You may have heard The Band’s third full-length album, Stage Fright, but you’ve never heard it like this.
Released in August 1970, Stage Fright features two of the group’s biggest hits, its title track and “The Shape I’m In.” A year later, The Band embarked on their first European tour in five years after a regrettable outing backing Bob Dylan, during which folk fans booed the singer’s electric aspirations. Not sure what to expect, their 1971 European tour proved to be one of The Band’s most successful, as crowds all over the continent displayed frenzied adoration at their shows.
So to celebrate not only a classic album, but also the memory of a landmark tour, The Band has unveiled a 50th anniversary edition of Stage Fright. Its original multi-track masters are presented by Bob Clearmountain in a new stereo mix; guided by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, it’s also reissued in the originally planned song order. The set includes alternate versions of “Strawberry Wine” and “Sleeping,” plus seven unearthed cuts, compiled as Calgary Hotel Recordings, 1970, which capture a late night hotel jam session between Robertson, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel.
The expanded album also offers a wealth of previously unheard recordings from that tour. Presented on a second disc (a simple continuation on the digital release), Live at the Royal Albert Hall, June 1971, bears witness to what was truly a peak performance for a group loved and revered by so many. The 20-song set, originally recorded to a four-track tape machine, has been remixed and remastered for a clearer experience of the electrifying performance, providing fans an opportunity to be transported right back to London, 1971. Hear The Band perform classics from their first three records as well as covers of Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder with the deluxe 50th anniversary edition of Stage Fright.
Photo credit: Norman Seeff