Festival Express (DVD) ~ Grateful Dead (actor) Cover Art

Festival Express (DVD)

Grateful Dead (actor), Janis Joplin (actor) and Bob Smeaton (director)


Current Price: $58.99

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Review

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

Release Note

Festival Express is a rousing record of a little-known, but monumental, moment in rock n'' roll history, starring such music legends as Janis Joplin, The Band, and the Grateful Dead. Set in 1970, Festival Express was a multi-band, multi-day extravaganza that captured the spirit and imagination of a generation and a nation. What made it unique was that it was portable; for five days, the bands and performers lived, slept, rehearsed and did countless unmentionable things aboard a customized train that traveled from Toronto, to Calgary, to Winnipeg, with each stop culminating in a mega-concert. The entire experience, both off-stage and on, was filmed but the extensive footage remained locked away -- until now. A momentous achievement in rock film archeology, Festival Express combines this long-lost material with contemporary interviews nearly 35 years after it was first filmed.

DVD Features:
DVD ROM Features
Theatrical Trailer


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