What can I say? 90 minutes was way too short.
When was the last time you went to a movie and no one, no one left the theater until the credits were definitely all done.
Sure, it was a self selected crowd but any serious fan of late ’60s early ’70s music must see this. Oh, and any serious fan of rock, blues, folk, etc., will not want to miss this film. Oh yea, if you are a fan of Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead or The Band then you should go see Festival Express now.
I have money waiting for the extended version DVD.
And I have money waiting for the rest of the video material. This is some of the best concert video I have seen (and I have seen a bunch). It is raw, powerful, and it was like being face to face and mind to mind with the performers.
The Grateful Dead perform a beautiful New Speedway Boogie and the great shots of Pigpen blowin’ his harp will make any Deadhead want more.
The oddest scenes in the film came from the GD material. At Toronto, the first stop, during Don’t Ease Me In there are camera sweeps of the crowd showing nearly everyone sitting on their butts as if they were at the symphony. Those of you that have been to GD/Dead shows over the years know that this does not happen. Well, maybe sometimes during drumz/space. It was quite a jarring scene.
The Band’s performances of The Weight and I Shall be Released are very powerful. You could tell that they meant and felt every note and every word.
No words for Janis are worthy. Cry Baby and Tell Mama well simply knock you on your ass. Go ahead, try to get back up. She’ll just knock you down again. Worth triple the price of admission all by themselves.
Oh yea, the rest of the movie was great fun as well. I’d love to have a DVD just of jamming scenes from the train. The unscheduled stop in Saskatoon to replenish party fluids is a kick. And the side story about all the Canadian kids wanting to get in free is worth expanding a bit.
Update (9/2): The DVD with 50 additional minutes will be released November 2.