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Posts Tagged ‘Derek Trucks’

My Behind The Scenes Tour and Overview of The Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland)

Loving Life!

Loving Life!

Gorgeous art on canvas. Quality!

Gorgeous art on canvas. Quality!

I just got back from the 45th year the Montreux Jazz Festival, which took place on the gorgeous Lake Geneva, or Lake Léman as the Swiss like to call it. This amazing musical festival ran from July 1 through the 17th.

Nestled amongst the French populated section of the Swiss Alps in Montreux, Switzerland, this town has one of the most majestic views one will ever have as backdrop for a music festival.

Fun Fact: Lake Geneva was the site for the first measurement of the speed of sound in (fresh) water.

Take all your preconceptions, like comparing it to any festival you have ever attended, and throw them away.  For those thinking it might mirror New Orleans Jazz Festival in the sense of night and day jumps all over New Orleans catching shows, it’s nothing like that.  Try thinking more along the lines of a dignified, classy smallish in scale but giant in reputation, amazing, worldly festival thrown into the middle of The Sound of Music.

A Little Background

The Montreux Jazz Festival is certainly the most well known music festival in the world, at least to musicians.  I would wager that the average musical lover even has a few Live in Montreux cds from an artist or two without even realizing it.

Live at Montreux - I hope you have a few of these albums!

Live at Montreux - I hope you have a few of these albums!

Funky Claude Nobs!

Funky Claude Nobs!

It is all began with Claude “Funky Claude” Nobs, a passionate jazz fan and visionary who founded the festival back in 1967.

This guy was cool, rocking Missoni gear every time I saw him. Come to find out he rocks it almost exclusively. When I lived on Park Avenue, Missoni was the only store on Madison Avenue I cringed by when I took my daily walks home from work.  However, I took the time to take a look at the Missoni catalog that came in our gift bag (more about that later). I have to be honest with you, I dug some of the $1,000 and up items.

A group of youth tossing three teens in the air. Not photoshoped.

A group of youth tossing three teens in the air and they rotated! Not Photoshopped!

Our tour rep told us that Claude started as a cook and networked his way up to somehow create this festival.  That wasn’t a through enough description for me.  How about these facts:

  1. After apprenticing as a cook, Nobs worked in the Tourism Office of Montreux.
  2. He later went to New York, where he met Nesuhi Ertegün, the president of Atlantic Records.
  3. There he met Roberta Flack and invited her to the Rose d’Or de Montreux, one of the most important international festivals in entertainment television
  4. Aretha Franklin made her first visit to Europe thanks to him.
  5. At the age of 31, while he was director of the Tourism Office of Montreux, he organized the first jazz festival

~ Thank you Wikipedia

One of my favorite booths on the walk...

One of my favorite booths on the walk...

Gorgeous flowers were the only thing that stood between you and the water's edge!

Gorgeous flowers were the only thing that stood between me and the water's edge!

Montreux’s inaugural fest was only three days compared to the current three week run and listed almost exclusively jazz musicians.  In the 1970s, the festival began broadening its scope including blues, soul, and rock artists.  Over the years, the festival has grown to include all styles of music from around the world.  This year, I noticed that there was a large Hip-Hop focus at this “Jazz” festival, especially late night.  I would love to speak more with the team who creates the line-up.

It’s fair to say that The Montreux Jazz Festival might be one of the world’s most diverse musical gatherings. Over the four days I was in Montreux, on the streets alone I saw:

  1. Indian group chanting with flute and drum accompaniment
  2. Individual John Mayer types with guitars
  3. Japanese dancing and singing
  4. African Tribal dancing and singing
  5. A Didgeridoo group called DidgEra. (They changed spots all week, I loved them but they need to be nicer to their fans if they want us to give a crap. I got brushed off when asking about the instruments they were playing.)
  6. A solo Kora player
  7. Many versions of American songs remixed with electronic beats coming from the food booths. (Celine Dion even got some love!!)
  8. Hip-Hop dance rage on one of the park stages
  9. Four dudes strapped a barely floating raft to a paddle boat and set up their band on the raft with an electric amp playing garage band music. THAT was amazing. As seen below 🙂
Ballzy and awesome! Note the pirate flag...

Ballzy and awesome! Note the pirate flag...

Try to take into perspective that the festival is very small in ground size even though 220,000+ people are said to have attended.  It’s basically laid out along the edge of Lake Le’man on a straight sidewalk lane pretty much ending at our hotel, Eden Palace Au Lac.  Literally a 15-20 minute walk from end to end.

The Overview

Surf Board Paddlers had the best view from the middle of the Lake

Surf Board Paddlers had the best view from the middle of the Lake

I arrived in Montreux, Switzerland on the 14th of July and was there for four days. Even though it was raining, the place shined through with its gorgeousness. Spotless lawns and sidewalks, clean air, a large gorgeous blue lake in the middle of the most scenic of mountain views one could ever encounter. To have a music festival set in this type of landscape was phenomenal.  As I grow and experience these musical adventures, my definition of phenomenal has changed.  This…was…PHENOMENAL!

The town itself was rather small and you didn’t have to gaze far to see that the town took this festival seriously.  Every window display had a music theme.  There were guitars with pearls draped across them and drumsticks scattered around cupcakes.  Over our time there I would see flower vases lined with sheet music or in the shape of piano keys, cloth stores hung musically inspired cloth and restaurants serving Orchestral Salads and Musical Cheeseburgers.  It was no joke.

Lobby shot of our hotel!

Lobby shot of our hotel!

Loved these guys!

Loved these guys!

While checking in to the Eden Palace Au Lac, to our pleasure we were immediately told we had a room upgrade with a better view!   Then we were told that a representative from The Montreux Jazz Festival had contacted them and asked to be alerted upon our arrival.  We were then told that in ten minutes a representative of the festival would becoming to our hotel to greet us.  Alright, this was pretty dope…

Seriously...this was our view.

Seriously...this was our view.

Our Room with VIew

Our Room with View

Josh and I went to our rooms and melted into our view. It was the most delicious view I had ever experienced.  The grandeur of the mountains were just breathtaking.  The Blue Ridge Mountains where I spent my college years were put into perspective.

The water was so clear and clean.  Very much like a tropical island.  At any point on your walk along the lake, if you felt like swimming, you could jump in from one of the many quaint docks and ladders.  While you swam you were  floating amongst ducks, swans, pigeons, and sea gulls.  Scattered around were sail boats, paddles boats, para-gliders, surf-board paddlers and more.  Every single moment and spot was picture perfect.

View from sidewalk walk around Lake!

View from sidewalk walk around Lake! See the docks to jump in from? Too cute!

Gift Bag Welcome!

Gift Bag Welcome!

I began to unpack before the  phone call came.  Josh went down to meet the representative and came back with a huge bag of goodies. The gift bag contained two Montreux shirts, MAC cosmetics, A Montreux Jazz Festival dual-disc sampler cd, Missioni clothing magazine, and a Switzerland tourist type booklet with fun things to do around the area.

Hip-Hop Dancing on The Park Stage

Hip-Hop Dancing on The Park Stage

Over the next four days, I would experience a world I had never known as this amazing festival opened itself up to me at the same time. I was walking amongst covered Muslims and Native American Indians.  I heard people speaking French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Israeli and more.  This is something I never see/hear at American Festivals.

Fest goers lounging outside the Park stage.

Fest goers lounging outside the Park stage.

During the three week festival you could enjoy piano, voice and air guitar competitions with contestants from Great Britain, Australian, France and more.  There were paying concerts with Carlos Santana (Rock), John Mclaughlin (Fusion), Jimmy Cliff (Reggae), Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi (Southern Rock), B.B. King (Blues), and any other style of music you can imagine. There were also free shows held in various locations along the water each day.

Notice the water on the right as you walk along the side walk of vendor tents.

Notice the water and mountains on the right as you walk along the side walk of vendor tents.

The Music in the Park Stage, located right outside the Auditorium Stravinsky!

The Music in the Park Stage, located right outside the Auditorium Stravinsky!

There were Salsa and Brazilian show boats and a New Orleans Jazz train which all housed performances on board.  There were workshops in Funk, Soul, Bossa Nova, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Electronic and Classical music.  There were teachings about the rise of Hip-Hop, music in film, Slam Poetry performances, and numerous individual artists workshops.  I attended the Larry Graham Workshop and the Marcus Miller Workshop, both of which will be posted in full later next week.

The food booths were unique, diverse and fresh!

The food booths were unique, diverse and fresh!

My first meal at Fest was Paella. So Good!

My first meal at Fest was Paella. So Good!

Some 22 food stalls can be found along the lakeside.  The food was on par with the quality you might find at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, the only other festival I’ve attended whose food was on the same level as the music. My first meal was Jambalaya, followed by fondue, crepes, orange and apple portable waffles that tasted like fruit loops, baguettes with amazing cheese and oil toppings, German style potato salads, cheesy scalloped potatoes with ham.  There was Sushi, Thai, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, and German and there was even a salad/pasta bar in one of the booths.  The food was never ending and I didn’t get to eat enough of it while I was there.

Tons of exciting activities were around for kids of all ages!

Tons of exciting activities were around for kids of all ages!

The Behind-the-Scene Tour

To be honest, I had forgotten about the Behind the Scenes Tour until two days into the trip and we were on our last night of box seats.  All we had to do was come in between 2pm and 11pm and they would give us a Behind the Scenes Tour.  The tour ended up taking place on our last day of the festival right around sound check. Coincidence? I think not 😉

I was described the difference between Backline (everything behind the artist on stage) and Front Line (the lights and video equipment). With that info under my belt, I was taken into the Instrument Storage Room.

Hanging out with all the instruments - felt good!

Hanging out with all the instruments - felt good!

Due to the small size of Montreux, the frequency of the shows during the festival and the lack of time for each artist to set up, most artist attending the Montreux Jazz Festival use instruments from the stock pile that is housed in the Auditorium Stravinsky.  Of course, people such as Larry Graham and Paul Simon would use their own instrument but their back up bands were asked to use what was already on site.

Instrument galore...

Instrument galore...

Every day the staff prepares the instruments.  The last performer of the night sound checks first.  The selection of instruments was grand.  I was told that the staff who maintain and organize this portion of the festival were the hardest working people on site.  It was their job to make sure that every artist had the instrument they needed.  It was their job to be there multiple hours a day.  First to organize what is needed for the day, then to organize sound check, see the show through to the end of the performance, and then make sure the instruments are put back accordingly.

I immediately recognized the pressure that was on this portion of the staff and at that moment, a grumpy male snapped at Nathan to move out of his way.  Clearly, there was pressure.

Instruments everywhere, of all kinds.

Instruments everywhere, of all kinds.

Because so many artists performed in such a small amount of time on one stage, the last artist performing on a given night has sound check first and their equipment is set up.  Each following artist’s equipment is set up in front of the last.  Then, during performance time, the first act goes on, their items are removed from the line and by the time the last act is performing, only one line of instruments, that last artists instruments, are left on stage.

I was told of a story involving Keith Jarret.  There are only two pianos in the collection: a Steinway and a Yamaha.  Jarret struck one key on the piano provided by the festival and said “NO!” He refused to use the equipment.  The Montreux staff went looking all over Switzerland for the type of piano that Jarret wanted. There was only one located in Switzerland and it was flown in.  The artist struck one key on this new piano and said “NO!”  He ended up using the original piano provided by the festival.

The crates that brought supplies on the train to the Festival

The crates that brought supplies on the train to the Festival

I was escorted to the inner belly of the building.  Here was housed the recycling center.

Fun Fact about the alcohol:  The festival has 20,000 liters of beer imported from Belgium because the tiny Swiss kegs don’t serve the purpose of the large festival.

Kegs ready for the Festival.

Kegs ready for the Festival.

Montreux’s Greening efforts are intense. Their mission is to limit waste creation while at the same time maximizing sorting and recycling. This mission manifests itself through:

  • Returning the site to its original state on a daily basis
  • A team that works 24 hours a day, sorting trash and ensuring the cleanliness of the festival areas
  • An on-site eco-compatible waste plant
  • Eco Points spread across the site, both indoors and outdoors, allowing the public to recycle items including plastic cups, PET, glass, aluminum, paper/cardboard, and items to be incinerated
  • Prevention and information for the public, in partnership with the Summit Foundation, to promote eco-friendly measures

For it’s second year, in addition to financial support, Alpiq is providing practical energy efficiency solutions for the Hospitality Garden, the festival’s VIP area.  With the installation of a photovoltaic system and energy-saving LED lighting, this technology is to be extended in future to the entire festival infrastructure.

Hospitality Area...

Hospitality Area...

Audio Production...

Audio Production...

The audio trailers were also in this area. There were two audio trucks and two video trucks.   The Montreux Jazz Festival has been recording their video in HD since 1991. Back then, HD was seen as ridiculous.  Now Funky Claude just sits back and smiles with his awesome video while everyone begs for it.  The entire festival is recorded live and there has been 5000 hours of tape recorded.  As an artist playing the festival, you have to be OK with being taped. Don’t worry, you get a free copy of your show! Marvin Gaye refused to be taped until he went to Funky Claude’s personal home and saw the quality of the HD video.  Only then did Marvin agree to be taped.

The fest is staffed with 1200 volunteers who are mostly students who make little in wages so many stay with someone they know or travel in from the outer towns.    There were perks for them throughout the festival. Food was a 15% off price, there was a masseuse backstage for cheap whenever they needed to relax, they were allowed to see music days on end for free, sometimes lucky ones, or not lucky, were allowed to work for the artists!

View of the busy sidewalk near the Auditorium...

View of the busy sidewalk near the Auditorium...

The two main Halls, Auditorium Stravinsky and The Miles Davis Hall, used for the evenings shows, were located inside the Convocation Center.

Montreux Convocation Center

Montreux Music & Convention Center

Backstage at Miles Davis Hall: The Miles Davis Hall, located in the Music & Convention Center, was built on as an audition to the Auditorium Stravinsky after the festival got to big for the solo stage and has a capacity of 2,000 people.  Once built, musicians, specifically jazz musicians, wanted to perform in that space rather than the large space.

Front of Miles Davis Hall, attached to Auditorium Stravinsky

Front of Miles Davis Hall, attached to Auditorium Stravinsky

Lights testing at Miles Davis Hall

Lights testing at Miles Davis Hall

I inquired about the Jam sessions that Sean Rickman had mentioned to me when we ran into each other at a red light on the street.   Artists are encouraged to go to the Montreux Cafe after their performances for impromptu jam sessions.   There are certain set concerts to help promote such a thing happening.  Unfortunately, the scene late night in the Montreux Cafe is not one that many artists of Sean’s caliber want to participate in.  Whenever we were near the area late night, the scene was full of young 20-something drunken ragers who were more interested the opposite sex then the music fueling the vibe.

Heading towards backstage...

Heading towards backstage MDH...

Rage!

Rage!

As we approached the backstage entrance to the Hall, I could hear Larry Graham‘s bass lines coming from sound check. We were let in to watch a portion of the sound check and sadly had to leave our camera outside.

I can tell you, standing in front of the stage with just me and Larry Graham and his low end was an absolute thrill.  In that moment I felt very special. I knew I was in a special moment, experiencing a very special thing. I couldn’t help but think about the people who had gotten me to this point. Thank you to my parents, the Sloanes and Josh! I wasn’t taking any of it for granted.

Larry Graham was on stage with his wife checking things out. His wife and he were sporting matching jerseys with #1 and #2 on the back. Josh, myself, Nathan and Helen watched for about 15 minutes. Taking it all in…

Auditorium Stravinsky

Auditorium Stravinsky

Auditorium Stravinsky this way...

Auditorium Stravinsky this way...

Backstage at Auditorium Stravinsky – We headed through a few corridors and up or down some stairs to end up in the Auditorium Stravinsky, situated in the Music & Convention Center.  The interior is completely paneled with cherry wood and has an audience capacity of 1800 seated and 3500 standing,

We immediately went backstage and were walking amongst the orchestra that would be backing Deep Purple that evening.  There was a red carpet on the floor which I found out led to the stage. How cute is that?  A red carpet to the stage!!

Lounge outside Auditorium Stravinsky inner room for drinkers, etc.

Lounge outside Auditorium Stravinsky inner room for drinkers, etc.

To the left of the red carpet was Claude’s dressing room and interestingly enough, Quincey’s Jones’, who stays all three weeks each year.  When our rep explained to us that her first job had been serving artists relations, Josh asked her which artist had been the most difficult.  Prince became the topic of discussion now as she spoke of going all over Montreux with Prince’s makeup artist looking for the correct wig and he apparently has a very impressive makeup collection.

Leaving the tour, this is the entrance to Stravinsky Area.

Leaving the tour, this is the entrance to Stravinsky Area.Deep Purple fans right around the corner.

The tour was informative and exciting.  As we left the building to go do some more shopping, we passed the entrance to the line for the Deep Purple show.  Diehard fans with purple hair and Deep Purple clothing were already lined up for the show that would be taking place in 2 hours.  I knew how they felt.  The music was calling…

Deep Purple fans ready to rage!

Deep Purple fans ready to rage!

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Tedeschi/Trucks Band (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Tedeschi/Trucks Band (Photo by Suzy Perler)

One of the most beautiful things about music is its ability to connect to us on so many levels.  There is the connection between the audience and the musicians; we love them, we hate them, we worship them, we envy them, we listen to them and we critique them.  There is the connection between the musicians on stage as they smile at each other, follow and lead the jam getting lost in the music as we do.  There is a connection to the music through emotions, as the songs make us weep, laugh, get angry, get hyper or sullen. Physically, we dance to the grooves and our connection to the venue and our fellow audience members becomes established as we release our energy onto them.  Finally, the better the group is, the harder, deeper and more intense the connections prove to be.

Tedeschi/Trucks Band (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Tedeschi/Trucks Band (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Derek Trucks (Photo By Dino Perrucci)

Derek Trucks (Photo By Dino Perrucci)

The creation of the Tedeschi/Trucks Band connects very deeply with me on all those levels.  Derek Trucks is my favorite guitarist alive.  When he takes a solo, I many times lose my shit.  He is still the only guitarist who can make me cry in the middle of a rock song, any song for that matter.   Yes, we all know I cry freely when music touches me but no one can get me going as quickly as Derek can.

Susan Tedeschi (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Susan Tedeschi (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Susan Tedeschi is hands down my favorite singer in our scene.  When I broke off my engagement a few years ago, her music/voice played an intense part in my healing process.  Specifically, go check out her cover of Bob Dylan’s “Baby, Don’t Think Twice.”  Tell me you don’t LOVE that song!

I was privileged enough to meet them both on their tour bus at Mountain Jam last year and was able to yet again, build another connection as I thanked them for their music, spoke with them about NY living and just hung with them as “regular” people, not the famous musicians I had come to love and worship after finding their talent in 2000.

Susan and Derek (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Susan and Derek (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

At the end of the day, the beauty of this group lies in its greatest connection: LOVE.  Love is the deepest connection two people can have.  Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks are married.  A connection so great and built on love’s foundation.  As well, Derek and Susan chose their line-up wisely, picking from musicians they themselves love and whose talent they feel is outstanding.  When you mix love and music you get The Tedeschi/Trucks Band!

RAGE!!!!!!!!  (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

HE PUT ON HIS RAGE FACE!!!!!!!! (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Tedeschi/Trucks Band
Derek Trucks – Guitar
Susan Tedeschi – Guitar & Vocals
Oteil Burbridge – Bass
Kofi Burbridge – Keys & Flute
Tyler Greenwell – Drums
JJ Johnson – Drums
Mike Mattison – Backing Vocals
Mark Rivers – Backing Vocals
Maurice Brown – Trumpet
Kebbi (?)- Saxophone
Unknown – Trombone

The Highline Ballroom was packed! Not surprisingly, the performance had sold out within days of tickets going on sale. The venue withheld the tickets for pick up at the club box office to deter ticket reselling, something I hadn’t dealt with before. There was no opening band and the band took to the stage a little after 8pm to a crazy excited audience.

Oteil Burbirdge (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Oteil Burbirdge (Photo by Suzy Perler)

I’d say that 75% of the audience were 40+ yr old men who needed a fix of their bro-crush from The Allman Brothers Band.  Personally, I wondered how many of these men truly cared about anyone else on stage.  Certainly, The Allman Brother’s fans noticed the amazing Oteil Burbridge  on stage.  I know I did. What a line up.  Oteil’s brother, Kofi, took his rightful place behind the keyboard.

Kofi Burbridge (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Kofi Burbridge (Photo by Suzy Perler)

As all Derek and Susan projects, Mike Mattison was on backup vocals.  Then, there was Mark Rivers, someone who I had never heard of before and I can’t seem to find any information on. Send me a link if you find something! Their voices blended seamlessly with Susan’s but I didn’t really get a full effect from them closer to the end of the performance.

Susan & Derek (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Susan & Derek (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Tyler Greenwell, an alumni of the school of Colonel Bruce Hampton, made himself known on stage throughout the whole night with his thick drumming. Great musicality.  JJ Johnson, the second drummer on stage, was a new name to my ears.  His latest venture has been touring as John Mayer’s drummer.  I’ve always loved John Mayer’s songwriting and lyrics but it stops with his music.  Let’s hope JJ Johnson isn’t as much as a douche as Mr. Mayer like to portray himself.  I am sure he isn’t because only great karma gets you a post within the band of one of these magnificent musicians!

Maurice Brown (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Maurice Brown (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Susan Tedeschi (Photo By Dino Perrucci)

Susan Tedeschi (Photo By Dino Perrucci)

The horn section was good. I want to say out of this world but I couldn’t really feel anything from two out of the three horn players.  Sadly, I can’t find any mention of the names of the horn section either and the only person I recognized on stage was Maurice Brown on trumpet. Maurice was the horn player who throw it down until the encore.  He was the stand out of the horn section as he ripped open his solo on Uptight (video below), as he twirled his trumpet to the beat like a cowboy does a gun and how he got down dancing completely into the groove when the music moved him. He is a pleasure to watch just like Oteil.  Great stage presence.  Each of the musicians on stage were connected to Derek and Susan in some way but I believe Maurice Brown is the only member not to have played with them before.

(Photo by Suzy Perler)

(Photo by Suzy Perler)

Derek Trucks (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Derek Trucks (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Kicking the set off with the instrumental Five Minute Rule, the entire 11-piece ensemble warmed up their instruments and busted out a bit of their chops.  They were just itching to release their music upon us.  They covered epically jamming covers like The Meter’s funky Just Kissed My Baby and Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression with Oteil on vocals. At a point in the song, the members on stage back off as Kofi and Oteil were being spotlighted.  My eyes followed Derek and Susan as they sat down on some speakers.  I watched Susan sit down, put her hand on her husband’s leg and smiled deeply into his eyes and mouthed “Hi!”  It was so touching. During the drummer focus at the end of  Stevie Wonder’s Uptight (Outta Sight), both drummers gave us a taste of their talent.  Combined, we were delivered a sense of their sound and sensitivity.


The  group sang a number of songs from their new album, Revolver.  The soulful Love Has Something Else To Say was beautiful. As well, The Derek Trucks Band cover, Midnight in Harlem resonated through the venue as Susan’s emotive vocals carried it away.

Kofi & Susan (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Kofi & Susan (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Sly Stone’s Simple Song brought the absolute heat.  Susan Tedeschi and Mike Mattison’s vocals was sultry and possessive of the energy in the room.  Mattison’s standing out more for this one, however.  Kofi Burbridge brought it up with the keys. Kofi just sounds better every time I hear him.  Sadly, I don’t think I ever heard the flute.  Maurice Brown took the best solo of the night from the horn players yet again, destroying the funky rock song with a huge jazz0filled solo.  And behind it all, Oteil’s bass line could be heard solid and full of get down funky.  They killed this song!!!

Maurice Brown (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Maurice Brown (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The set ended with Herbie Hancock’s Space Captain. Might have been the greatest, most upbeat song of the night!! The spotlight was on Kofi Burbridge as he busted out the intro on keys and was showcased throughout the song in his solos.  Susan’s vocals filled in the rest and the drummers made themselves known. But it wasn’t until Derek Trucks ripped us his solo that I really lost it, weeping openly a few measures in.  Derek Trucks shred our faces off!! Oteil followed me and went, well, nuts.  bouncing all over the stage and dancing with his bass!!  The man is brilliant.   I lost my shit in the second row as I saw the musicians on stage putting on their rager faces and feeling Derek as well. Derek’s ever composed, precise, intense playing makes him one of the world’s greatest guitarist and a master at the slide.  Susan threw her hands up in praise toward him and at that moment Highline Ballroom was Church and Derek Trucks was God!!

Susan & Oteil (Phot By Dino Perrucci)

Susan & Oteil (Phot By Dino Perrucci)

With the ending of such a killer performance they could have gone out on that note and still gotten rave reviews.  KILLER ending to a set but the audience wanted more!!  Before the rest of the band came back to the stage, Kebbi on saxophone player began to rage.  Kebbi ripped right into a hyper jazz solo which eventually was supplemented by JJ Johnson on drums. And yes, he was great! I also gotta say the saxophonist killed that part of the show so I take back what I said about Maurice owning the horn section all night.  Eventually, everyone rejoined and the danceable funky blues song, Bound For Glory, the only song from their new album that is available for download, was the last song played.

The Tedeschi/Trucks band is absolutely brilliant.  Having the past connections of playing with each other behind them, they are way past the rehearsal stage in their third show.  With musicians with never ending talent  and an amazing set list, the night’s performance was a solid treat for the middle of the week.  Listening to this entire set and watching Derek Trucks, I realized that I hadn’t seen him so spirited in a long, LONG time.  His smile was evident throughout the night as was his Rager face!  Susan Tedeschi got me so into the mood that it brought tears to my eyes.  I hadn’t felt this touched by music in a long, long time.

I thought the show/band was great — but with that much talent up there, how could they not be? If I had a criticism, it’s that the show was too short… we want more! ~ Jonathon A.

Derek Trucks (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Derek Trucks (Photo by Suzy Perler)

SetList:
Five Minute Rule>
Love Has Something Else To Say
Midnight In Harlem
Just Kissed My Baby
Comin’ Home
Till You Remember
Sing A Simple Song
Nobody’s Free
That Did It
Uptight>Bass>Drums>
Manic Depression (Oteil vocal)
Space Captain

Encore:
Kebbi & JJ jam>
Bound For Glory

Download Tedeschi/Trucks Highline Ball Room Show Here!!

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” We Wish You Were Here” ~ Allen Woody Benefit ~

Allen Woody

Allen Woody

An absolutely historical night of music.  A bitter-sweet night of music.  A magical combination of guitar-shredding artists who came together for the memory of one man. Allen Woody!

Allen Woody!! For those of us who tend to seek out a bass line in a song, the name Allen Woody should register in your brain’s musical library.  Specifically, in the southern rock genre. He was the stand-out bassist for bands such as The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, The Artimus Pyle Band and more.

Allen Woody

Allen Woody

His unexpected passing on August 26, 2000 encouraged his fellow musicians to hold the first benefit called One For Woody in September 2000.  Tonight, ten years later, Warren Haynes and an ARSENAL of guitar-wielding friends put together the second benefit for this greatly missed musician: Another One For Woody: “Wish You Were Here!”

This was a man whose musical presence touched the lives of numerous musicians, inspired a genre and who’s musical contribution deserves recognition.  Tonight, people paid over $140 a ticket to pay homage to this dearly missed bass player whose tragically early departure from music left a gaping whole in the sound of southern rock.  The proceeds from this 10th Anniversary event went to raising money for musical education in schools.  For every person we heard complaining about the price, we politely reminded them of this fact.  Having just had the privilege of attending T-Bone Burnett’s “Waiting For Superman” Benefit at The Beacon (click for my review) a few weeks earlier, it is safe to say that the quest for keeping music & art in the school system is not going to ever be ignored. We are all soldiers in that fight.

“It’s too loud? Too fuckin’ bad” -Allen Woody 4/4/96

Roseland Ballroom

Roseland Ballroom

Arriving at 6:45pm, I had quibbled with my man over arriving to the venue early. He didn’t want to stand around for hours and I wanted to make sure we had ample time to arrive early enough for good viewing locations.  Roseland Ballroom is one of those venues, like Terminal 5, that has a sardine-like feeling with horrible site lines due to low ceilings and poor design.  Doors were meant to open at 6pm but didn’t open until after 7pm.  When we arrived, the line to the venue was wrapped completely around the block. Of course, even being an hour early, we were still slightly late but the first of our friends. Our section of the line starting to bulge as more friends joined our space.

Dino Perucci (Dino Perrucci Photography) and Allison Murphy (Allison Murphy Photography), two of my favorite NY based photographers, were walking the front of the stage.  My smile swelled because I knew that I didn’t need my camera tonight.  Throughout this article, many of the pictures you will see are shots through their lens.  Thanks to both photographers for allowing this Tiny Raging blogger to stand there and take it all in, not having to worry about the pictures.  And thank you, not simply for this show, but for the hundreds you do every year. Thank you, from all the people who admire your talent and work, for doing what you do and bringing the music to our eyes.

The show was supposed to start at 7pm and the doors didn’t even open until after 7pm.  After a lovely chat with the lovely Allison Murphy while the unusually long sound check and stage set-up it seemed about that time.  Those of us in the front were debating which musicians would be standing/sitting/playing where.  As long as I could see a full-on shot of Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes and Luther Dickinson, I didn’t care where I was standing.

Warren Haynes Acoustic Set

Warren Haynes – Guitar
Edwin McCain – Guitar
Kevin Kinney – Guitar

Out walks Warren Haynes with two other musicians that I am unsure of.  It wasn’t until maybe an hour later that I found out that the men were Edwin McCain and Kevin Kinney. This was the acoustic set and it was beautiful.

As soon as Warren Haynes started his strumming into Kevin Kinney‘s Just Outside Of Heaven (A Good Country Mile), I got that religious swell that I sometimes reach when the beauty of the music overwhelms me.  This time, it was just as much the energy in the room as the music.  I looked behind me and saw the faces of all my friends just beaming with excitement and love.  Edwin McCain sang The Lucky One.  All three sang on a gorgeous rendition of I Shall Be Released.

Set: Just Outside Of Heaven (A Good Country Mile), The Lucky One, I Shall Be Released

North Mississippi Allstars Duo

Luther Dickinson – Guitar & Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Drums, & Electric Washboard

Special Guests:

Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) – Guitar
Artimis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – Drums
Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule) – Keys
Audley Freed (Cry of Love) – Guitar

Around 8:15pm, the Dickinson Brothers,  tonight calling themselves the North Mississippi Allstars Duo, took the stage.  The Dickinson family had a wonderful connection to Allen Woody over the years.  The late Jim Dickinson, the Duo’s father, was good friends with the members of the Allman Brothers Band back in the day and when the North Mississippi Allstars toured with Gov’t Mule, they have fond memories of Allen Woody sitting in with them.

Warren Haynes + Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

The Brothers Dickinson brought the Memphis blues to our ears with Sitting On Top of the World, a 1930’s standard. The gospel tone came out with Shimmy She Wobble > Station Blues > Preachin’ Blues, all North Mississippi Allstars originals.  It was at this time that standing in front of the speakers began to take effect and I had to pop in the ear plugs.  It never fails and as usual, I ended up passing out the rest to friends and strangers around me who were clearly in need.

And then it was time for the guests.  Gordie Johnson, Big Sugar guitarist and recent Gov’t Mule producer, came out to join the Duo for Po Black Maddie. Initially, it looked as though Gordie was going to sing the song but it almost appeared as if he was unsure of the words.  Did anyone else catch this mumbling into the microphone?? Luther ended up singing the song.


Hook Herrera, Warren Haynes + Luther Dickinson (Allison Murphy)

Hook Herrera, Warren Haynes + Luther Dickinson (Allison Murphy)

Gordie Johnson remained for Straight to Hell. Cody Dickinson‘s smile never left his face the entire set.  It almost looked plastered on but we all know he was truly happy. How could anyone not be?  There was a stand-alone drum solo by Cody Dickinson while Luther and Gordie Johnson switch sides of the stage for the final song of the set.

The end of their set was FIRE!!  The Duo welcomed Artimis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) on drums, Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule) on keys and Audley Freed (Cry of Love & the Black Crowes) to the stage to perform Whiskey Rock A Rolla! There was now an arsenal of musicians on the stage to sing about whiskey and rock-n-roll! Four guitarists as Cody Dickinson moved from his drums to a guitar, tambourines, keyboards…What a mess of Southern rednecks.  Their vests, boots, long stringy hair, cowboy hats…all screaming of their bluesy country background.


Set: Sitting On Top of the World, Shimmy She Wobble > Station Blues > Preachin’ Blues, Glory Glory, Po Black Maddie, Straight To Hell, Whiskey Rockin Rolla

Gov’t Mule

Warren Haynes – Guitar & Vocals
Matt Abts – Drums
Danny Louis – Keyboards, Background Vocals and Other Goodies
Jorgen Carlsson – Bass

Special Guests:

Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) – Guitar
Jim Loughlin (moe)- Drums
Vinnie Amico (moe) Drums
Chuck Garvey (moe) – Guitar
Hook Herrera – Harmonica
Luther Dickinson – Guitar & Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Drums, & Electric Washboard
Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Drums
Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Robert Kearns (Cry of Love) – Bass
Audley Freed (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Savannah Woody – Vocals

The members of Gov’t Mule take the stage after a few minutes of stage setting. Warren‘s iconic raspy voice heads into Railroad Boy. The screen behind the band was projecting a black background with “GOT MULE?” plastered across in white. Warren ripped a solo and the set just launched into southern goodness at its best.

There was a spacey rip into Blind Man in the Dark, a personal favorite to sing around my apartment. Warren asked us how we were feeling and the place erupted with a happy reply.  Danny Louis jumped off the keys and onto guitar for Steppin’ Lightly.  At this point, there were old picture of Woody shooting or lingering across the screen behind the band. His face smiling at us, showing his appreciation for the music in front of him.

Sometimes there is nothing better then watching the hands of your favorite guitar player.  Personally, my favorite guitar player had not yet hit the stage but here in front of me was Warren.  He is simply amazing.  Watching Warren, I was in tune with his hands much more then usual.  I equate that to the fact that I have never been this close to his hands before. I was so happy to be in the front row. Banks of the Deep End sprang out of his hands and so it went…full on Warren!

And now it was time for some GUESTS!!!  Gordie Johnson once again joined the stage, this time followed by Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico, the drummers from Moe.  They raged I’m A Ram before jamming into Dear Prudence where Chuck Garvey, also of  Moe, joined with his guitar. I LOVE Moe.

Warren Haynes + Chuck Garvey (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Chuck Garvey (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Dear Prudence with the members of Moe.  AWESOME! THIS little addition to the stage made me very VERY happy.  Seeing Chuck on stage with Warren was interesting.  Their sounds are so different so vibing them together was great even though I silently wished it had been Al who was joining the stage.   Chuck lead while Warren sang. There were whimsy art paintings across the screen behind the stage.  Chuck gave a great solo and then tagged in Luther.

Warren Haynes + Hook Herrera (Photo by Allsion Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Hook Herrera (Photo by Allsion Murphy)

The 320 Blues saw Hook Herrera join the stage with his mighty harmonica.  Oh, the harmonica. I LOOOOOOOOOVE the layer of sound a harmonica add to a musical journey.  As well,  Luther and Cody Dickinson joined the stage followed by Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd).  GOD! It just kept getting better and better! So many musicians had been touched by Allen’s friendship, music and memory.  Cody busted out his washboard and I finally heard the North Mississippi Allstars sound that I associate so much to that washboard.  The place was on FIRE!! and the music was so loud and vibrant that the musicians drinks were shaking off the amps.   As far as energy was concerned, this was the pop-off song of the night, so far.

Audley Freed + Robert Kearns (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Audley Freed + Robert Kearns (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren then spoke of how Big Sugar used to open for Gov’t Mule and how he and Allen Woody would rage this Al Green song. He welcomed Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) to the stage for Stay With Me, Rick’s slide guitar sound melting everyone’s ears.  Danny Louis was back on his keyboard.  This song was so pretty.  Warren ripped a solo and then they all hugged. The next song saw Rich Robinson staying on stage and being joined by Robert Kearns (Cry of Love) replacing Jorgen Carlsson on bass and Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) jumping on drums.  They flew into Sometimes Salvation, a Black Crowes cover, and the venue cheered.

Simple Man was next.  I love this song. It never gets old for me. Matt Abts left the stage this time leaving only Artemis Pyle to play the drums. Audley Freed was back out on guitar and so they went…


Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Wishing Well was next with the same people gracing the stage. And then we were given an emotional surprise. Savannah Woody, Allen Woody’s daughter, came out to the front of the stage to sing Soul Shine. And  she sang the line:  Now you gotta let your soul Shine / Just like my daddy used to say...the entire place erupted with the longest loudest cheer of the night and Warren’s tears took over the gleam in his eye.  It took some time for people to realize who Savannah Woody was but when she sang that line, I knew immediately that it must be SOME kind of close relative to Woody.

During the song, she was standing on stage, arms dangling while solos were being taken.  A stage hand brought out a tambourine in the cutest way but she still didn’t move that much.

Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

When Allen died, a fund for Savannah’s education was established in his memory. She didn’t look any older then a high school student and it made me sad to know she lost her father so young. But the fact that she was up there, singing in her father’s memory, and not crying…we knew she was a strong. Certainly stronger then me as I teared up once I realized who she was and what she meant to the show.  It must feel wonderful to see that your father touched so many lives.  It must be wonderful to know that all those amazing guitar legends up on stage were actually men who look after their own and I am sure have taken her under their wing over the years.  It was a lovely and touching performance of an otherwise tedious song.

This show was supposed to end at 11:50pm, due to city/venue rules.  This set ended at 11:30pm and we KNEW that we were not going anywhere for sometime because now….it was time for The Allman Brothers Band, but not before almost a 40 minute set break.

Set List: Railroad Boy > Blind Man In The Dark, Steppin’ Lightly, Banks Of The Deep End, I’m A Ram (with Gordie Johnson, Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico), Dear Prudence (with Chuck Garvey, Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico), 32/20 Blues (with Hook Herrera, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson & Artemis Pyle), Stay With Me (with Rich Robinson & Artemis Pyle), Sometimes Salvation (with Rich Robinson, Robert Kearns & Artemis Pyle, without Jorgen Carlsson), Simple Man (with Artemis Pyle, Audley Freed & Robert Kearns, without Matt Abts & Jorgen Carlsson),Wishing Well (with Artemis Pyle & Audley Freed), Soulshine (with Savannah Woody & Artemis Pyle)

The Allman Brothers Band

Gregg Allman – Keys
Butch Trucks – Drums
Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson – Percussion
Warren Haynes – Guitar
Marc Quiñones – Percussion
Oteil Burbridge – Bass
Derek Trucks – Guitar

Special Guests:

Hook Herrera – Harmonica
Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Drums
Berry Oakley, Jr. (Bloodline, OKB) – Guitar
Audley Freed (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Chuck Garvey (moe) – Guitar
Danny Louis – Keyboards, Background Vocals
Vinnie Amico (moe) Drums
Jim Loughlin (moe)- Drums
Luther Dickinson – Guitar & Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Drums, & Electric Washboard
Matt Abts – Drums

The set break must have last over 40 minutes.  Sadly, my date for the evening felt the weight of the tiresome day during the obsessively long break and had to leave.  A set that was supposed to end at 11:40pm and didn’t even start until at least midnight.  This was insane but I only knew good things would come from those of us who had been standing on our feet for over five hours at this point.

Allman Brothers Band, Warren Haynes + Derek Trucks (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Allman Brothers Band, Warren Haynes + Derek Trucks (Photo by Allison Murphy)

When the music final started, my feet were aching, I was missing my date and fighting to hold my place up in the front row.  The masses pushed even closer as Derek entered the stage.  And for the first time since I was able to meet him on his tour bus during Mountain Jam (click to read), I was back into a super fan.  My legs buckled at first site, my smile exploded out the side of my face and I screamed like one of those chicks who faint when seeing the Beatles or Justin Beiber.  Derek-Mania was going through my entire body.  He is the one musician that makes me completely lose control.

Derek Trucks + Marc Quinones  (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Derek Trucks + Marc Quinones (Photo by Allison Murphy)

At this point, I am afraid I won’t be doing a great job of writing out exactly what went down.  Like I said, I get a little more then weak in the knees when I see Derek Trucks and stopping to takes notes or trying to recall everything when all I want to be doing is staring at his fingers, well…..I didn’t write much at all.

First, the overly handsome Oteil Burbridge joins the stage, followed by Warren Haynes and Gregg Allman who wander to their respective instruments.  It didn’t take more then 60 seconds for the rest of the members of The Allman Brothers Band, including Marc Quiñones on percussion, to lock into place and blast right into Don’t Want You No More, the first song on the first Allman Brothers album and an instrumental that was originally recorded by The Spencer Davis Group in 1967.  All I wrote in my notes is “Ok, I just need to dance now.”

Gregg Allman continued striking the keys and singing into This is Not My Cross to Bear, a song Greg wrote about an old girlfriend.  Both Derek and Warren were given ample time to release their talents through solos during this song so be sure to watch.  And as you watch Derek smile towards the camera right in the beginning of the following video, you can be sure he is smiling at me.  Oh yes!  To be sure **wink**

End of the Line was next.  Warren changed out his guitars for this one and ripped out an astounding solo.  Sometimes I just don’t understand how things can sound so different with every show.  Same style but soooo different in sounds.  At this point it is still only the members of The Allman Brothers Band gracing the stage and it proceeded that way for the following 5 songs.

Greg Allman + Danny Louis (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Greg Allman + Danny Louis (Photo by Allison Murphy)

So at this point, there is a lull in the sound throughout the audience and I catch myself SCREAMING like one of those Beatles Mania fans again: “DEREK I LOOOOOOOOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.”  No One Left To Run With was next, one of the few songs Dickey Betts wrote for the group but never sang.

Fun fact: This song was included on the 2002 compilation CD Mullets Rock!. For a while, The Allman Brothers were prime offenders of the haircut that was “Business in the front, party in the back.”

There was a gnarly guitar duel between Warren and Derek.  I mean it just never ends with these two.  Warren was  presenting us with such a phenomenal night of music and he was the ONLY musician to play in almost every song and at least in ever set.  He was the hardest working man in show buisness that night!  The drums in this song were killer.

Black Hearted Woman, also a song written by Gregg Allman about the same woman he wrote This is Not My Cross to Bear about, followed and continued right into Other One Jam, a Grateful Dead cover, until they begin inviting out the guests!!! Greg sang his heart out and the video shows it!


Hook Herrera came out and joined the boys for Who’s Been Talking. That man is an absolutely phenomenal harmonica player. I’ve said it a million times but I LOVE THAT INSTRUMENT. You can’t get a sound from any other instrument the way a sound is produced through a harmonica. It’s just soulful and the epitome of the blues to this southern gal.

Artimus Pyle + Audley Freed (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Artimus Pyle + Audley Freed (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Midnight Rider, a crowd favorite,followed.  Now, the original version of the song was with Duane Allman playing.  I believe  Gregg Allman re-made it a few years later (correct me if I am wrong).  If you listen to older recordings, you can hear and feel Duane and Dickeys’ opposing styles very well. So amazing.  Also, in 2005, this was used in the opening credits of Rob Zombie‘s horror flick The Devil’s Rejects.  Who doesn’t love that kind of product placement!?

Midnight Rider was followed by One Way Out. This song welcomed out Rich Robinson, Berry Oakley Jr. & Artemis Pyle to the stage.  I don’t know why but the videographers apparently must have run out of time or video because the Allman Brothers YouTube videos begin dying off around this point.

Warren Haynes + Berry Oakley Jr (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Berry Oakley Jr (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Statesboro Blues saw all guests leave the stage except for Berry Oakley Jr..  Berry Oakley Jr. is the son of Berry Oakley, a founding member and original bass player for The Allman Brothers Band who sadly passed away in 1972.  It was a tribute for many people this evening and I was hoping people recognized the significance.   Berry Oakley, Jr. left the stage and was replaced by Audley Freed & Danny Louis on guitar and keys respectively for The Band‘s The Weight.

Chuck Garvey, Jim Loughlin, Jimmy Vanderbogart & Vinnie Amico came out to join The Allmans during one of my all time favorite Grateful Dead songs, Franklin’s Tower. Got to be honest with you and admit I have NO CLUE who Jimmy Vanderbogart is and I can’t find any info online that can give me more insight – If you know, please comment.

Southbound followed with the addition of the Dickenson Brothers joining the crowd on stage along side Hook Herrera and Danny Louis.  This was one of my favorite songs of the set simply because it was The Allman Brothers with this North Mississippi Allstars Duo and a freaking harmonica.  SOUTHERN GREATNESS!!!

All guests exited the stage and a RAGING Whipping Post closed out the set.  Derek Trucks once again showing us he is the king of the slide guitar. Once again showing me that he is the king of kings in my world when it comes to the guitar.

Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

As my girlfriend and I walked away, we realized it was almost 2am in the morning on a work night.  We discussed leaving before the encore and went to the restroom.  Coming back up from the basement bathrooms, we smiled at each other as we heard the   stage light up again.  We couldn’t leave.  Not this time.  Warren Haynes began strumming the chords to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. And without uttering a word, the entire venue began singing the lyrics.  Warren places his hand behind his ears and the venue sings louder.  Berry Oakley, Jr., Gordie Johnson, Danny Louis and Matt Abts joined the stage for the remainder of the song with images of Woody’s face flashing smiles across the screen behind them.  And I cried…for the third or fourth time that night.

Set List: Don’t Want You No More, Ain’t My Cross To Bear, End Of The Line, No One Left To Run With, Black Hearted Woman > Other One Jam, Who’s Been Talking, Midnight Rider, One Way Out, Statesboro Blues, The Weight, Franklin’s Tower, Southbound, Whipping Post

Encore: Wish You Were Here

What an amazing night of music!!  Simply amazing. The epitome of love and community within southern rock was found on that stage this night.  I truly wish I could offer you a free download but alas…..

Click here to DOWNLOAD/STREAM/LISTEN to the show!

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Furthur @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (07.28.10)

I   Miss Jerry!!

I Miss Jerry!!

I remember fighting and arguing and causing major melt downs in my house when my parents refused to let me go see The Grateful Dead shows when Jerry Garcia was alive.  I never understood my obsessive draw to The Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia, nor did I understand why my parents refused to let me see them Live.  I specifically recall my father asking me one day, “Why do you like all these musicians who died of some kind of overdose?”  I just stared at him blankly as framed pictures of Janis and Jerry and Bonham stared back at me from my bedroom walls.

I don’t have to describe the feelings we all get when we listen to Jerry…his music, his lyrics, his sound.  The shine we feel when we see his smiling picture.  Such a tragic loss who had a giant impact on human nature and music.  A worldly symbol of peace and love. Strike me down with lightening and hellfire but personally, Jerry has been my religion since I was 12 years old and discovered American Beauty. To this day Ripple and Attics of My Life are in my top five favorite GD tunes.  Music = God.

I Love you Jerry!

I Love you Jerry!

I remember exactly where I was when I found out he had passed away.  I was 15, climbing Seneca Rocks in West Virginia and remember being devastated.  This was the only guitar player I had ever wanted to see Live.  Even now, I don’t itch for a musician the way I itched to see him before he died.    He’s always held that place in my heart as my favorite guitar player and Derek Trucks follows right behind. To this day,  I equate the fact that I am fully addicted to Live music and seeing my favorite musicians religiously because one day these talented guys will be gone.  Some girls have Daddy issues, I have Jerry issues.

Nokia Times Square sign :)

Nokia Times Square sign 🙂

So anyway, Futhur to me is not The Grateful Dead.  Once Jerry died, I lost interest in really seeing The Dead.  It’s not the same.  It never will be.  Fake Jerry is the most dedicated Jerry clone ever but still…he ain’t no Jerry. And so, I only saw my first Futhur show at Coney Island a few weeks ago and here I was at Nokia Theatre in Times Square to see them for the second time.  It wasn’t a bad show but it wasn’t great either.

The chaotic scene before the show!

The chaotic scene before the show!

As we approached the blocks surrounding the theater, the sidewalks became thick with Deadheads and other hippe folk…and all hunting for tickets.  Oddly, I never saw anyone selling a single ticket.  Just lots of fingers up in the air.  I didn’t have a ticket till earlier that day.  Might I suggest ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS checking Craigslist for your ticket.  They are almost always offered at face value or under face.  Certainly not in this case, as people were willing to pay HUNDREDS for tonight’s tickets.  I was miracled again so that was nice.

The scene out front of Nokia was rather gross.  Wooks were everywhere, many with their dogs.  To me this just seemed ridiculous.  Dreaded wookies and their pit-bulls.  WTF? This was Times Square and it was just awkward and menacing.  I know they are nice dogs, but in masses smashed into Times Square, you never know if one of them is going to snap or feel uncomfortable.  I was feeling uncomfortable under the cramped, stinky, wooked-out circumstances and I wanted to bite people….shoot.

Eagerly waiting to be played...

Eagerly waiting to be played...

For the first set,  I had spectacular views of Bobby and Phil.  So yummy.  I had maneuvered my way up to the railing on the raised platform directly to the right of the stage.  Perfect view.  The only negative being that I couldn’t see anyone to Bobby’s right.  I couldn’t see Fake Jerry, the backup singers, and I could barely see Joe.  I’d deal with this later, I just wanted to dance right now.  I got terribly excited right before the show.  I again questioned myself as to why I had waited this long to come hear my favorite music and songs played live.  I should have been more loyal to Jerry’s legacy with the passion I had for his music.  Alas….

Let's get this party started...

Let's get this party started...

Futhur consists of:

Phil Lesh – Bass
Bob Weir – Rhythm Guitar
Joe Russo – Drums
Jeff Chimenti – Keys, Organ
John Kadlecik – Guitar

They started the first set with Shakedown Street and Bown Eyed Woman. It sounded good overall but still kind of like they were warming up.  I didn’t think anything of it. I was setteling into my show groove as well.  John Kadlecik immediately brought it out on the guitar. Bobby was alert and throwing signals all over the stage. Singing was on point and the audience joined in on every word.  Bob started forgetting the lyrics during Brown Eyed Woman.

Phil and Bobby @ Nokia

Phil and Bobby @ Nokia

So, we are three songs in and I am dancing with my eyes closed to the beginning of El Paso.  It’s clear something is going on on stage, as Bobby disappeared from my ears all together.  As I look on stage, his strumming had softly slowed, his swaying slowly stopped and it was as if he was passing out while standing up for just a few seconds.  Pure black out stance.  And IMMEDIATELY he would come back to us and get back into the song.  It was weird and I was standing in a position to take in every single moment.  I turned to my friends screaming, “Do you see this?”  But they had been talking.

Phil and Bobby @ Nokia Theater

Phil and Bobby @ Nokia Theater

Attempting to start El Paso again, it happens again.  Bobby zones completely out.  Fazing back in, Phil is looking at Bobby with a very confused look.  That look in particular made me nervous and I turned around, shouting at my friends again, “DO YOU SEE THIS?” Still talking, they hadn’t.  Later, it registered with them why I was in such a weird freak out mood with a worried look on my face.  In the moment, they were so confused.  A few minutes in & Bobby approaches the mic saying “I am going to try this again.”  And he did try it again.  They got through the song but without any lyrics. It didn’t suck, it wasn’t particularly great and almost completely instrumental.  That is the thing about live music, you never know what your going to get 🙂

Crazy Hippies :)

Crazy Hippies 🙂

Apparently, there was a ton of fighting was occurring outside.  As I went to the ladies room  there were numerous security guards discussing the occurrences that were taking place outside.  I just heard them say there were tons of fights and kept walking.   The scene inside was just as hectic but in a more fun way.  There were colorful characters walking the hall ways and dancing in the isles.  The over ragers had found spots along the walls to gather themselves.  Security was everywhere.  It was much more intense then I am used to for other shows.

Furthur @ Nokia Theater

Furthur @ Nokia Theater

By the time we were given Bertha, Bobby was back on his toes.  How strange that he fazed out for such a short time.  If he was dosed, as it was rumored, it would have lasted much longer then just those few minutes, right? The Ambian theory is good too but he would have passed completely out, right? Even though he didn’t appear drunk, that will be the theory I am sticking with.  They ended the set with a HYPED UP Good Lovin’, bringing the heat and gaining a huge cheer from the audience at the end. Phil was clearly upset as he walked off stage.  All I could think about was what was about to take place behind the scenes during set break!  Oh, to be a fly on the wall back there.

Furthur @ Nokia Theater

Furthur @ Nokia Theater

Seeing Joe Russo up there behind the drums was unreal.  How wonderful for him.  How wonderful for us. I am a big Joe Russo fan.  He is a New Yorker and one half of the Benevento-Russo Duo.  He is obscure and off the handle when he plays and plays around here often.  He is an innovator with energy and I thoroughly enjoyed his sound behind Bobby and Phil.

(Check out a Free rare performance of A BIG YES and a small no (A Joe Russo Project) @ Lakeside Lounge on August 19th.)

Furthur @ Nokia Theater

Furthur @ Nokia Theater

Because of my lacking view from my pretty great location, I chose to move for the second set.  Some friends of ours had gotten some great seats in the middle behind the soundboard so for the second set, that is where I spent most of my time, taking off to the stairs from time to time to catch closer shoots of the stage.

View from the stairs - mid floor

View from the stairs - mid floor

The second set started off much better with Music Never Stopped.  Bobby had apparently gotten over what was bothering him and he was extremely coherent.  Phil was in good spirits and they got the dance party started immediately.  Overall the second set was very good.  Some great jams.

Furthur @ Nokia Theater

Furthur @ Nokia Theater

They covered Ryan Adam’s “Bartering Lines” half way through the set.  Phil really let us have it with his bass on this one.  Great song.  The back up singers were soulful and when I finally recognized them in my head, I wondered why they didn’t pick up the slack on El Paso?  Hmmmm?  LOL……

Closing the second set with I Know You Rider, everyone sang along and danced.  The lyrics: Gonna miss me when I’m gone resonated with me as I stared at the stage and missed Jerry.  As I type this, I feel it must look and sound rather strange. There is such a deep emotional and nostalgic pull to that man, that even though I have never met him, never seen him live, it’s as if I have known him forever through his music.  So, I miss this ghost of a man who left his soul on earth through his music.

Furthur @ Nokia Theater

Furthur @ Nokia Theater

I was actually pretty nervous that they might not come out for an encore considering what had transpired with Bobby earlier in the show.  But, I was worried for nothing.  They played Phil’s Donor Rap and capped off the night with Uncle John’s Band. Always a crowd pleaser.

Furthur @ Nokia Theatre

Furthur @ Nokia Theatre

At the end of the show, Phil went up to Bobby and gave him a huge hug.  The audience went crazy for a good long while.  How wonderful. Love in Jerry’s spirit.  There must have been some kind of explanation that had been realized behind the scene during set break.

As the venue empties....

As the venue empties....

They pulled off a good show. I remember being happy and confused at the same time as I left the venue, overhearing all the buzz about what had occurred in the first set.  We hung outside for some time and meet up with tour buddies who spent the concert looking for tickets.  Everyone wanted to know what we saw.  The dogs and wooks were still behaving and I saw no evidence of fights.  Again, I thought that I had worried for nothing.  It was a splendid night but I still knew it was nothing without Jerry.  I look forward to meeting him in the afterlife. We are going to RAGE HEAVEN and HELL into the ground!!!

Furthur
Wed. July 28, 2010
Nokia Theatre Times Square
New York, NY

Set 1: Shakedown Street >, Brown Eyed Women, El Paso (2x 1st verse, instrumental)>, Dire Wolf, Row Jimmy, I Need a Miracle >, Bertha >, Good Lovin’

Set II: Music Never Stopped, Colors of the Rain>, Cassidy, Cold Rain and Snow, Bartering Lines, Space, Born Cross-eyed, Stella Blue, I Know You Rider

Encore: Donor Rap & Uncle John’s Band

Download: Furthur @ The Nokia Theatre Times Square (07.28.10)

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The 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:

An “Easy D” Perspective: Friday, April 30, 2010

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

(Read Easy D’s “Prologue” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Wednesday, April 28, 2010” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Thursday, April 29, 2010” here)

Canal Street (Photo by Jon Weber)

Canal Street (Photo by Jon Weber)

Although I was extremely well rested from the mega-sleep Thursday night, I did not make it out to the fairgrounds early.  We waited while one of our Krewe finally made it to the hotel after a very bad Air Tran experience.  Hey, more time to party…works for me!

Photo by Lynn Lesh

Photo by Lynn Lesh

The weather forecast for the rest of the weekend was cloudy, windy, with the chance of rain getting worse as the weekend wore on.  The storm that ravaged Nashville, Tennesse and many other places looked like it would stay north of New Orleans; Sunday might be the worst rain day.  We made allowances for the weather by throwing raincoats and ponchos into a backpack.

The Chateau Bourbon Hotel portion of my Krewe turned me on to the school bus shuttle to the Fest.  For a $17 round trip, you get door to door service to the fest in an air-conditioned school bus.  It was like being in the HOV lane!  So much better than taking a taxi.  Take note you future festers!

Photo by Derek B.

Big Chief Victor Harris the 2nd Friday @ Jazz Fest, Jazz & Heritage Stage (Photo by Derek B.)

Once out to the fairgrounds, we paused at the Jazz & Heritage stage for the Fi Yi Yi & the Mandingo Warriors.  Not the best of Indian shows.  We didn’t stay long since we were on our way to Gentilly stage anyway for the subdudes.

The Subdudes (Photo by Adam McCullough)

The Subdudes' John Magnie (Photo by Adam McCullough)

The subdudes are a great roots rock band that has been around on and off since 1987.  They are known for their sparse instrumentation with a strong emphasis on songwriting and vocal harmonies.  The current lineup consists of:

Tommy Malone – lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars

John Magnie –  vocals, organ, keyboards, accordion

Steve Amedée – vocals, tambourine, drums, percussion, electric mandolin

Tim Cook – harmony vocals, bass, percussion

Jimmy Messa – bass, guitar, vocals

Look for a club show action shots of the subdudes in a future installment.  The dudes set was excellent, left me wanting more…I knew I would see them again soon…

Steve Riley And The Mamou Playboy (Photo by Tamara Grayson)

Steve Riley And The Mamou Playboy (Photo by Tamara Grayson)

Next up: A stroll by the Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do Do stage for Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, a great Cajun band.  This is an act I have been meaning to check out for years. A special treat: three trombonists from Bonerama joined the stage during their performance!

Steve Riley’s 2008 performance at Jazz Fest earned him a Grammy Award nomination. Though he lost out to Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience Band, Riley is a musician worthy of local support and national acclaim. Zydeco music is mostly heard a little further west, but Jazz Fest is a great opportunity to check out some great local music. ~The Daily Reveille~

The Trio (Photo by David Grunfeld)

The Trio (Photo by David Grunfeld)

Time for some food!  I chose another one of my all time favorites.  My friends and I call it the Trio, but it is identified as a platter.  The Trio consists of Alligator Pie, a large Shrimp Stuffed with Crabmeat, and Fried Green Tomatoes.  Mmmm…and all for $10.

Next up: The set that I have been looking forward to for weeks: The New Orleans Social Club in the Blues tent.  This is an all-star band consisting of:

Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk) – Keyboards and Vocals

Henry Butler – Piano and Vocals

George Porter, Jr. (The Meters, etc) – Bass and Vocals

Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) – Guitar and Vocals

Raymond Weber (Dumpstaphunk) – Drums and Vocals

At the fairgrounds, in the below video, the New Orleans Social Club burns through the end of the Wild Tchopitoulas classic “Indian Red.”


If you ever get a chance to see Henry Butler perform, I urge not to walk, but run to see him.  He is a national treasure.  To give you an idea, check out this video about the recording of Honeybee for Papa Mali’s Do Your Thing album:

There was no reason to leave the Blues tent since The Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band were up next.   This husband and wife team were excellent as usual.  The band also included a couple of Burbridges:  Oteil, the bassist from The Allman Brothers Band and Kofi, keys, flute, etc. from The Derek Trucks Band.

It was very hot and extremely humid in the tent so my gang moved on.  Earlier in the day, we received word that Aretha Franklin had canceled for some undisclosed diva reason.  Late replacement:  Earth, Wind and Fire at the Acura stage!  Very nice!  After a couple of sexy soulful  tunes, my Krewe (of guys) all started looking at each other kinda funny.  We realized that we better head for the school bus and head back to the French Quarter.  A very nice day indeed.  And the weather held up!!!

Earth, Wind and Fire @ Jazz Fest 2010

Earth, Wind and Fire @ Jazz Fest 2010

Friday Evening at the Rock ‘N’ Bowl

Rock 'N' Bowl

Rock 'N' Bowl

There were lots of great music choices for Friday night club shows.  I really wanted to see 7 Walkers featuring Papa Mali and Bill Kreutzman.  They were playing a theater show opening for Gov’t Mule as well as a later show at Mardi Gras World. When I’m in New Orleans, I much prefer to go to the clubs instead of a theater.  There are so many fun clubs in New Orleans in so many different neighborhoods.  Much of the time, magical things happen when musicians go from club to club to sit in on other artist’s sets.

John Mooney at the Rock 'N' Bowl

John Mooney at the Rock 'N' Bowl

We decided to go to The Rock ‘N’ Bowl, a great music venue and bowling alley in the Mid City neighborhood.   A couple of years ago, The Rock ‘N’ Bowl moved from one location to more spacious quarters on Carrollton Ave.  The new place is much nicer for music, much more spacious and comfortable.  The lineup for the evening:  John Mooney and Bluesiana, Sonny Landreth, and Bonerama.

John Mooney is a delta, swamp, slide, Louisiana blues guitarist and singer who has called New Orleans home since 1976.  John’s trio put on a great performance while enduring the chatter that opening acts inevitably have to deal with.

Sonny Landreth @ Jazzfest 2010

Sonny Landreth @ Jazzfest 2010

Next up Lafayette Louisiana’s own Sonny Landreth, another Louisiana slide master.  I am a longtime fan of Sonny.  How big a fan?  My 12 year old Nissan Sentra sports a Sonny Landreth bumper sticker that reads ‘My Other Car is a Zydecoldsmobile’ which references Sonny’s rockin’ tune USS Zydecoldsmobile.  Sonny has a long career of collaborations with the likes of John Hiatt and the Goners (along with Sonny’s bassist David Ranson), Bonnie Raitt, Buckwheat Zydeco, Jimmy Buffett, and many others.

Grant Street Album

Grant Street Album

For this show, Sonny had his usual power trio setup with David Ranson on bass, and a drummer du jour.  Tunes in the set included Native Stepson, Port of Calling, All About You, and USS Zydecoldsmobile.  To get a sense of Sonny live, I recommend Sonny’s Grant Street live album.

Bonerama:

Lastly we all had to get ‘boned’.   Bonerama is a rock band fronted by several trombones/horns.   In addition to playing killer covers, Bonerama featured three songs in the set from their excellent recently released Hard Times EP.   Later in the show, the Bones brought up to the stage guitarist Jimmy Robinson (Woodenhead, Twangorama) for the end of the set and the encore.  Bones and guitar for Whipping Post and War Pigs!  Yeah you right!

Bonerama set list:

Bayou Betty
Cabbage Alley
Lost My House
The Ocean
Hard Times
I Got Loaded
Close The Door
Whipping Post *
Folly *

Encore: War Pigs *

Note: * w/ Jimmy Robinson on Guitar

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