Guys, I’m concerned. You know how much I hate the phrase “party like rock stars”, but in the last week I have heard the phrase “party like porn stars” used by two separate people, and if that becomes a Thing I might have to move to the forest and become a forest person because I don’t know how many times in my lifetime I can deal with someone saying that to me before I snap.
Q. Does it mean a lot to you to put some more distance between you and your greatest rivals with this title? ROGER
FEDERER: That’s the smallest part, to be honest. For me it’s all about
the comeback, about an epic match with Rafa again. Doing it here in
Australia, that I’m so thankful to Peter Carter and Tony Roche, and just
people… I guess my popularity here, their support, that I can still
do it at my age after not having won a slam for almost five years.
That’s what I see. The last problem is the slam count. Honestly, it doesn’t matter.
Q. Had you ever envisioned winning a Grand Slam on a challenge? ROGER
FEDERER: Yeah, I guess I’ve been there before at some point. I can’t
tell you which finals or – not a finals maybe, but some matches end
this way. So we’ve seen it before.
I mean, you have to challenge
it. If you’re Rafa, what other option do you have? Good would have been
if he had gotten there, played the lob, and then challenged. Then it’s
at least replay the point, isn’t it?
Of course, it’s slightly
awkward to win this way. Nevertheless, emotions poured out of me. I was
incredibly happy, as you can imagine. Then, of course, I was also seeing
my entire support team, Mirka, everybody else going bananas. It was
I knew from that point on, like, I actually did really win. That was a great feeling.
Winning 18 would have been special regardless of where you had done it.
Can you tell us how special it is doing it here in Australia. ROGER
FEDERER: Like you said, I think it would have been special regardless
of where it was going to be. Look, this is a tournament I’ve not missed.
I’ve not missed the French. I’ve missed the US Open last year. This is
the one I guess that is my most consistent slam potentially.
all started for me here. I played the quallies here in ‘99, the juniors
in '98. Won my first match maybe against Michael Chang here back in
2000. I go way back. Always loved coming here, you know.
win down here, the journey home is not a problem. When you lose, it’s
just brutal. That’s why I feel very fortunate tonight.
After the semifinal you touched upon the fact that you might have tensed
up a little in the final set. How were you able to focus coming from a
break down? ROGER FEDERER: I told myself to play free.
That’s what we discussed with Ivan and Severin before the matches. You
play the ball, you don’t play the opponent. Be free in your head, be
free in your shots, go for it. The brave will be rewarded here. I didn’t
want to go down just making shots, seeing forehands rain down on me
from Rafa. I think it was the right decision at the right time.
had opportunities early on in the fifth, as well, to get back on even
terms. I could have been left disappointed there and accepted that fact.
I kept on fighting. I kept on believing, like I did all match long
today, that there was a possibility I could win this match.
think that’s what made me play my best tennis at the very end the match,
which was actually surprising to me. I went through a little bit of a
lull in the fourth and the beginning of the fifth set.
Q. I assume it’s fair to say he’s your greatest rival. What does it mean to win this against him? ROGER
FEDERER: We go furthest back, you know. Novak also has been one of my
biggest rivals. So have Roddick and Hewitt. I don’t like to leave
anybody out, to be honest. But I’m sure I’ve left a couple out. They
know who they are.
But Rafa definitely has been very particular in
my career. I think he made me a better player. Him and a couple more
players have done the most to do that to me because the way his game
stacks up with me, it’s a tricky one. I’ve said that openly. It remains
for me the ultimate challenge to play against him. So it’s definitely
I said that also before the finals: if I were to win
against Rafa, it would be super special and very sweet because I
haven’t beaten him in a Grand Slam final for a long, long time now. Last
time I guess was 2007 at Wimbledon in a five-setter. Now I was able to
do it again.
We’re both on a comeback. Like I said on the court,
it would have been nice for both of us to win, but there’s no draws in
tennis. It’s brutal sometimes.
He should be happy. I would have
been happy again to be in the finals, like I said on the court. I think
this one will take more time to sink in. When I go back to Switzerland,
I’ll think, Wow.
The magnitude of this match is going to feel
different. I can’t compare this one to any other one except for maybe
the French Open in '09. I waited for the French Open, I tried, I fought.
I tried again and failed. Eventually I made it. This feels similar,
Q. Millions of people across the world saw this
match. This tournament has been so wonderful with you, Rafa, Venus,
Serena. Do you see this as a kind of celebration of spirit? In some
uncertain times now, an event like this can help people and pick
people’s spirits up. ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I don’t know to
what extent. At the end of the day, it remains sports. But sports is a
powerful tool. Makes a lot of people happy. They forget about their
sorrows sometimes. Not always, though, clearly.
But I feel like
finals of this magnitude, big Masters 1000s, World Tour Finals, you name
it, they are supposed to be a celebration of tennis. That’s why I think
it’s so nice again, to have Rod Laver out on the podium. For us, I was
expecting Ashley-Cooper. But Rocket’s okay, too, I guess.
at the end, regardless of the outcome of the match, it’s like a Super
Bowl, whatever it is, it is tennis that is at front and center.
happy we were represented that well tonight with Rafa. He’s always
great. That’s why I hope he’s still going to be in the game for a long
time and represent the way he does.
Q. This is your first Grand Slam with Ivan Ljubicic coaching you. What does it mean to you? ROGER
FEDERER: It’s obviously special for the entire team. It was his first
Grand Slam final as a player or as a coach. Obviously he was nervous all
day. I tried to calm him down (smiling). The same thing with my physio,
too. I think I can sense that this is not something that he’s seen so
many times. Where Severin, he was totally relaxed about it.
beautiful for all of us. I know how happy they are because they are more
than just a coach or a physio or whatever. They’re all my friends. So
we spent a lot of time, you know, talking about am I going to get back
to 100%, and if I did, what would it require to win a Grand Slam.
Now we made it. We’re going to be partying like rock stars tonight. I can tell you that.
Q. The medical timeout, there were some quite adverse comments about that. ROGER FEDERER: What is 'adverse comments’?
Critical comments. I think Pat Cash said it was legalized cheating. Can
you tell us what was going on there, what the reason was. ROGER
FEDERER: Look, I mean, I explained myself a couple of days ago after
the Stan match. Yeah, my leg has been hurting me since the Rubin match. I
was happy that I was able to navigate through the pain. For some reason
against Stan I had it from the start on both sides of the groin.
he took a medical timeout, I thought I could also take one for a change
and see if actually something like a massage during the match is
actually going to help me. It did a little bit potentially. I’m not
And then today after probably – well, I felt my quad midway
through the second set already, and the groin started to hurt midway
through the third set. I just told myself, The rules are there that you
can use them. I also think we shouldn’t be using these rules or abusing
the system. I think I’ve led the way for 20 years.
So I think to
be critical there is exaggerating. I’m the last guy to call a medical
timeout. So I don’t know what he’s talking about.
Q. We know you’ve been asked about retirement for about 10 years now. ROGER FEDERER: Seven.
Your comment on the court where you said, If I’m back next year, it
does invite some comment on that. How much should we read into what you
said there? ROGER FEDERER: I mean, this is all about, you
know, knowing that I have only so much tennis left in me. If I do get
injured, you know, maybe if I miss next year. Who knows what happens.
it was just a way… You never know when your next Grand Slam is going
to be, if ever. You never know if you’re going to have an opportunity at
this stage, I felt I could thank so many people at once. It’s a live
audience. It’s a moment for me to be appreciative of them.
mean, look, I’ve had a tough year last year. Three five-setters are not
going to help. I just meant it the way I meant it. There wasn’t
something planned behind it, that this is my last Australian Open. I
hope can I come back, of course. That’s my hope right now.
Q. You touched on it before briefly. How does Roger Federer at your age celebrate tonight? ROGER
FEDERER: I’m a bit more experienced about it. You know, I just don’t
show up and look for something. We’ve organized a party. The good thing
is always to have enough people around to make a party. I have a lot of
friends over here now. Made a lot of friends also locally. Then also a
lot of people have just been on this trip for some time now. So we’re
going to be about, I don’t know, 20, 30, 40 people depending. It’s
better to party in a big bunch than all alone with one glass of
champagne. I’m sure it’s going to be good fun.
I liked the days
when we had the day finals, like 2004, so it wouldn’t would be almost
2:00. I still have doping to do. I have a bit of pressure to get that
I’m shaking I literally had to make a noise complaint because my neighbor thinks its cool to have all the doors open on his SUV blaring ‘party like a rock star’ on full blast for an hour. I told him to turn it down and it lasted until I was back inside. Then the house started to rumble again. Asshole.
I HATE confrontation of any sort, but I hate when people are massively inconsiderate even more. It’s bad enough my other neighbor has the loudest motorcycle on god’s green fucking earth and drives it home at 2 am.
It starts quiet, with Martin Scorsese’s introduction to San Francisco, a brief journey through the streets surrounding the Winterland Ballroom, where on Thanksgiving Day 1977, The Band played their “final” performance. Various incarnations of The Band recorded and toured through the 1990’s, but this was the last time all five original members would play together, joined by a roster of superstar guests. This was the big show, and the movie became a big deal, but watching it thirty-some years after the action, it’s most interesting as a commentary-free observation of a group of guys going their separate ways, still united by rock ‘n’ roll. It all starts with the journey to the venue, a director-driven ride around the corner. We see members of the audience, briefly. We see the venue sign with its burnt-out bulbs. We go inside and meet The Band.
“You’re still there, huh?”
The first song we hear is the encore – the end is the beginning is the end. “We’re gonna do one last song, that’s it,” says Robbie Robertson. He seems indifferent to the audience, a little annoyed that they’ve stuck around so long. Scorsese doesn’t care about them, either; if not for the establishing crowd shot and some background cheers and applause, we might think they didn’t exist. In a way, Scorsese is the only audience for the show. When Robertson asked him to shoot the Band’s “final” concert, he was just a fan, and it’s evident in how the show is shot: tight close-ups of the performance, deep in the action, with no regard for the ballroom full of ticket holders. This is how every fan wants to feel at a great show: like they are the ones enjoying it the most, like the music is happening especially for them. There’s no room for the thrill of the crowd in Scorsese’s vision of The Band. There’s only room for being caught up and carried somewhere by a song.
“You know what happens when you have too much fun.”
One fun game to play during a viewing of The Last Waltz is, What Drug(s) Is the Current Speaker On? The answer is probably cocaine. Another fun game to play during a viewing of The Last Waltz is, Which Song Is Going to Make You Cry? The answer is probably Neil Young’s “Helpless,” particularly when a clear soprano comes in on the chorus you’re not sure who it is until you see Joni Mitchell in silhouette, harmonizing from backstage. Neil Young knows a thing or two about cocaine; Scorsese famously edited a visible rock out of his nostril, but if you look hard enough, you can tell it’s there. Party like a rock star. Party like a film director, too; Scorsese was partaking in the same substances as the band throughout filming, and beyond. A couple years after The Last Waltz, he made Raging Bull, and Robert DeNiro helped him kick the habit. According to most accounts of the time, Marty was in a bad way when his favorite band asked him to film their final show. Still, Scorcese points to The Last Waltz as the most fun he ever had making a film, and we believe him, because of how lovingly he frames the songs.
“It’s not like it used to be.”
The Last Waltz is a farewell to an era, as much as a band, and that finality casts a wake-like pallor on the proceedings. We know what happened to these people after the cameras went away. We know that Richard Manuel, strung out and rambling onscreen, went on to commit suicide at 46. We know that Danko died of a heart attack while on tour with a reconfigured Band. We know that Levon Helm hates this movie, didn’t want it made, and doesn’t care for its legacy. We know that Marty and Robbie are still good friends, Robbie is still contributing to Martin Scorsese Films, and The Last Waltz captures their nascent partnership in a way that sometimes seems to cast aside the rest of The Band. This is all on Wikipedia, but before you find it there, you will see it in the film, in how people talk at and past each other, how everyone looks just a little (or a lot) burnt out.
None of these tensions are directly addressed; Scorcese rightly focuses on the songs. It’s easy to get caught up in a particular look between Robertson and Danko, a particular strain in Levon Helm’s voice, the particular way Bob Dylan’s enormous hat and bad attitude commandeer the stage. But then a sweet guitar solo lifts us out of the intrigue, and we’re left with only that sound and the players on stage, where Scorsese holds us to remind us what really matters.
“We wanted it to be more than a concert. We wanted it to be a celebration.”
Watching the personalities on film, it’s sometimes hard to spot the celebration. In one of several awkward interviews, The Band recalls their “glory days” of meeting women on the road, shoplifting for meals, playing their first show in New York City (“New York was an adult portion,” says Levon Helm), and it’s all tinged with a bit of regret, a bit of what have we done with our lives? But counter the tension, the visible fatigue, with their performances on stage. Counter the questions (and answers) about what happens to these people after the 80’s arrived and America’s musical taste changed, with the way they play it out.
It has to come back to the music. When Garth Hudson sidles in with his saxophone on “It Makes No Difference.” When Van Morrison yelps turn on that radio! and we get caught up in the swell of the crowd. When Levon gets to yodelin’ at the end of “Up on Cripple Creek,” and Robbie and Rick just grin. These are the moments where it doesn’t matter what went on before and after the The Last Waltz, where viewing feels like dancing and Scorsese’s fandom shines a light on the rest of us and brings us right in to the songs. And what songs they are. What a band. What a show.
Elisabeth Geier is a writer living in Montana. She thinks Rick Danko is the dreamiest, but Levon Helm is the overall best.
Party like a rock Party like a rockstar Party like a rock Party like a rockstar Party like a rock Party like a rockstar Party like a rockstar
I’m on a money making mission But I party like a rockstar Flyin’ down 20 lookin’ good in my hot car You know them hoes be at my show Worried ‘bout where my chain go I uh rubba in ma pants But these hoes won’t let my thang go
I uwa like I uwa 'Cause you know them hoes be trying us Hoe don’t you know I fuck with fine diamonds That look like Pa-me-la They fine and they hot bra When I’m in the spot bra…… I PARTY LIKE a ROCKSTAAARRR!!!!!!
Party like a rockstar Do it with the black and the white Like a cop car Whoop, whoop, whoop, wha, whoop Me and my band, man On the yacht with Marylin Manson Getting a tan man Uuwaaa
(Cool) you know me With a skull belt and wallet chain Shop boys, rockstars Yeah, we 'bout to change the game Change the game? Uh oh They know that I’m a star I make it rain from the center of my guitar
As soon as I came out the womb My momma knew a star was born Now I’m on the golf course Trippin’ with the Osbournes I seen the show with Travis Barker Rockstar mentality I’m jumping in the crowd Just to see if they would carry me
White bitches wanna marry me They see me they just might panic My ice make 'em go down quick Like the TITANIC!! Yeah, I’m with the shop boys You know what we do I’m surfin’ screamin’ kowabonga TOTALLY DUDE!!