July 19, 2013

The Festival Express Guide

The Festival Express was a short but legendary tour that played three cities in Canada in the summer of 1970. Despite the entire tour being filmed and recorded, very little of the Dead’s performances has come to light. Bits and pieces have become available, but it’s unknown how much more survives. The few parts of the Dead’s shows that are available have often been misdated, and there is not much information on what else was played.

This post lays out all the information we have on the Dead’s shows. The first part is an accurate itinerary for the tour, showing what songs come from where. The second part consists of longer explanatory notes on our sources.

I focused entirely on the Dead's onstage appearances - I haven't looked into the other bands filmed on the tour. Other researchers would have to say which dates the film footage & recordings of the Band and Janis come from.

The story behind the train tour is well-known and won't be repeated here, but for a short overview, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festival_Express
The news articles linked at the bottom also provide more background, including a long Rolling Stone article with some details on the shows.


6/24/70 MONTREAL -
This show was canceled before the tour started. (Fortunately for us, since that meant the Dead could play in Port Chester that day!)

A short clip of an acoustic Dead set from this free show is in the film.
The audio is Friend of the Devil - however, it doesn't match the footage, so it could come from anywhere.

Per Deadlists: “According to Malcolm O'Brien the Dead played a free acoustic set from a flatbed truck, mostly tunes from Workingman's Dead and American Beauty.”

According to newspaper reports, the free park show started at 7 pm and ran til 4 am, with thousands of attendees. Other bands included Ian & Sylvia, James & the Good Brothers, and several local bands.
The Dead were likely the first band to play, starting the show around 7. They would have returned to the stadium by 9.

Garcia's afternoon stage announcement about the free show is in the film.
Nothing from the Dead's stadium show is available. But one audience member states, "I recorded the whole thing on cassette. The Dead's set list that day was as follows: 1) Casey Jones. 2) China Cat Sunflower-I Know You Rider 3) Me and My Uncle 4) Easy Wind 5) Cumberland Blues 6) Turn on Your Lovelight. The set was short due to time constraints."

Per Deadlists: “David Galbraith, an audience member, recalls that NRPS opened and that the Dead's set included Lovelight and Casey Jones.”
Rolling Stone: “A kid came onstage and pointed to each member of the Dead and shouted, ‘You’re all phonies, you and you and you.’”
Toronto Daily Star 6/29/70 review: “The New Riders of the Purple Sage appeared at 9:00 p.m…. The New Riders injected the first signs of life when they started with their country-style almost hoe-down music. The crowd started dancing when they played Honky Tonk Woman, and stayed on their feet through Working Man Blues, I Don't Know You, and Brown-Eyed Handsome Man. Jerry Garcia just stayed on stage when the rest of the New Riders left, and took over with The Grateful Dead. They gave a great foot-stomping, pounding, hour-long set, the audience with them all the way, dancing and singing with the first hint of joy and happiness in the whole long hot day… They left the stand, all sweaty and tired… The Band…seemed anti-climactic after the Grateful Dead.”

The Dead played in the park again, an electric set with the drummers this time. (The New Riders are also said to have played. I don't believe NRPS played in the park the previous day due to limited time.)
No audio is available from this show.

There are a few minutes of silent film footage, though, from film-crew outtakes - the Dead are playing New Speedway Boogie, with Pigpen on harmonica: https://vimeo.com/146999213 (starting at 16:12)

Rolling Stone: “The Dead, Purple Sage, Ian & Sylvia, James & the Good Brothers, and People’s Revolutionary Concert Band played to 4000 kids the first day and 500 the second day.”
Per Deadlists: “According to Malcolm O'Brien this was an all-electric show. Good Lovin' is the only tune he remembers.”
The free show again ran til early morning, but we don’t know when the Dead might have played.

The Dead did not play the stadium again on this day.

Nighttime show.
Easy Wind (DVD, Archive)
Candyman, electric version (Archive)

Deadlists reported back in 2000: “According to Ihor Slabicky a circulating videotape copy of Festival Express footage contains Easy Wind & Candyman.”
(Poor-quality footage is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHbDIBpaDlk - the two songs repeat several times. A duplicate poor-quality Easy Wind is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoJI3vesE0c )

Phil Lesh: “We were expecting more break-ins during the Winnipeg show; thankfully only about one hundred protesters showed up, chanting ‘Make it free’… The show came off with no other incidents as such, except that the crowd was really small.” (Searching for the Sound p.181)
John Einarson: “I remember the Grateful Dead being rather ‘testy’ to say the least. When someone in the crowd shouted something to them I'll never forget Phil Lesh stepping to the mike and replying, ‘Suck my cock, hard rock!’”
Chris Doole: “When the Dead performed ‘Alligator’ it got into this groove where it started to sound like 25 perfectly synchronized locomotives with Garcia’s tasty little trills on top of it all. Everyone's attention was just nailed to it.”
http://www.manitobamusicmuseum.com/festivalexpress.htm (Einarson's long account of the Winnipeg festival)

Einarson also noted that during the Great Speckled Bird set, “Jerry Garcia from the Dead stood onstage and watched the GSB’s steel player Buddy Cage through their whole set.”

There was no show this day. I don't know why this date was reported for a Dead show.
The Calgary festival ran on 7/4 and 7/5. I believe the Dead played on 7/4, but see the notes for a discussion of this.

An afternoon show.
Acoustic: Don't Ease Me In (film)
Acoustic: Candyman, Dire Wolf, Uncle John's Band; “Now the New Riders.” (Taper's Section)
NRPS clip (on youtube, no audio)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUQW3jkHzMI (silent, Garcia up front on pedal steel)
Electric: Me & My Uncle, China>Rider (Taper's Section)
Electric: Hard to Handle (DVD & partial on Archive "7/1/70")
Electric: New Speedway Boogie (film & Taper's Section)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g80Av-2-oTU (low quality)
Electric: Lovelight (Taper's Section & partial clips on youtube)
http://www.dead.net/features/tapers-section/june-30-july-6-2008 (complete)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJhnOq2q3ag (9 minutes of excerpts)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXUbDTPBpKI (a brief snippet from the end of Lovelight, from a different camera – begins with the very end of New Speedway)

(Note: The Taper's Section audio clips are no longer playable. Youtube clips may be deleted/replaced over time.)

(The Lovelight has just recently appeared, and I think it's pretty cool to watch, even though it's just 10 minutes of snippets, and the camera angles are mostly not too great. We get some closeups of the drummers - check out Garcia around 8:00, as the band hits a peak. These shots of Garcia were also used in the Hard to Handle on the film’s bonus DVD.)

An alternate clip of New Speedway Boogie is here: https://www.facebook.com/alan.bershaw/videos/2167217343348094/ (It's in lesser quality with a timecode, but a better copy was taken down from youtube.) It's the same performance footage as used in Festival Express, just a couple minutes longer since the film version was edited down. Bershaw's copy helpfully patches in the audio portion not used in the film.

Per Deadlists: “Howard Mott, who attended this show, remembers the Dead-NRPS show running about 4 hours in all… Eric Andersen [one of the other acts] remarks that Bobby and Phil as well as Jerry took part in the NRPS set… Lovelight was the set closer… It was part of a 2-day festival, with Janis and the Band playing on the [next day].” He recalled several of the songs we now have, though his 4-hour estimate seems like a considerable exaggeration for a shortened festival set (or even for a regular evening). 

Kreutzmann is the only drummer in the acoustic set.
Pigpen plays harmonica in two songs (Don't Ease & New Speedway), neither of them his usual harmonica songs. His keyboard is behind him, but he doesn't play it on any of these songs.
The acoustic set is unremarkable, the electric set much better. China>Rider is very good; Hard to Handle doesn't take off, but Garcia plays a nice snaky solo. The harmonica adds a bluesy feel to New Speedway, and Garcia drops in Nobody's Fault But Mine during his solo.
Lovelight sounds like it comes out of another song (maybe Not Fade Away?) - it's an average version. Pigpen gives his usual raps, for instance: "I wanna tell all you fellas somethin' - I'm gonna talk to the fellas - I know, you may be wonderin' how come you spend your life in a empty bed - tell you what - you may see some young lady sittin' next to you...I tell ya, the first thing you do...is get off your ass and stand up, and take the nearest young lady with you - come on, I see you fellas out there, you're sittin' on your butts...get 'em up, maybe you'll get a little pussy this evenin' - and the next thing you do, you take your hands out of your pockets and do something better with 'em, like make a little noise..." Judging from the film clip, a lot of people were indeed sitting at the start of Lovelight, but Pigpen succeeds in getting everyone up front to stand up & clap.
Overall, this sounds like a fine, typical 1970 show, standard setlist, with the band none the worse for wear after the drunken train parties on the ride to Calgary...

Film director Bob Smeaton: “[Editing the film,] Eddie Kramer was amazed how these guys could party all night and day on the train and still turn in such amazing performances.”
Phil Lesh: “Hangovers notwithstanding, all the bands played really well at that show.” (Searching for the Sound p.184)
Rolling Stone: “Musically, the groups all played better and better as the Festival progressed… At the Calgary Festival, there was an open jam featuring Bonnie & Delaney, Ian & Sylvia, Rick Danko, and Jerry Garcia. This would have been inconceivable at the Toronto Festival.”

Garcia, Kreutzmann & Weir can also be seen in the nighttime jam with Ian & Sylvia doing CC Rider, probably the same day.
Back in 2000 there were already circulating videos of Don’t Ease Me In, New Speedway Boogie, and the CC Rider jam.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mdnk6ptmUU (This clip of the jam is much longer than what is shown in the Festival Express film, but it's in poor quality.)

Ihor Slabicky identified the Great Speckled Bird jam personnel: 
Sylvia Tyson, vocal; Ian Tyson, guitar/vocal; Amos Garrett, guitar; Delaney Bramlett, guitar; Jerry Garcia, guitar; Buddy Cage, pedal steel; unknown, organ; Jim Colegrove, bass; N.D. Smart, drums; Bill Kreutzmann & Bonnie Bramlett, tambourines.
[It's said that on the circulating video, CC Rider is followed by Will the Circle Be Unbroken with Bonnie Bramlett on vocals, but I haven't seen this.]

The Friend of the Devil played in the film’s park scene could be from the Calgary acoustic set.
The end of the film has audio of an acoustic Cold Jordan with the New Riders, which could come from anywhere, but may be from Calgary.

There is a lengthy tape of one of the jam sessions on the train, with several guitarists & pedal steel:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-07-00.aud.miller.106571.flac16 (not mixed very well)

The tracks:
1 - Goin' Down the Road jam
2 - A blues song; the first verse is from T for Texas (Blue Yodel #1) [a Jimmie Rodgers song, also played by NRPS later on], but not sure about the rest of the verses, they may be improvised? (Unknown singer, may be Delaney Bramlett.)
3 - Honky Tonk Women jam
4 - jam (probably based on a known song)
5 - Sugar Magnolia jam (must be Weir on guitar), crossed with Pick a Bale of Cotton (unknown vocals)
There seem to be lots of guitarists, and Garcia is on pedal steel through track 4.

No Garcia in this film clip, but here's Delaney & Bonnie & Leslie West doing Goin' Down the Road on the train: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoIAOIjh8fQ
This could be the start of the same GDTRFB jam that's on the tape, but the recorder was in a different part of the car and started later. (If so, Bramlett & West are on guitar on the tape.)

There are two recorded versions of Me and Bobby McGee from the train:
Me and Bobby McGee (Joplin vocal/guitar, Garcia electric guitar, unknown bass) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1uE4rXnhBc (at 2:10) (from the Janis Joplin documentary) 
Me and Bobby McGee (Joplin vocal/guitar, Garcia pedal steel, unknown bass & others) - Festival Express movie credits (at 84:20)
Unfortunately neither movie gives us the full song.

Other train jams with Garcia involvement are seen in the Festival Express film:

"Blues jam" - Buddy Guy Band w/ Garcia on pedal steel (at 4:45)
Acoustic "Country jam" - Weir, Garcia & Dawson on guitars, Buddy Cage on pedal steel (at 18:45) [There's also a shot of Ian Tyson on guitar, but it may be from some other time.]
Cold Jordan (Garcia vocal/acoustic guitar, Sylvia Tyson vocal) (at 19:40)
I Can't Do It Baby (Buddy Guy vocal, Garcia electric guitar, unknown others) (at 20:55)
Ain't No More Cane on the Brazos (Rick Danko vocal/guitar, Joplin vocal, Dawson vocal, Garcia guitar/vocal, Weir guitar/vocal) (at 52:50) [Garcia's on electric guitar & Dawson isn't playing.]

Other train jams were mentioned in the Rolling Stone article on the tour:

Deep River Blues (Leslie West guitar/vocal, Corky Laing drums/vocal, Felix Pappalardi guitar, Garcia guitar, Delaney Bramlett, Kenny Gradney)

Goin' Down the Road (Leslie West, Delaney Bramlett, Garcia, Kenny Gradney)

I've Just Seen A Face, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away (Garcia, Joplin, Dawson, Weir)

Me and Bobby McGee (Joplin vocal/guitar, Garcia on pedal steel, Philippe Gugnon on fiddle)

& from the same session as Ain't No More Cane: Amazing Grace, Goodnight Irene

Also mentioned in Sam Cutler's book, p.270:
Long Black Veil (Danko, Joplin, Garcia, Weir, Dawson, Buddy Cage on pedal steel)

Train songs mentioned in other sources:
Gail Hellund: "I can remember Garcia teaching Bonnie Bramlett 'To Lay Me Down.'" (This Is All A Dream, p.159)
And for what it's worth, from Scully's book, p.197:
Wake Up Little Susie (Garcia & Dawson)
Whinin' Boy (Joplin & Garcia)
Walk Right In (Joplin & Garcia)
Careless Love (Joplin & Garcia)

* * *



The Dead definitely did not record their own shows on this tour. All the recordings were made by the film crew – they seem to have been poorly labeled & disorganized, and some may have been lost in the chaos after filming was completed.

David Lemieux mentioned in a 2005 interview:
"I think six songs by the Dead were filmed. Two were in the movie [Don't Ease Me In & New Speedway]. Two were in the bonus disc [Hard to Handle & Easy Wind], and there were two that didn't make the cut. I did recently hear the audio tapes from Winnipeg and Calgary and they were pretty good. It's basically two full shows, maybe an hour & a quarter each... The shows, I think they’re excellent. There’s some interesting material. I know there was a good China>Rider and a good Lovelight [probably the ones he's put on the Taper's Section]. Bunch of neat stuff. Typical 1970 material: some sloppy stuff, some out of tune stuff, but also some incredibly interesting Pigpen stuff. There's a good Attics of My Life, too."

So the Vault appears to have the complete shows from 7/1 and 7/4, each around 75 minutes long.
He didn’t say which show Attics was from, but it was mostly played electric at that point. (There is an acoustic version at the 6/24/70 early show; but that was in the special confines of the Capitol Theater, and I wouldn't expect the Dead to try it acoustic in a festival stadium setting.)


A few years ago, Lemieux played a few tracks from the Festival Express tour on the Taper's Section, dated like this:
7-1-70 China>Rider - 3/10/08
7-1-70 Lovelight - 6/30/08
7-1-70 Candyman, Dire Wolf, Uncle John's Band, Me and My Uncle, China>Rider - 6/29/09
7-3-70 China>Rider, Lovelight - 7/2/07
7-3-70 New Speedway Boogie - 9/29/08

However, not only are the Lovelights from 7/1 & 7/3/70 the same track, the China>Riders are also the same.
(Lemieux even commented in the 6/30/08 Taper's Section that he'd played the Lovelight before, while dating it 7/1/70 – though it had been dated 7/3/70 before.)

On 6/29/09 he played a longer chunk of this show, including the end of the acoustic set; it's announced, "now the New Riders," then we cut to the electric set, with MAMU & the same China>Rider. (The opening of Dire Wolf is cut; and there are gaps between the songs, rather than running continuously.) This set is dated 7/1/70 again.

Lemieux also played New Speedway in the 9/29/08 Taper's Section, dated 7/3/70. (The only one of these clips in stereo; the rest are mono.) This is the same New Speedway that's in the Festival Express film.

Part of a Lovelight from the Festival Express tour was recently uploaded on youtube. As you can hear, it's the same one that's on the Taper's Section. It's also from the same show as Don't Ease, New Speedway & Hard to Handle in the Festival Express video – all from Calgary 7/4/70.

So, all the tracks Lemieux has played from this tour are actually from the 7/4 show – though he dates them both 7/1 and 7/3. This doesn’t say much for the tape labeling, especially since there was no show on 7/3, and none of these tracks are from 7/1. Evidently there's some date mixup on these tapes in the Vault!

The possibility arises that the Vault may have duplicate reels of the same material, labeled as being from two different cities. Only Lemieux would know.

(Unfortunately none of these clips are currently available on dead.net.)

TORONTO 6/27/70

The day had started out with many crowd disturbances and interruptions; by the time the Dead came on, most of the discontented had drifted to the park and the audience was probably much more peaceful.
The New Riders started at 9 pm, and probably played about 45 minutes before the Dead, who played roughly an hour-long set. The Band followed them, closing the day and ending around 12:30. (Janis closed the show the next day, 6/28, coming on at 11:30.)
It was rather generous of the promoters to include the New Riders on this tour. There were already almost 20 bands playing, and NRPS did not even have their own album out (and weren’t billed), so they would have simply extended the Dead’s time slot. Fortunately, NRPS was well-received.

This page shows the planned lineup of bands in each city (though it's an incomplete listing):

Although Deadlists lists several songs for the CNE Stadium show, they’re actually from the two other shows. (The Deadlists entry was written long before the Festival Express movie came out, let alone the newer material we have, so it’s out of date; but it illustrates how tricky it was to date these tape clips.)
An audience member remembers Lovelight, which was the Dead’s surefire crowd-pleaser that year, and as the newspaper review attests, it successfully excited the crowd.

It strikes me as curious that we have neither sound nor video for even a second of the Dead's Toronto show; nor apparently is it in the Vault. It may be lost, if it was ever filmed.

The Coronation Park show in the film can safely be established as 6/27/70. Garcia is wearing the same shirt as in his earlier stadium stage announcement; we can see the sun is low in the sky during the Dead's performance, matching a time of roughly 7 or 8 pm, when we know the park show was starting; and the Dead are playing acoustically, which a witness reported for that day’s show.

The Dead played in the park two days in a row, per the Rolling Stone article. (The newspaper account for Sunday 6/28 is more vague, but it's clear there was a park show that evening as well.) Since they had the day free on 6/28, they could have played at any time that day. But all we know of the show is a dim memory that it was an electric show that included Good Lovin’. A few minutes of silent footage also exists, multiple-camera film crew outtakes evidently filmed on the 28th since the Dead are playing electric and wearing different clothes: https://vimeo.com/146999213

Although the film has a brief snippet of Friend of the Devil from the 6/27 park show, it's not synced to the footage. They're playing acoustic, but not that song (I can’t tell what they’re playing, you can only see a few brief strums.) There’s no telling where the audio clip comes from, but it's likely the film crew might not have recorded audio for the park show.

I suspect there isn't much more footage (& possibly no audio) from either of the park shows. The film crew would not have been prepared to film two separate concert locations at once (let alone setting up the park sound recording as well), so my guess is their filming in the park was brief & limited, and they concentrated on the stadium shows.


To make sure Easy Wind was accurately dated, I checked the Winnipeg clips, comparing Buddy Guy’s footage in the film (definitely from Winnipeg) with the Easy Wind. And Easy Wind is indeed from 7/1/70.

The Rolling Stone article pointed out that the stadium was right next to the fairgrounds.
During Buddy's solo, looking out you can see a fairground ride turning around behind the bleachers. Just after his set, there's a shot of the ferris wheels lit up at night, the front one in yellow.
In the nighttime crowd shots in Easy Wind, we can see that same fairground ride turning around, and briefly during the jam, we can also see the yellow-lit ferris wheel turning around.

On the Archive tape of 7/1/70, Easy Wind is the same as in the film. Listening to the tape, we can tell that Candyman directly follows Easy Wind – they go straight from one song to the next.
So these two songs were accurately dated – however the clip also contains part of the Hard to Handle from Calgary.

From John Einarson’s account of the day, with 14 bands billed, even if some of the lesser-known bands played briefer sets, we still have at best one hour per band to play even though the festival ran late. The Dead played sometime after dark; they were followed by the Band again, who apparently came on after midnight and (per Rolling Stone) “played a short set;” then Janis followed sometime after 1 am. I would be surprised if the Dead played much longer than 60-75 minutes. NRPS probably did not play due to the lack of time.
I strongly doubt the audience memory that Alligator was played. This was infrequent at the time (mostly played in their “home” venues), and would be a surprise to find in such a short festival set.

CALGARY 7/4/70

We have a large part of this show – Lemieux said the tape of this show was “maybe an hour and a quarter,” and the selections we have are an hour long. I'm not sure the show was much longer.
At Toronto 6/27, the Dead's set was about an hour (plus the NRPS set) - with even more bands appearing at Calgary, they shouldn’t have had a longer time slot.
And yet, they might have played longer. Although I don’t believe the deadlists witness’ claim that the NRPS-Dead show was 4 hours, still, the Dead played an acoustic set before NRPS, which they did not do in Toronto 6/27. (Or, technically, they seem to have played acoustic in the park, and then electric at CNE stadium.) Playing the additional acoustic set suggests that they had some more time.
There were certainly more electric songs. Me & My Uncle was never the first song of a set, and there appears to be a missing song before Lovelight.

My guess is that Friend of the Devil & Cold Jordan in the film come from the Calgary show, that being the only known recorded acoustic set. But we have the end of the acoustic set, so it’s hard to know where Cold Jordan would fit – perhaps it was an encore. (I wouldn't put it past the producers to have just grabbed the audio from an already circulating 1970 show!)

The date of this show isn’t known for certain. We have two initial reasons to think it was 7/4/70: a deadlists witness said the Dead played the first day of the two-day festival; and that was the way they’d done it in Calgary. (The old mistaken Deadbase date of 7/3 may also reflect that they played on the first day.)
They are clearly playing in the afternoon. On the previous two dates, they’d played evening sets, as one of the top-billed bands; so it’s strange to find them one of the first bands on the first day, especially with so many local opening bands available. (About 20 bands were to appear.)

But there is also the matter of Garcia’s shirt. He has a purple t-shirt on during the Dead’s set.
The “all-star” jam with Ian & Sylvia is evidently later that evening, for he’s wearing the same shirt, now with a denim overshirt. (Kreutzmann also appears, still wearing his flowery shirt from the Dead’s set.) Then at the start of Janis Joplin’s set, when she gives gifts to the promoters, Garcia seems to have the denim shirt buttoned over the same shirt still. (His pants seem to be the same as well.)
There is no evidence for what date the Ian & Sylvia jam occurred, except that it took place shortly after sunset. I thought Janis closed the festival on 7/5/70, especially given her gift-giving ceremony. And yet, Janis Joplin’s Calgary live tracks released on a couple albums are dated 7/4/70. (And the Band have released a couple Calgary tracks dated 7/5/70, though they were not the closers at the earlier shows – and who else would be the last to go on?)
Not only that, but Janis apparently played a show at Seattle’s Sicks Stadium on 7/5/70 (and went on to play Honolulu on 7/6). I’ve seen several people online mention that they went to the Seattle show, so evidently it was played, which would explain why she didn’t close the Calgary festival on 7/5, but the Band did.
In short, it appears that Janis closed on the first night, 7/4, and the Dead played earlier that day.

The CC Rider jam may have come at the end of Ian & Sylvia’s set. The youtube clip starts with a glimpse of Ian & Sylvia during sunset (by CC Rider it is darker) – there’s also a newspaper photo from this show of Sylvia singing in daylight. At the end of CC Rider, everyone leaves the stage.
Per Deadlists: “The video contains a C.C. Rider from this show (nightime) from an all-star Jam. Slabicky lists personnel as follows: Garcia is playing [a Telecaster], Kreutzmann on tambourine, Sylvia Tyson of The Great Speckled Bird on vocals with other members of this band Jim Colegrove on bass, Buddy Cage on pedal steel, N.D. Smart on Drums, and Amos Garrett on lead guitar, Delaney Bramlett on guitar, the organ player from Delaney and Bonnie's group, and Ian Tyson on acoustic guitar. C.C. Rider is followed by Will The Circle Be Unbroken, with Bonnie Bramlett on vocals.”
This is puzzling, since Will the Circle does not seem to be on youtube. Rolling Stone also says that Rick Danko played in this jam, and he’s not in this segment. In any case, the jam seems to have been longer than what we have.

Weir can also briefly be seen wearing a dark hat, playing guitar in the shadows behind Buddy Cage & next to Garcia at the end.
Online trivia: "In the CC Rider performance, Garcia can be seen playing the famous rosewood Fender Telecaster played by George Harrison in the last public performance of The Beatles on the roof of Apple Headquarters. It was loaned to Garcia by Delaney Bramlett who can be seen on-stage beside Garcia. Harrison gave it to Bramlett after they toured together briefly."


It’s not known whether the film crew captured entire Dead shows. Judging from the Lovelight clip, individual cameramen felt free to stop filming & move around during songs; problems could also arise, film run out, or the footage could be unusable. As a result, I suspect shows from this tour survive mainly in pieces, with only some songs filmed with multiple cameras, and others missing chunks of footage or perhaps caught by only one badly-placed camera, or others lacking audio if an audio reel went awry.

Director Bob Smeaton said it took months just to sync the film and audio: “I listened to over sixty hours of audio… Very few of the film rolls had been logged, and it was trial and error trying to match the audio to the image. Also, the cameramen would run out of film ten minutes into a performance and we would have a black hole with audio but no pictures. Songs would have to be edited..."
And elsewhere: “Allegedly there are many hours of filmed material still missing. This became evident when I would hear audio materials but be unable to find the relevant footage to go with the audio. This was the case with Janis’ version of “Me and Bobby McGee.” I searched in vain for this footage... This was also the case with The New Riders’ performance of “Better Take Jesus’ Hand” [Cold Jordan]. I hope one day this lost film footage may come to light.”

One Archive commenter (N Hoey) spoke with a film producer who revealed more of the challenges:
“It was a tremendous challenge to assemble a coherent film from the available film and sound. That was mainly due to the fact that…it was a nonstop party which DID also involve the film/sound crew. MOST of the footage is technically too flawed to use. Shaky, blurry, out of focus with gaps that mean whole usable songs are few.. Shooting 16mm film back then required very serious attention to get quality footage. They had no way to see dailies, they just shot away and hoped for the best and it turned out that there was a lot of crappy useless footage… While they may have gotten far more technically sound audio, it appears the tapes were handled badly. 5 or 6 festival gigs would generate quite a few reels and apparently they weren't carefully labeled and kept fully organized. Also all the offstage filming generated numerous reels of sound to be kept track of too. Basically the whole thing was just too wild and chaotic for the documentary aspect of it to be done professionally well enough to provide a wealth of usable raw material. They had to scour all that they had to scrape together [90 minutes] of quality material that could stand as a documentary.“

It’s telling that all the Dead footage we have, besides the Easy Wind, is from the Calgary show. Perhaps this was the best-filmed, or the best-preserved.
With the film clips generally not identified, it took some detective work to place them in Calgary. When studying the footage, all the daytime shows tend to look similar since the same beat-up blue stage cover was used at every show, and the stadiums look more or less alike if you’re not keenly viewing the background. McMahon Stadium had distinctive red & white-striped stands, though. The other way to tell that all the Calgary clips were actually from the same show is by checking the clothes the band’s wearing. (Don’t Ease Me In was evidently the earliest song, since Phil & Pigpen are wearing overshirts, later taken off.)
For a closer look at the research (and a couple false leads), see the comments here:

The editing in the film is quite tricky & creative - for instance the Calgary Don't Ease Me In is edited with Toronto crowd footage; and you can also see that the DVD Hard to Handle includes footage that we now know is actually from the Lovelight. (This is likely to cover for lack of extra camera angles.) It's likely that many shots in New Speedway and Hard to Handle were actually taken from the footage of other partial songs in the set.
Don't Ease Me In is a good test case of different edits – in the film it’s dated 6/27/70, with Toronto’s CNE Stadium shown in a crowd shot. This is a misleading mixing of shots by the film producers, though. Here we have an earlier, alternate edit of Don’t Ease Me In without the Toronto footage (in fact it starts with a shot of the Calgary stadium) –
(It also ends with a bit of tuning from the electric set before New Speedway.)
We can also see that it doesn’t have the variety of camera angles that the later electric-set songs have; evidently the only cameramen at that point were down in front of the band.

Lemieux said that six Dead songs were filmed, and two didn’t make the DVD. He may be referring to Lovelight or Candyman; or maybe not. He might not have seen all the footage of the Dead. Perhaps he saw six complete Dead songs that had been synced & edited together, while others may be incomplete or not have sound. (There might not exist a complete film clip of that youtube Lovelight, for instance, which would be considered unusable by the filmmakers; and there could be other fragmentary pieces.)

The Dead do not own the film, just the rights. When researcher John Platt was interviewed by the Taping Compendium in the ‘90s, work for the Festival Express film was already underway, and he mentioned that they’d found about 90 hours and had just gotten as far as making a brief trailer reel (including Don’t Ease Me In, which he misidentified as being played in a train yard - perhaps it was lacking any crowd footage). Platt said, “The production company came to an agreement with the Grateful Dead whereby the Dead are allowing these people to use X amount of Dead footage in their finished documentary. The quid pro quo is that all the remaining Grateful Dead footage will be returned to the Dead." (Taping Compendium p.576)
This apparently didn’t happen. Lemieux gave no hint of it in his interview.
The stock-footage group Historic Films Archive has recently acquired all the Festival Express reels and digitized over 100 hours of footage from the tour – they’re the ones who put the Lovelight clips, and several new clips of the Band, up on youtube, kind of as teasers.
This is the same group, by the way, who also have the Dead’s 4/21/72 Beat Club performance.
They claim there will be an expanded release of Festival Express next year with more new footage. (For instance, they say they have the footage of Janis playing Bobby McGee on acoustic that Smeaton couldn’t find.)

It seems more reels have been discovered than the Festival Express producers had a decade ago. The Historic Films site has 132 Festival Express reels on their site; the catch is that the only ones you can watch online are the few non-music reels; any clips with performances you need a paid account to watch (at $100 per hour) -
But, if you click on the pictures at least it'll tell you what's in each reel, in great detail. The truly ardent researcher would go through all this to find all the Dead material…


This was a collaborative effort. Thanks to Arck, runonguinness & pairdoc for their research!

I’ve also posted a few news articles written about the Festival Express at the time – though these are mostly less informative about the actual concerts than we’d like:

http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2018/07/july-3-1970-free-festival-princes.html (not the Festival Express, but a different free festival in Calgary on July 3 that Garcia attended)
Also see:

And for the insatiable, these are some earlier discussions of the Festival Express mysteries, mostly duplicated or superseded by this guide -
http://archive.org/post/323259/the-mystery-of-the-festival-express-what-do-we-have-from-the-tour (a valiant older attempt to put the info together)
http://archive.org/post/935393/new-festival-express-footage-and-amp-some-dating-notes (my initial attempts at this post)

Corrections & updates are welcome!


  1. An excellent pulling together of it all, we know a lot more now than we did a week ago.

    One small correction to Deadlists and Slabicky. Jerry is playing a Telecaster on the CC Rider Jam not his Gibson. Weir is seen briefly too wearing a black cowboy hat a coupla times behind Buddy Cage and next to Jerry. I don't think I've seen Jerry play a Tele before.

    As you say we seem to have most of Calgary, which makes me think Weir's hangover was the worst. One quick cowboy song and maybe another song in what's missing hints that he was feeling the pace.

    Thanks again

  2. Made the correction, good catch.

    Without knowing the full Calgary setlist, I'm hesitant to think that Weir was in worse shape than the others - he belts out the end of Lovelight just fine! (Garcia was reportedly the worst off that morning.)
    But it is notable that Pigpen's more upfront with his harmonica than usual. Of course, the nonstop drinking party on the train was just another average day for him...

  3. Since the Cold Jordan at the end of the film is identified as NRPS (and director Smeaton says he looked for footage but couldn't find it), it looks like the audio tape was labeled NRPS. Yet that song was never played in an NRPS set; almost always the Dead's acoustic set. My best guess is it was an encore at Calgary (they played it as an encore a couple other times).

    The film end credits also have some audio of Janis & friends on the train singing Bobby McGee, with Garcia on pedal steel. This performance was written about in the Rolling Stone article.
    There's also another very brief glimpse of Weir playing acoustic in the 6/27 park show.

  4. LIA,

    Back in the late 1970's, when I was collecting everything and anything GD or other I coulda get me hands on, I purchased a Janis Joplin songbook. It has a few things.

    One was one of those flimsy 45's that was Janis with Jorma singing some blues in 1964 or so. Cassidy (Neal, not Jack) is typing in the background. (Originally circulation says it was Kerouac but my dating shows Kerouac was boozing on Long Island and not involved in the early scene).

    Two is a long and detailed description of the Festival Express. I want to say it was writing by John Dawson but I don't remember. It's huge. 5-8 pages single spaced.

    A few things I recall:

    Dawson was Janis' boy-toy on the train. (Ha!).
    They ran out of booze in Minnetoba or something and had the conductor stop the train to restock. (Like a good bunch of Dead Heads).
    And while there we no real wildlife sightings, Jerry (of course), saw a black bear scratching his back on a tree from the caboose.

    I mentioned this account to Jerilyn Brandalias once and she was super excited.

    When the scene built I the 80's, I'm the only one I knew who had any knowledge that a festival express existed.

    Hopefully I still have the book. I'll dig around at Christmas time at my parents house.

    I'd love to contribute more to this excellent blog and hope the above memories are accurate. (The important one is - Jerry).


    1. That Janis Joplin songbook sounds like a valuable relic!

      The "typewriter tape" from 1964 is supposed to have Margareta Kaukonen on typewriter... (Janis didn't have much of a connection with Neal Cassady.)

      Otherwise your memories are accurate!
      You may want to see the Rolling Stone article from 1970 - http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2013/07/junejuly-1970-festival-express.html
      It has the detail about Garcia spotting a bear, and a brief mention of the booze stop - there's more detail about that in the Festival Express documentary, and Phil Lesh's & Sam Cutler's books.
      Since it was written while Janis was alive, naturally it doesn't say anything about her sex life on the train, but Cutler & McNally confirm in their books that Dawson was her partner...

    2. In one of his recent Covid-concerts Jorma said it was his ex-wife typing in the background, not Cassidy.

  5. Sorry for bad grammar and spelling.

  6. Good find! That's the VHS footage that used to circulate, which our audio of Candyman is taken from on the Archive's 7/1/70 file. I can see why that song wasn't used in the Festival Express film, though - I think the performance is pretty rough too.

  7. The footage starts with the longest, most complete clip of the 7/4/70 all-star CC Rider jam I've seen. Garcia's having a blast, though he doesn't really step up in the music, considering just about everybody else takes a solo.
    Then there are the familiar video clips of Hard to Handle & Easy Wind, though in very poor quality.

  8. all the festival express clips were pulled from youtube..... sad day :(

    1. Not every scrap of Festival Express film was pulled, but basically all the clips used in the DVD (even with 'outtake' footage). It's a shame. Youtube is hardly a permanent resource, though - I've seen things I've linked in other posts go down frequently - and eventually some clips might be re-uploaded by someone else.

    2. we pulled the clips from YouTube because they weren't licensed from us - that's piracy. The producers.

  9. Is it possible to re-play the Tapers Section of these songs? I'd love to be able to d/l these and collect them.

    1. Older Taper's Sections might not be playable...if the links don't play, I'm not sure what to suggest, since a lot of the songs from the Calgary show just aren't available anywhere else. It would be a public service if someone compiled all the tracks into one copy and made it available somewhere.

    2. Hi, I've got the all files from the Tapers Section, will be uploading them to bt.etree/ Lossless legs / archive soon.

  10. This apparently just surfaced a couple of weeks ago: starting at 16:12 into https://vimeo.com/146999213 we have about 7 minutes of pretty neat silent footage which I am guessing is from the free electric GD show in Toronto on 6/28/70. The band is playing on a flatbed truck in a park, and the hairstyles are the same as in the 6/27/70 acoustic set footage seen in Festival Express but the clothes are different. From the lip movements I think I can spot Lesh and Weir singing the line "one way or another" from "New Speedway Boogie" but I am not sure.

    1. Good find! Pigpen's playing harmonica as well. I think it's New Speedway Boogie too.

  11. Here's an alternate b/w shot of the Winnipeg Easy Wind - Levon Helm (and other Band-members?) seen behind the amps starting around 5:50

    1. Robbie Robertson also shows up at 5:25. Given the bad quality, I don't know who the other people are behind the Dead; I think those are the only Band members seen. But it's nice to see them digging the Dead.

  12. There's a few more minutes of silent footage of one of the Dead's free Coronation Park shows in Toronto, starting 16 minutes into this clip:

    Multiple cameras, so these are outtakes from the film crew. I think the Dead are playing New Speedway Boogie in at least some shots, with Pigpen on harmonica. Looks like between songs the drummers back an enthusiastic lady dancing on stage.

  13. I attended the Toronto Festival Express show and recorded the whole thing on cassette. The Dead's set list that day was as follows: 1) Casey Jones. 2) China Cat Sunflower-I Know You Rider 3) Me and My Uncle 4) Easy Wind 5) Cumberland Blues 6) Turn on Your Lovelight. The set was short due to time constraints. My cassette recording is not great. (from the 20 yard line on a mono portable cassette recorder with a cheap mic. The vocals were pretty low in the mix for the Dead as well, but it's ok from an archival standpoint. I have a couple photos and about 15 seconds of out of focus super at film as well. Hey, it was a long day and I was only 17 at the time. Unfortunately, the only cassette missing from the 12 I recorded at the festival is the one containing the bulk of the New Riders' set, so I only have the last two songs: Portland Woman and Honky Tonk Woman. Regards, Doug McClement. www.LiveWireRemoteRecorders Toronto Canada

  14. I also have about 30 seconds of Super 8mm footage and audio of Jerry trying to calm the crowd down earlier in the day after some kid from the audience got up, grabbed a mic and said that "the cops are busting heads outside the stadium". Jerry lets everyone know that some of the bands will be playing for free across the street on a flatbed truck in Coronation Park. I also have some Toronto newspaper clippings. I was in Grade 12 at the time, and a friend of mine and I shot 45 minutes of Super 8 film of the whole festival, fancying ourselves to be documentary filmmakers. I actually ended up being a location music recording engineer for the past 40 years, doing major concerts and awards shows across Canada and the USA, though I've never worked with the Dead in any professional capacity, unfortunately.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Remarkable! Not many kids would spend a whole festival taping and filming...
    Naturally I'd encourage you to share the Dead cassette online if possible, at least as an archival document even though the quality's not great.
    In any case, thanks for the informative comments!

  16. I was at the July 1 Winnipeg show, where I smoked a joint with Jerry, and at the Calgary one on July 4th. There was no second day in Calgary. Janis and the Band performed on the first and only night. The Dead were good on both occasions, but they were more of a cult band than a festival one. They were at their best in front of their own fans. I also got lucky when the Montreal show was cancelled, as my pal and I were in northeastern New Jersey and I caught the late show at Portchester on June 24th. It was far and away the best Dead show I ever attended. Absolutely incredible. What a shame we only have the recording of a taper in the balcony, but it beats nothing.

    1. Interesting to hear that the Dead played better to their own fans! Festival settings didn't always suit their strengths.
      Newspaper accounts of the Calgary festival confirm that it was a two-day event, "23 hours of music" - for instance, the 7/6/70 Calgary Herald reported that Janis closed on Sat, July 4, and the Band closed on Sun, July 5.

    2. The Band closed on January 5th because they played after midnight. It was originally supposed to be a two-day event but they limited it to one. Both Janis and The Band played on the first and only night and they were the last two performers. I was there and I was not stoned.

    3. This is a belated reply, but I've posted all the newspaper coverage of the Calgary show I could find here:

    4. Late show 6/24/70 Port Chester: Did the entire crowd manage to teleport that night? If I could travel in time and place, I would choose to land at the front row of the balcony at the Cap that night. The Ken and Judy Lee "ushers tape"? It's fantastic. Put's you right there.

  17. Another point. The Calgary New Speedway Boogie as it appears in the film only includes two of the three verses although the Dead sang and played all three. The filmmakers may not have film of the "who can deny, who can deny it's not just a change in style," verse, or their may have been other reasons, like cutting it short to fit it into the desired film length. Of course the Dead often sang the verses to Speedway Boogie in different orders.

  18. If you search on You Tube for 'Grateful Dead Festival Express Archival B footage' you will see the "Don't Ease Me in," video from deadvidsdotcom, plus the full version on New Speedway Boogie, which includes the second verse missing in the film.

  19. Great info here. It appears that the Youtube archival B footage of CC rider has been taken down. Does anyone know where I can find that footage?

    1. Unfortunately the long clip of CC Rider seems to be gone from youtube these days, only the short Festival Express edit is still online to watch.

    2. Thank you for the quick reply. I would like to find a way to save that clip for posterity for others to enjoy - it would be worth it. Any ideas on where to find the original?

    3. Can't help you there, I haven't seen that clip in years!
      See the comment from 6/24/14 above, mentioning a VHS compilation of Festival Express footage, sadly taken off youtube since. I haven't spotted it on torrent sites either. We can hope that a reader here has a copy and can upload it somewhere.

    4. Thanks - will keep looking! I enjoyed that CC Rider clip for multiple years but took it for granted and assumed it wouldn't be removed. Great to see this thread alive after so many years. Will report back if I find it.

  20. So much above, not sure how new this is, but Alan Bershaw has posted what he thinks to be uncirculated video of a version of "New Speedway Boogie" at https://www.facebook.com/alan.bershaw/videos/2167217343348094/

    1. Yes, that's the video that used to circulate - another, better copy without the timecode is currently here:
      It's the same performance footage as used in Festival Express, just a couple minutes longer. Bershaw's copy helpfully patches in the stereo audio portion used in the film.

  21. I added a little section on the train jams that Garcia took part in.
    I would have liked to update all the youtube & audio clips as well, but so many have been taken down (as noted earlier in the comments), some of these video links are dead, and not much can be done about that.

  22. I was at the Toronto CNE show. Mt only real clear memory of the show was that Jerry came on stage in the afternoon and vouched for the announcer who was asking people who had climbed up on a roof outside the stadium to please get down as they were concerned that the roof might collapse. Jerry asked them to please get down too. It sticks in my memory since in my 26 years of going to Dead shows it was about the only time I ever saw Jerry do something like that. I've never heard another reference to it, does anyone else remember it?

  23. Any information on the 2008 taper's section page featiring the full version of "Lovelight"? I distinctly remember it existing, and it's a very fiery version. But when I click the link it just brings me to the Dead.net home page. Seems to have been wiped from existence, unfortunately. Maybe their planning to release the show commercially?

    1. http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2009/11/deadnet-tapers-section-index.html has been updated to include Frank Irons' list of working TS links.


      These are the currently working links for the Festival Express:




  24. Trawling through the Historic Films website
    does not reveal much interesting unseen performance footage and no new stuff at all by the Dead. But it does provide evidence for Eric Andersen's memory of Phil playing with NRPS. It's a shame we can't see it to confirm that the annotater is not confusing Phil with Bobby but he (she?) lists everyone except Torbert on reel FE-133 so I think it really is Phil on that clip but Torbert on FE-52 and FE-134.

    They have New Riders Of The Purple Sage footage on reels

    Jerry joined Ian & Sylvia after, or possibly during, "24 Hours From Tulsa"
    "FE-123 01:02:55 (to 01:04:18) IAN AND SYLVIA - TWENTY FOUR HOURS FROM TULSA (live)

    Ian & Sylvia's Will The Circle Be Unbroken All-Star Jam is with Garcia, Marmaduke, Weir, Danko, Delaney & Bonnie, Eric Andersen and others with footage on reels FE-45 (1:21:51 to 1:27:45), FE-136 (1:19:52 to 1:23:02) and FE-140 (1:17:54 to 1:21:17)

  25. very thoughtful notes, but a lot of questions could easily be answered simply by asking the producers of the film, of which I am one. For example - the Dead don't own the rights to the footage because the contract with them did not require us to give them any footage. They were absolute gentlemen to work with, though - kind and helpful. And David Lemieux was fantastic.