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.
everyone in that car late at night with Danko, Jerry, Janis et al. singing "Ain't No More Cane"
and the camera panning the car during the Garica solo.
So far and away beyond epic....and Weir at the end falling into the sofa with his guitar and facial expressions.
Garica hitting on Janis.
I just loved Rick Danko.
Rest in peace you gifted trio of music specialness.
Reminded me of late nights with the crew during our "hayday".
This piece was kinda the gold standard to me, in a great movie.
“The Omnipotent Grateful Dead!”