The poignancy of “The Last Waltz” is this: That while all of the major stars present were still producing impressive work, it was, in fact, the twilight of their genius. Only Neil Young, with “Rust Never Sleeps,” would go on to record a reverberating album. The era these acts represent is now a bygone one, however much some would like to think an act like Dylan or Young has relevance today. Still, it’s worth noting that that era did exist — not the ’60s era, precisely, because everyone knows about that — but a slightly faded and braver one. “The Last Waltz” is our best insight to a moment when the giants of the previous decade raged against time, in the shadow of an age that changed them all inalterably.
#1: The film was 24 years old when the review was published;
#2: Now the review itself is 12 years old. A lot has changed: The DVD boom is no more; Salon is a shadow of what it was; fresh Bill Wyman writing is scarce.