The flow at the combustor turbine interface of power generation gas turbines with can combustors is characterized by high and nonuniform turbulence levels, lengthscales, and residual swirl. These complexities have a significant impact on the first vanes aerothermal performance and lead to challenges for an effective turbine design. To date, this design philosophy mostly assumed steady flow and thus largely disregards the intrinsic unsteadiness. This paper investigates the steady and unsteady effects of the combustor flow with swirl on the turbines first vanes. Experimental measurements are conducted on a high-speed linear cascade that comprises two can combustors and four nozzle guide vanes (NGVs). The experimental results are supported by a large eddy simulation (LES) performed with the inhouse computational fluid dynamics (CFD) flow solver TBLOCK. The study reveals the highly unsteady nature of the flow in the first vane and its effect on the heat transfer. A persistent flow structure of concentrated vorticity is observed. It wraps around the unshielded vane's leading edge (LE) at midspan and periodically oscillates in spanwise direction due to the interaction of the residual low-pressure swirl core and the vane's potential field. Moreover, the transient behavior of the horseshoe-vortex system due to large fluctuations in incidence is demonstrated.