Jazz Fest Thursday 4/28
Heavy rain was in the forecast for today so we headed straight for the blues tent while there were still plenty of seats available. The Southern University Jazzy jags were on stage - it was a large school band with 2 lead singers. I got some food to bring in ( Meaty white beans, Trout baquet and sweet potato pie) so we were set for a while. The rain started right on schedule, so Spencer Bohren got play to a much larger audience than usual - there's always an upside to everything. The band included his son on drums, a woman named Aurora on accordion and clarinet, Alex McMurray on guitar, plus bass and B3. They played mostly upbeat blues songs, some ballads, ( one where the son took a turn on piano) and a moving song about the impact of Katrina, called the Long Black Line ( referencing the water marks on all the buildings). Hard to believe it's been 10 years already! At times the rain was so loud it sounded like applause, and you could see water gushing over the sides of the tent, so we were in a good place.
Next up was Geno Delafose and French Rockin Boogie, a zydeco band I've seen numerous times at festivals back home. Normally they would not play in the Blues tent, because that venue does not usually allow dancing - if you even get up to take pictures, security hurries you back to your seat. I am not sure why they booked them there instead of Fais Do Do. If it weren't for the rain I wouldn't even have gone to the tent to see Geno, how can you sit still for that music? However, there were enough people determined to dance that they broke the rules and all the corners of the tent were bopping and two-stepping to the zydeco grooves of Uncle Bud, Johnny Billie Goat, Jongle a Moi and more. They also had a much bigger audience due to the weather and featured other band members doing material I haven't heard them do before. The bass player sang a really nice version of Tell it Like it Is, and the guitarist and rub-board player also took turns singing.
At the end of the set the sun came out, but I wanted to see Meschiya Lake again, because most bands kick it up a notch for their Jazz Fest set. The band we had seen at the Patry was augmented by 2 swing dancers, and a couple of extra horns, and she looked like a tattooed Rosie the Riveter. I liked her version of Indian Red, and her version of Que Sera Sera almost brought tears to my eyes because I remember my mother singing that song when I was a kid.
When we left the tent we headed over to Gentilly to see Brandi Carlile. They were playing the hit " Wherever is your Heart" when we approached. She looked so excited to be there, I think it was her first time playing the Jazz Fest. The ground was wet and muddy and she kept thanking the audience for hanging in there, they didn't seem to mind. The band was great and also added some really nice harmonies, especially on the song "the Eye" . She mostly sang but also played guitar and piano and looked really cool,with her headband. It was a really engaging performance, best of the day IMO.
After Brandi we headed over to get some Crawfish Monica then try out the bleachers at Acura for Tedeschi Trucks. The bleachers are a new addition to the fairgrounds which they put up to alleviate the crowding of chairs on the track on busy days. It was nice because we didn't bring chairs this day (as we spent so much time in the tent) and it was cloudy so not too hot, and not crowded so we didn't have to climb up. It was really far back but the sound was good and you could see the screens. I've seen Susan Tedeschi before but not with this band.
They were great with a horn section, and I love her soulful bluesy singing. After about 45 minutes they brought out some special guests, Jimmie Vaughan ("Let the a good times Roll" , "I Like it like that" ) the Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top joined them for a few, including a tribute to BB King. skies threatening again, I started making my way out a little after 6 pm, but stopped by Economy Hall to hear a little of Tuba Skinny.
We lucked out and got right on a bus and were back at the hotel by 7:20. My feet were hurting from walking around in rain boots all,day so didn't go back out except around the corner for a bite to eat.