March 31, 2011
By Phil Gallo, Los Angeles
Robbie Robertson, who has performed only one concert in the last 35 years, has no intentions of taking to concert stages after making his first television performance in more than a decade on April 5-6.
"I made a movie saying I'm gonna put the road behind me," he told Billboard.biz, referring to "The Last Waltz," a chronicle of the Band's final concert, held in November 1976. "How about I'm the only person who kept their word."
In the 35 years since Robertson played his last show with the Band, his lone full-length concert was a show in Sicily related to his Native American music project.
"There are no festival gigs planned," Robertson's manager, Jared Levine, wrote to Billboard in an e-mail late Thursday.
Robertson's TV appearances are to support "How to Become Clairvoyant," his first album in nearly 14 years. Robertson will perform "He Don't Live Here No More" on the "Late Show with David Letterman" on the April 5 and do the same on "The View" the next day. Members of Dawes have been tapped to back Robertson.
After the television appearances were announced rumors floated around the Internet that Robertson was considering festival performances.
"Having spent so much time on the road, traveling at an early age, it didn't take a long time to feel like a veteran," Robertson says. "When we got to 'The Last Waltz,' I felt there's not much more I can learn from this. I feel like (if I toured) I would be in the same play every night for the rest of my life. I admire those old road dogs, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan. That's their life. I try to do other stuff that I don't know how to do."
"Some of my favorite music of all time, whether it be (classical pianist) Glenn Gould, Harry Nilsson, the Beatles or 'Pet Sounds,' none of it was made to be played live. Record making is an extraordinary experience. I like to work on records when I feel inspired, not because it's expected of me."