Most likely Calgary, 7-03-70
Jamming on the train. Rick Danko, Janis, ?, Jerry, Bob Weir.
Apparently, this song was not in the Festival Express DVD.
I got the DVD a few months ago. I love it! The Dead, The Band, Janis, Flying Burrito Bros., Buddy Guy and more. What's not to like? And all the performances are just superb.
And as a train buff, I just love the old pre-VIA Rail CN paint scheme!
The train actually started out of Montreal. They couldn't find a Montreal venue for a show, so they started their first show in Toronto. As a native Montrealer, boy, was I pissed at that news! I remember that whole endeavour, as I was aware of the concert-trip, and followed it in the local music press. Boy was I envious!
I really love Jerry singing "Cold Jordan" on the train.
I have heard that a reporter on the train taught "Me and Bobby McGee" to Bobby and Janis. The rest is history.
"This is but a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago."
Box of Rain
Lyrics by Robert Hunter Music by Phil Lesh
Besides the obvious of the jams in the cars and the live footage of the Dead and Janis, there is the Amazing Buddy Guy. And I love it when there are shots of Jerry in the audience and he is watching Sha Na Na thoroughly enjoying it with his big Jerry smile.
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman-Song of Myself
The DvD is well worth watching
Jer looks like he is having a "Real good Time"
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there was an autograph on the booklet, and I had to think about whose it was before deciphering that it was Ian Tyson's.
Ian and Sylvia, soon to be divorced, were also on this tour, and Sylvia's interviewed fairly extensively. Ian appears fleetingly off to the side of the stage every now and then, which was enough to make me go, OMG, Ian Tyson!
I never got to see Ian and Sylvia live, but luckily got to know their stuff in college and it's in my DNA. And let's just say ol' Ian was a serious hottie. Probably knew it too, but between that voice and his songs (as I recall, "Four Strong Winds" was the first one he wrote, while recovering from rodeo injuries) you gotta give the man his due.
Well, it turns out that pretty much for the last few decades he's had a thriving career in cowboy music, and not long after I got the DVD, he was in town playing the Freight. And, lemme tell you, he may be in his 70s and walk like he's been bucked off a few too many horses, but he's still pretty darn swoonworthy.
I picked up a couple CDs while I was there, but had brought along the DVD just in case, and when it came to autograph time at the end of the show, I presented it. What's this? wondered one of his backup musicians, a beefy young dude named Gordon (both of them were named Gordon. One of the running jokes was that every Canadian child born in the '70s was named after Gordon Lightfoot, including the girls). So I started explaining, and said Ian and Sylvia were in it. "Sylvia's in it, I'm not," sez Ian. I kept explaining the thing to young Gordon, finishing up with "it's kind of hard to explain. It was a different time." "Yeah, it sure was a different time," says Ian.
But he signed it.
Back in 1970, these Canadian would-be promoters hatched the brilliant scheme of chartering a train, filling it up with assorted rock stars, and going across Canada, stopping periodically for a stadium show. Not only would it be big fun, they'd all get rich. And hey, they'd film everything and make a movie and get even richer!
When it came to lining up the talent, these guys had taste. In addition to a number of bands I never heard of, they brought in Janis Joplin, The Band, the New Riders, the GD... the list goes one.
When it came to a few practical considerations, things didn't work out so swell. For one thing, Canadian hippies suddenly got the notion that all music should be free, so ticket sales were lousy and gate-crashing a constant issue. There's a really poignant scene of Jerry remonstrating with the crowd, saying they were going to do a free show-before-the-show, but hey, musicians had to eat too.
Also, since other options were limited, alcohol was consumed in massive quantities by people who weren't entirely used to doing so, and one's viewing of the film is somewhat overshadowed by the thought of the hangover that must surely have followed. There is another incredibly sweet, poignant scene of Rick Danko, Marmaduke, Jerry and Janis Joplin in which they are all completely sloshed except Janis, who's just in her glory. Janis is, in fact, in her glory for the entire movie, with not a hint of tortured soul about her.
There's lots more. But the bottom line is, the promoters ran out of money really early, they stiffed the film guys, and in retaliation the film guys ran off with the film. Thirty years later about a third of it turned up in some garage, after being used as hockey pucks by the camera guy's kids for years. That was used to make the film (and, necessarily, determines what we get to see). The rest of it's still out there someplace, or gone forever.
So this is definitely flawed. But it's also amazing and not to be missed. Can't find a ride like that no more, indeed.