Remembering Rick Danko: Performing With The Band & Others Aboard Festival Express


On December 10, 1999 multi-talented musician Rick Danko passed away at the age of just 55. The Blayney, Ontario native best-known for his contributions as a vocalist and primary bassist in The Band, Danko was an essential component to the groundbreaking rock group’s success. In celebration of Rick’s life, here’s a look back at the famed Festival Express Tour through his native Canada that took place in 1970 and featured The Band, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and others.

Captured in the documentary film of the same name, the two clips below come from the release that detailed the train tour that also saw performances by Buddy Guy, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends and The Flying Burrito Brothers. First is footage from a substance-enhanced jam that took place aboard the train between Danko, Joplin, Grateful Dead guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir and New Riders Of The Purple Sage’s John “Marmaduke” Dawson. Rick plays guitar and helps sing the impromptu rendition of the traditional “Ain’t No Cane” – watch the intoxicated performance here:

This second clip, featured below, is from one of The Band’s Festival Express concert appearances. Drummer Levon Helm shares vocals with Danko on the beloved classic “The Weight.” Here’s more footage from the documentary:

[Originally Published: December 10, 2016]