Toen ik mijn tocht voorbereidde gaf ik hem als motto mee: 'Meet the Future'. Nu na al die jaren en nieuwe inzichten beschrijf ik het liever als: een ongelofelijk verhaal over een fietstocht van kust naar kust door de USA. Het verhaal over een reis door de muziek van mensen als Bob Dylan, The Band, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Gene Clark en vele anderen. Een verhaal over het achterland van de Verenigde Staten.

Op 20 juli 1976 speelde The Band een van hun laatste concerten Live At Casino Arena (Asbury Park, NJ)
Een maand later, 20 augustus 1976, zag ik ze spelen in het Civic Auditorium in Santa Cruz CA, nadat ik de Bikecentennial-tour Coast to Coast in de Verenigde Staten had afgerond. Hoe had ik kunnen weten dat het een van hun laatste concerten zou zijn? Hoe had ik kunnen weten dat ik met mijn fiets door het land reed terwijl The Band tegelijkertijd hun laatste tour maakte? Ik had ze op 3 juli 1976 in Lexington KY gemist, maar net voordat ik naar Europa terugkeerde, kreeg ik ze in Californië te zien. Het voelt nog steeds alsof het gisteren is gebeurd.
Aan het einde van het concert had ik heimwee. Waarom?
Het was waarschijnlijk dit laatste couplet van The Weight dat me had verteld:
"Catch a cannon ball now to take me down the line
My bag is sinkin' low and I do believe it's time
To get back to Miss Fanny, you know she's the only one
Who sent me here with her regards for everyone"
Dus bracht ik 72 uur non-stop door in die Greyhoundbus van Frisco naar New York en haalde mijn vliegtuig en landde in Brussel. Ik had My Masterpiece geschilderd.
Bedankt Levon, Rick, Richard, Garth en Robbie!
Zie meer bij: 'E-books', 'USA Bikecentennial 1976' en 'The Band' in 'Contouren'. Spoiler: In 'Goedkoop door Amerika' is ook het antwoord te vinden op de vraag waarom op het Greyhound ticket New York - San Francisco staat en niet San Francisco - New York.

In 1976 I went to the USA to participate in the Bikecentennial, the bicycle tour coast to coast through the backcountry of the USA. This all because of 200 years USA on the 4th of July. It was all about showing the participants the other side of the USA, the history, the country. The same year The Band would do their bicentennial tour with the same intention. In a documentary about the making of their second album (many years later), Robertson and Helm, speaking separately, talk about how they wanted to recapture the sound of an America that had long since disappeared along with the railroad. But I didn't know about their tour, neither did they about mine. If I hadn't met these blokes in San Francisco to go out for a ride, I would never had seen The Band ever live.
After this trip of mine I went to see The Last Waltz in the local cinema in 1978. I even did that several times in a row that week. At the time I thought this was the definite end of The Band and I never heard of them again for many years. It was Robbie Robertson who had convinced me about the fact it would be over forever. I cherished my vinyl discs and the fact that I had seen them live in Santa Cruz. Until one day I found these clips on Youtube. Clips of the reunion of The Band and of solo gigs by Rick Danko and Richard Manuel. I learned about The Ramble's of Levon. And I started to get interested again in the history of The Band. So only in 2011 I discovered This Wheel's on Fire by Levon Helm and I found out among other things, about the story behind The Last Waltz and about the bicentennial tour 1976 of The Band.
That was the moment it all came together. Had this all been coincidence, or should it have been that way? Anyway, when I prepared my trip my motive had been "Meet The Future", but after all these years and discoveries I describe it now as: An incredible story about a coast-to-coast bicycle tour through the USA. The story, the photographs, the nightmares, the maps. About Lazy Louie, about Harlan County, Bob Dylan and Motor Psycho Nightmare. About the Navajo's, the desert and the Grand Canyon. About The Last Waltz and The Band. A journey into the music of people like Gram Parsons and Gene Clark and into the backcountry of the USA.

On the 20th of july 1976 The Band played one of their last concerts Live At Casino Arena (Asbury Park, NJ)
A month later, the 20th of august 1976, I saw them play in the Civic Auditorium in Santa Cruz CA, after having finished the Bikecentennial tour Coast to Coast across the USA. How could I have known it would be one of their last concerts all together? How could I have known that I rode my bicycle across the counrty while The Band was making their last tour at the same time? I missed them in Lexington KY on the 3rd of july 1976, but just before returning to Europe I got to see them in California. It still feels as if it happened yesterday.
At the end of the concert I felt homesick. Why?
It was probably this last verse of The Weight that had told me:
"Catch a cannon ball now to take me down the line
My bag is sinkin' low and I do believe it's time
To get back to Miss Fanny, you know she's the only one
Who sent me here with her regards for everyone"
So I spent 72 hours nonstop on that Greyhoundbus from Frisco to New York and got my plane and landed in Bruxelles. I had painted 'My Masterpiece'.
Thanks Levon, Rick, Richard, Garth and Robbie!
See more at: 'E-books', 'USA Bikecentennial 1976' and 'The Band' in 'Contouren'.
Spoiler: In 'Cheap Through the States' you will find the answer on the question why the Greyhound ticket says New York - San Francisco instead of San Francisco New York.

Zie ook The Band deskundige Peter Viney over 'The Weight'.

'The Weight'  The Band (Live at The Casino Arena NJ July 20th 1976)

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' about half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand, "no" was all he said

Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

I picked up my bag, I went lookin' for a place to hide
When I saw Carmen and the Devil walkin' side by side
I said, "Hey, Carmen, come on let's go downtown"
She said, "I gotta go but my friend can stick around"

Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

Go down, Miss Moses, there's nothin' you can say
It's just ol' Luke and Luke's waitin' on the Judgment Day
"Well, Luke, my friend, what about young Anna Lee?"
He said, "Do me a favor, son, won'tcha stay and keep Anna Lee company?"

Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

Crazy Chester followed me and he caught me in the fog
He said, "I will fix your rack if you'll take Jack, my dog"
I said, "Wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man"
He said, "That's okay, boy, won't you feed him when you can"

Yeah, take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

Catch a cannon ball now to take me down the line
My bag is sinkin' low and I do believe it's time
To get back to Miss Fanny, you know she's the only one
Who sent me here with her regards for everyone

Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)