Legendary soul singer Mavis Staples was joined by Arcade Fire’s Win Butler during her recent performance at San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival for an inspired version of The Band’s smash hit “The Weight.”
In the time since Staples performed a guest vocal on “The Weight” in The Last Waltz, The Band’s influential 1978 concert film directed by Martin Scorsese, she has taken to reworking it into a variety of live performances with other famous musicians (among them Elvis Costello and Billy Bragg), claiming in the process her own piece of the song’s legacy.
Though in theory Staples’ down-home soul style seems at odds with the Arcade Fire frontman’s immaculate art-pop, the performance itself was remarkably cohesive and faithful to the original song’s arrangement, highlighted by a vocal duet between Staples and Butler.
This is not the first time Staples has called renewed attention to her part in “The Weight”’s history: Earlier this summer she performed the song alongside Colin Meloy of The Decemberists.
Watch her performance with Win Butler here: