_Garth and Maud Hudson playing a midnight set at Huichica East_

This past weekend, Huichica Fest held its annual Hudson Valley counterpart to its original Sonoma Valley gathering. On Friday night, Mercury Rev hosted a special screening of the 1962 film Carnival of Souls, which featured an improvised soundtrack from the band and special guests Robyn Hitchcock and Garth Hudson, former keyboardist for The Band.

Hitchcock shared his memory of the unique experience:

_Garth Hudson, looking like a ghost patriarch in a black bolero and flowing white locks, was one of about 10 of us playing along with the movie—the original soundtrack was muted. We played an amalgam of early Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground and Heroes-era Bowie, pulsing and chugging away in E minor. Garth was in there, playing Phantom Of The Opera runs and his own demonic clusters. Every so often, we would all stop playing and leave him to solo. It was very atmospheric—who knows what it was like to watch?_

Some old ’80s friends of mine were in the ensemble: Steve Shelley from Sonic Youth, Anto Thistlethwaite from The Water Boys, John Ashton from the Psychedelic Furs and Mimi Goese from Hugo Largo. I would look across at them, and then over at Garth’s spectral fingers dancing across the keyboard while his wife Sister Maud sat benignly in her wheelchair next to him. What a feeling! Those hands had played on “The Shape I’m In” and on the 1966 Dylan tour “Ballad Of A Thin Man”—quicksilver genius. There he was, in a chilly cow pasture outside Woodstock, on stage with a bunch of us aging indie-rockers, playing to the late night festival stragglers.

After the Carnival of Souls performance, Garth and Sister Maud Hudson offered a special midnight performance of songs from The Band’s catalog, playing, “It Makes No Difference,” “The Weight,” “Blind Willie McTell” and “I Shall Be Released.” Watch a fan-shot video of the opener below.