The Big Easy Express Experience

Ok, so as I mentioned, the two things I was most excited about at SXSW were Fiona Apple and the premiere of Big Easy Express.

BEE documents last year’s Railroad Revival Tour.

Despite loving Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show, I missed the tour. Because I was on my own adventure…in South Africa! (Side note: Sunday marks a year since the day I left for Cape Town…I can’t believe it!!)

Here’s the trailer:

“The tour of dreams.”

As soon as I heard those three bands were doing a tour on a train. I wanted to be on that train. Being a part of something like that. I can’t imagine. As much as I love everything about it, I really should learn how to play an instrument. And stick with it. I’ve tried the piano. I’ve tried the violin. So maybe the banjo or the accordion might be the one I would prioritize enough to become proficient?

The movie premiere was at 4p at the famed Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas. I told my fellow volunteers at the Alamo that I was planning on getting there at 2p to be safe. They didn’t think that was early enough. All badges had access to this screening. And everyone knew there was a good chance that EVERYONE was going to be there. And perform. A one-of-a-kind show.

We decided I should get there at noon. So I did. And while I wasn’t the first in line, I was the third. But what worked out even better for me was that I befriended one of the volunteer managers. He snuck me into the bathroom while I waited. He shot video of the sound check and brought it out for me to see. And best of all, he saved me a seat in the second row. Center.

(Before you get too excited (mom!), we both like boys, so it was nothing like that. Just a new friend.)

Everyone was there. All three bands. Someone said that OCMS broke up, but there they were. And we were about to watch the movie with them. As the lights went down, I said (maybe a little too loud) “I don’t know if I’m ready for this.” Everyone around us laughed.

Ok so I wanted to sit up close because of the post-movie performance. What I didn’t think about is the fact that the doc is shot on a moving train. Whoa. I had a silent pep talk with my body – and God – and we all decided that we all owed it to me to not let the motion bother me. This was what everything had led up to.

Watching the movie proved that being on that train would have been everything I wanted it to be. Constant music. Jam sessions. Creativity out the yin yang.

I also fell hard for Alex Ebert in a dirty (literally), “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” kinda way.

The movie ended and we all loved it and it was awesome to see it in Austin because the city randomly plays a pretty big part in the movie. There’s a quick Q and A where we find out it’s not sold yet ?! and then it’s live music time.

When Chris had brought out the sound check for me to watch, I nearly crapped my pants because they were singing The Book of Love. I had seen The Magnetic Fields the night before, and I was all, is this seriously happening that I’m about to see this song again?! What does it all mean?!?!?! (Because, duh! I’m sure everything means something!)

The Mumfords come out first. And debut their new song. And somehow my shaky hands did me a solid.

And then everyone comes out. And it’s so many people on one stage at one time. And EVERYONE has instruments. And there are two accordions. And I can barely contain myself.

I mean, I was so close I couldn’t get them all in one picture!! Ok so they perform Roll Away Your Stone. And it’s apparently the first time they all have done it together. (PS You can see the back of my head in that video. The stomping our feet in unison part was one of my favorite things that happened.)

Then Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show performed together.

And Alex Ebert wears short cutoff white pants (we should probs call them manpris) and a white jacket and I’m all in, like, I can deal with that!

And then the Mumfords come back out and everyone’s together again and we’re yelling “Wagon Wheel!” Because, duh! And one of the Old Crow guys (I don’t remember which one) was like, that is a good song, isn’t it? But they don’t sing it. Instead they do this:

Which I can deal with because love is something I believe in, too.

We were all still chomping at the bit, so they went ahead and sang one of the songs from the movie. A song that Alex actually wrote about being ON the train.

It was all an incredible experience and I was riding high. Such a great time.

Now because I do love Wagon Wheel, and it also ties in with my Africa trip (we played it when we reached the peak of Lion’s Head), I’ll share that with y’all too. Enjoy!

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