Jimmy Fallon’s five-year stint as host of Late Night will most likely be remembered for the music. Other late-night talkers relegated musical performances to the final segment after most everyone had already flipped the channel. Fallon, on the other hand, put music front and center. The show became a popular destinations for musicians of all genres and sizes, from Springsteen to Disclosure, Timberlake to Tyler the Creator, who were no doubt enticed by Fallon’s school-boy fandom, the opportunity to play alongside The Roots, and even the chance to dabble in a comedy skit. (You’ll probably never look at Springsteen the same way again after watching him sing “Whip My Hair”).
So how would Fallon cap off his final episode as host of Late Night? Maybe reunite the Talking Heads, or have Springsteen and Neil Young take part in an all-star superjam? No, not quite. Fallon himself took the stage alongside The Muppets to perform a cover of The Band’s “The Weight”. It was a bittersweet moment and no doubt led to a few tears among staff and audience members, especially when Fallon got up from the kit and made his way down the hall to The Tonight Show set.
So, what’s next? Fallon will take over as host of The Tonight Show beginning February 17th and in a new interview with Billboard, he spoke about what viewers can expect. Most importantly, Fallon maintained that the show’s musical bookings will not change. “Expect Odd Future to come back to our show,” he explained. “We’ll still be as electric as we were when we finished Late Night. We just have the opportunity to get more people.”
Questlove said they’ll also still be opportunities for musicians to sit in with The Roots, as Justin Vernon did earlier this month. “This isn’t a stepchild position — you’re featured and talked about in the first six minutes of the show.” Questlove also revealed the possibility of “plugging in” the band’s rehearsal space for web-video exclusives. “If I only had a camera running when ‘Weird Al’ [Yankovic] was here,” he said. “That would’ve been magical.”
As for The Roots themselves, Questlove said the band is adding horn players from Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, “to give the Roots a more classic sound,” according to Billboard. Billboard also noted how “Questlove would like to take full advantage of the reported $5 million set renovation, which boasts natural-wood walls ‘built so that music actually pops in your face.’”