Jazz Fest Day Six: Bruce Springsteen with Special Guests, Dr. John Tribute, Late Night Hip-Hop and More
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band were joined by special guests John Fogerty and Ricki Lee Jones for their over two-and-a-half hour headlining performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival yesterday. Springsteen kicked off the highly anticipated show with “High Hopes,” the title track on his latest album. The set then moved into classics like “Johnny 99,” “Badlands” and a “Hungry Heart” sing-along before Jones joined the fray for the E Street Band’s first-ever rendition of Henry Thomas’ “John Henry.” The band then worked their way into a version of Blind Alfred Reed’s “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?” with alternate lyrics that referenced Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Jones returned to the stage for a cover of the Fisk Jubilee Singers’ “Mary Don’t You Weep” toward the end of the set, which also saw Rage Against the Machine guitarist and recent E Street Band collaborator Tom Morello share vocal duties with The Boss on “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”
After exiting the stage for a brief moment, Springsteen and co. returned with special guest John Fogerty in tow for a pair of Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes—“Green River” and “Proud Mary.” The sit-in was followed by hits like “Born to Run” and “Dancing in the Dark” before the band paid their respects to New Orleans with “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Finally, the show came a close with a powerful “Thunder Road.”
While Springsteen’s third Jazz Fest set since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in 2005 was without a doubt the highlight of the day, the festival also featured plenty of other great acts. The Revivalists impressed in front of a packed crowd at the Samsung Galaxy Stage and the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars held things down before The Boss’ set on the Acura Stage. Meanwhile, Henry Butler, Steven Bernstein and The Hot 9 laid down some top-notch jazz over at the Blues Tent.
As the day came to close, everyone’s attention then turned to the myriad after shows that popped up around town. One event in particular—a hard-to-believe tribute to the great Dr. John at the Saenger Theatre—saw a slew of special guests pay their respects to the legendary New Orleans musician. To everyone’s surprise, the first of those guests was Springsteen himself, who joined Dr. John for a rendition of his classic “Right Place Wrong Time.” Things stayed at that level for the rest of the show, as artists such as Aaron Neville, Allen Toussaint, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Warren Haynes, Widespread Panic, Mavis Staples, John Fogerty, Chuck Leavell, Anders Osborne, Bill Kreutzmann, Jason Isbell, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and more all took the stage over the course of the night. Throughout the night, Don Was led the evening’s house band. Unfortunately, confirmed guest Gregg Allman backed out of the performance following his recent wrist injury at Live Oak, FL’s Wanee Festival and the cancellation of his Australian tour.
Meanwhile, independent Brooklyn record label Royal Potato Family was busy celebrating its fifth birthday with a sold out show at the Blue Nile. The event saw Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey—who are currently celebrating a 20th birthday of their own—play a set of old and new material before Marco Benevento and his long-standing trio of Dave Dreiwitz and Andy Borger worked their way through an exciting set. The group was joined by Mike Dillon Band and Yojimbo trombonist Carly Meyers for “The Real Morning Party,” while Superhuman Happiness saxophonist Stuart Bogie sat in for “Limbs of a Pine” and JFJO pianist Brian Haas appeared for an encore rendition of Deerhoof’s “Twin Killers.”
Other late night shows included a co-headlining gig from Thievery Corporation and Galactic, with the latter act getting some help from singer Maggie Koerner, as well as old friends Chali 2na and Mr. Lif. The hip-hop vibe carried over to the Howlin’ Wolf, where Talib Kweli was busy performing with Eric Krasno, Adam Deitch and others, while The Roots’ Rahzel joined The Soul Rebels for a set of De La Soul tunes and Wu Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck performed with Break Science.
The night also saw Anders Osborne, Bill Kreutzmann, Paul Barrere, Fred Tackett and Billy Iuso team up for the first of a pair of special “Dead Feat” shows at the Republic, while Drive-By Truckers also took the stage at the Civic Theater and the New Mastersounds played a marathon set from 1am until sunrise at the House of Blues.