Festival Express review

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It seemed like a good idea at the time: put some of the greatest rock bands of the '70s on one train and take them on a tour across Canada. After the first riot, however, it was clear this was no ordinary rail trip...

Using archive footage, talking heads and the best music since Woodstock, Bob Smeaton's doc records this ride, trumpeting a roster of extraordinary talent (The Band, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead) that's sure to have musos peeing their pants.

It's the timing as much as the line-up though, Smeaton catching the counterculture revolution at a pivotal juncture between the free love of the '60s and the self-destruction it spawned. (The fact that Joplin died a few months later gives an extra resonance to her electric performance of `Cry Baby'.) Yet while the fallout is there for all to wince at, it's hard not to feel sneaking admiration for these party animals - - not least when they stop at Saskatoon to empty an entire liquor store.

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