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Festival Express [Import]
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The vintage concert footage alone makes Festival Express a memorable and worthwhile endeavor, offering scintillating performances by Janis Joplin, the Band (their rollicking version of "Slippin' and Slidin'" is particularly mind-blowing), the Grateful Dead, Buddy Guy, and others (remember Mashmakhan?). In 1970, during the heyday of the rock festival, promoter Ken Walker decided to organize a traveling musical revue, bringing the mountain to Mohammed, as it were. In five days' time, the festival played in three Canadian cities with the entire conglomeration traveling, playing, and getting smashed together the whole way. Nearly as rewarding as the live performances are the candid scenes of the train ride itself, an endless jam session and party during which musicians of all shapes and sizes let their hair down--musically and otherwise. The contemporary interviews with Walker and some of the surviving musicians aren't particularly noteworthy, except as a way to prove that it all actually happened. Walker comes off as a hero in the film: he treated the musicians like royalty and insisted that the train roll on even though he was losing his shirt. (His financial failure is a large reason why this material stayed in the vaults for so long.) Perhaps the most remarkable scene is an off-the-cuff, LSD-fueled train jam featuring Joplin, the Band's Rick Danko, and the Dead's Jerry Garcia playing the old chestnut "Ain't No More Cane." Danko is so obliterated that even Janis has to ask him if he's OK--when Janis is worried about your state of mind, you must be pretty messed up. --Marc Greilsamer
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Top Customer Reviews
Hard to believe it's nearly 35 years since the Festival Express rambled across the country but I am very grateful to Ken Walker for putting it together in the first place and, secondly, to all the people who worked for years to finally bring this footage out of the film cans it languished in for decades.
Bravo and Thank-you Very, Very Much!
The sound and video quality is extremely well preserved.
Keeping in mind that this 3 day trip happened over the Canada Day holiday weekend in 1970, Janis died on October 4th of that year. Janis shows off her awesome talent while touring with the Grateful Dead, The Band and others. I highly recommend this dvd for anyone who remembers what it was like to be a Canadian hippy in 1970.
The energy and feeling flows from the synergy created by these rock & roll greats in this movie, right into the viewer!
What a gem!
Most recent customer reviews
Very cool look into a cross Canada train ride with some amazing musicians. How they were able to get the rail time is also cool. Read morePublished 3 months ago by @violentshadows
Cds are as advertised and received on time. This is a great music video that brings a person back to the day. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Mark S
This film I bought as a gift for a relative, and I happen to know that they loved it. It came to me very fast and was brand new.Published on June 6 2013 by 123schipperke
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