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Tribute to Dr. John: Such a night in New Orleans

A tribute to Dr. John live show

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A night filled with music legends was showcased at the Saenger Theatre May 3, 2014, in New Orleans during the second weekend of Jazz Fest. The show was called “The Musical Mojo of Dr. John.” The highlight was an unannounced appearance by the “Boss,” Bruce Springsteen! Once the show was announced, it was sold out immediately because it was apparent that this was going to be a Jazz Fest highlight.

Bruce Spingsteen
Bruce Spingsteen© MF Andrews

The show got a late start, but finally NBC anchorman, Brian Williams, stood in front of the curtain to introduce the show. “I’ve seen rehearsal and you are in for a special treat!” The first song was sung by, none other than, Bruce Springsteen and Dr. John. They sang a walloping version of the “Right Place, Wrong Time” From there the show was non-stop. The audience roared.

The show was being taped for a future DVD release. There was very little banter between the acts. There seemed to be a lack of cohesion during the first set. Dr. John performed on only a few songs. The two-set show alternated between guest artists and local favorites. Most of the performers only did one song. Here are some more highlights. Blind Boys of Alabama did a medley including “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.” Anders Osborne and Bill Kruesmann (drummer for The Dead) performed “Somebody Changed The Lock.” Irma Thomas was radiant as she sang “Since I Fell For You.” John Boutte, Allen Toussaint, and Jason Isbell delivered fine performances. Set one closed with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux’s “Big Chief.”

The second set opened with Widespread Panic giving a rousing rendition of “How Come My Dog Don’t Bark (When You Come Around)?” Mavis Staples” “Lay My Burden Down” had the audience out of their seats. Warren Haynes and John Fogerty delivered as well. For a set list, click here.

The second set had more cohesion and more of a tribute “flavor.” A producer of the show emerged from the wings with Dr John and an oversize check. The $5,200 check, the producer said, was a donation to the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. Dr. John, however, said the money would be used to bury his "podna." His "podna" was Larry Bannock, Big Chief of the Golden Star Hunters Mardi Gras Indians. "I just want to be able to bury our podna, Larry Bannock,"

Dr. John finished the show with an all-star encore of “Iko, Iko,” This was a night to be remembered always.For more information on Dr John, click here.