RSS

Category Archives: Concerts

40 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper…

Well, wrong album…right group.

beatles_get_back_small

That’s right.  Just over 40 years ago, The Beatles recorded Get Back with a B side of Don’t Let Me Down as part of the new album that would become Let it Be.  To commerorate their collaboration with Billy Preston, they headed for the roof of the Apple Building at 3 Savile Row in London to perform a few numbers off the anticipated album.  Of course, cameras were rolling in anticipation of a clash with police, however the appropriately civil bobbies would not provide that satisfaction.  “Just shut down the noise, please”, after 42 minutes of Beatlemania.

The Beatles hadn’t performed live together since 1965, so I can imagine the startled passersby and rooftop audiences’ glee in the impromptu and one of a kind “concert”.  It also marked the beginning of the end for the most prolific band ever.  Less than a year after this dramatic rafter jam session, the fab four were individually persuing music down four separate paths.  

But for one dreary, London afternoon The Beatles made the world right and exciting.  Where is this kind of musicianship and desire to share new music from artist to fan, today?  I would love to see/hear John Mayer do a rooftop concert somewhere in Brooklyn…with Eric Clapton…in that Captain’s suit.  Ok, I digress…

The Beatles were originals and perhaps it’s just impossible to re-capture their spirit and connection to fans.  Only Paul and Ringo are left to tell the tales of the rooftop, now, as John and George are gone, as well as the great Billy Preston, who famously played the organ on Get Back. (He is left of, and behind, Paul.)

40 years.  I remember my parents talking in those increments and never being able to comprehend that time span.  Now…I see.

In May of ’69, both of these songs would be on the charts, with Get Back at #1.

  Get Back

  Don’t Let Me Down

To view the Rooftop Concert in its entirity, click here.

 

Van Update

ETA:  Here is the NY Times review of Van’s NYC show.  Just an observation….this review was all over the place.  I couldn’t get a handle on if he loved it or hated it.  Perhaps he just didn’t understand it.

Shrew has reported in.  Because of the wunderbar technology of the iPhone, I relentlessly bugged her by emailing, “Are you there yet?”,  just about every 15 minutes.  She let me know when she got on the train and again when they got to their seats.

Pretty good seats

…she sent back.  Evidence of said “pretty good seats”…

van

Who’s the ghoul in the forefront?

Anyway, while I was enthralled in watching my kid’s soccer tournament on the interwebs, an email alert pops up with the following message…

Voice is perfect!
No set list but he did 
And it stoned me
Caravan
At James infirmary (ripped it up too)
Gloria
Comfortably numb
And a town called paradise
Break
Fabulous weird little dude
And, about an hour later, this follow-up….
The Astral Weeks portion of the show was like good perfume. Heady, intoxicating and elusive, leaving you wanting more.  
More tomorrow 
Absolutely love the description.  Saturday morning she sent me this final recollection of Sweet Thing….
Infront of a backdrop pinpoint lights, Van Morrison began to strum the hypnotic melody.  Morrison is like a musical instrument of the muses and gods letting each note radiate outward from all of his being.  He is at the same time; lost in the music allowing the audiance in on his deeply personal dance with each measure and very present, conducting his orchestra with minimal twitches and hand gestures.  Each wave of music that emminated from Morrison on Sweet Thing, seemed to spread to each member of the band. The measures building to a soul filling swell seemed to swirl all around us.  The sound was deeply familiar and yet spontanious.  At one point I was transported to a younger self.  I had the impression of a warm summer night watching the song unfold under the cover of stars.

Satisfying.
I want more.

Ah yes.  As it should be.
While Shrew attended the Friday night concert, Little Deb took in the Saturday night gig.  Here is her “review”:
First, I have to admit that I was not a huge Van Morrison fan. No dislike, just uneducated. I love the Moondance album and have always loved his voice, I just never actively pursued his other music. I was even a little leary because I enjoy concerts the most when I know a lot of the songs being performed. Before a few days ago, I had never ever listened to Astral Weeks. So shoot me okay.  I remedied that by an itunes emergency download and played the album a a bunch before the concert. Beautiful music, but I still wasn’t sure how the concert would go for me. I even told the hubby that we couldn’t eat too big of a dinner or have too many glasses of wine because I wanted to stay awake. Little did I know.

I’ve been to a lot of concerts over the years and have been wowed and disappointed. Without sounding over the top here, I’ll try to explain the experience. As I said above, Van Morrison defines the term “a voice is an instrument”. Truly a genius at his craft. He changes up the songs to fit the moment.  He directs the band with hand signals and called out instructions and it all flows so damn smoothly that it’s almost unreal. It was 2 1/2 hours of musical bliss. It didn’t matter that I did not know all the songs. At the risk of sounding corny and cliched(sp), I would have been happy if he sang and the band played the damn phone book. First time I’ve ever said that.

The band was amazing – really amazing. I want to marry the violin/fiddle player. At times he played a violin virtuoso, other times some of the best country fiddle. At one point – and I wish I could remember the damn song – Van and the trumpet (I think) player did this echo thing. Van would speak/sing the words, with the other guy following one step behind. The only way to describe it simply would be sort of like “row, row, row your boat”. It was awesome. Maybe some of the educated Van fans can help me out on what the song was.

After the first set, we were told there would be a 5 minute intermission. WTF? 5 minutes. I’m wondering if that was his idea. The funny part of this was that there was the usual women’s room line 5 miles long. I had to go, so was set to miss the first few numbers of the next set. There was a woman attendant in the ladies room Demanding that the women move. “Come on ladies, just pee and get the hell out of there. Mr. Morrison’s gonna be singing soon. Move it, move it, move it.” She marched those women through there like a drill sargeant. I want to hire this woman to be at every concert I attend from here on. It worked. I was back in my seat as the beginning chords of the first song were played. Really, this woman needs to be knighted or something.

The second set was Astral Weeks in it’s entirety. Not one minute of the concert was anything less than pure musical magic. The audience sat quietly and LISTENED instead of jumping around, singing along and carrying on. That was so damn refreshing. I go to concerts to listen. Dance around and sing along at home when you won’t ruin anyone else’s experience. Really, you could hear a pin drop during the entire performance. PERFECT. And people remained seated and just gave standing O’s at the end of songs. It was almost like the audience was in awe and since I was, I bet they were too.

On a side note, a few strange things. Shrew, was this your experience?  When we got there we were informed by event employees that they had just stopped serving alcohol by request. What? Not a big deal, but strange. This was not a rowdy crowd. As we walked through to get to our seat, all the bars were putting the bottles and glasses away. So they were already set up to serve drinks and all of a sudden shut down. Then the 5 minutes only intermission thing. Perhaps a crotchety Van request at the last minute? “These people came hear to hear me sing and play and I want them in their damn seats and not wandering around getting drinks and going to the bathroom”. During the entire performance, I did not see one person get up to go to the bathroom. Really.

So, on to the songs. I did not take a pen and paper to write down the set lists. Too much work to interrupt my enjoyment. The ones I remember are Domino, And It Stoned Me, Brown Eyed Girl, Gloria, Listen to the Lion and a truly amazing rendition of Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. Seriously – Comfortably Numb. It started with a female back-up singer and was hauntingly beautiful. I think I like it better than Floyd. He also did a song that I know was a Ray Charles country song. I know he’s recorded I Can’t Stop Loving You, but it wasn’t that one. I still can’t believe that I can’t remember what it was.  Again, shrew – any help here since I know what a big twang fan you are.

I’m still scouring the internet for a concert review or a set list. The second set was Astral Weeks and some other stuff too. I think I remember almost all of the songs, just not what order. The Healing Game was in there too. And we were also graced with two encores.

Let’s just say that I was utterly and completely WOWED.

As a side note. I’ve been doing a lot of research today of Van’s stuff (which you true fans already know).  The man has covered the entire music spectrum. Which got me to thinking. I’ve read and heard other artists say that their album “will have a Van Morrison feel”. Not knocking any other artists here, but that would be totally impossible. Which Van Morrison? There is no Van mold as far as I can tell.

And MM, he did a beautiful rendition of Sweet Thing just for you.

Yea, I guess I’m a fan now.

Awesome.  Thank you both for the great descriptions and sharing your Van encounters.  You both got to experience one of the truly original masters of modern music.  So wonderful that he’s still making music that he shares with fans old and new.

P.S.  Little Deb, could the song have been What Am I Living For?

  Chuck Willis

 
 

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, Van?

van20morrison

Van the Man.

It’s been a while.  Have you missed me?  Are you cross with me?  I never meant to neglect you.  After all, you are so very important to my musical life.  I know I talked about  Into the Mystic and The Movie Hits months and months ago, but I haven’t told you lately that I love you.  Well, I do.

Tonight, in Madison Square Garden, a Music Maven proxy will be front and center to hear you deliver the sweet nectar of Astral Weeks.  While I will be thousands of miles away watching soccer on the Internet, please know that I will be there in spirit.  And, I promise to give you more of the attention you deserve.

Your Sweet Thing,

MM

  Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

 
10 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2009 in Concerts, Uncategorized, van morrison

 

Tags: , ,

John Mayer Shows Us Exactly “Where the Light Is”

On July 1st, John Mayer released his extended play CD and DVD, Where the Light Is. Basically, this high-quality DVD was a recording of Mayer’s December 8th, 2007 concert at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Now, being the Mayer lovah that I am, I downloaded the movie on iTunes and I must say, I LOVE IT. For the life of me, I can’t understand why every artist doesn’t produce a live video of a concert like this.

Johnny Boy starts off with an acoustic set that is simply brilliant in its simplicity. Perhaps my favorite of this set (and any other) is Stop This Train: I really dig the added whistling, as well.

Stop This Train

I really identify with this song. The lyrics really touch on the progression of life and the realization of aging parents and that we are ever closer to there being no buffer between us and death. He touches on that every once in a while you’re all together and everyone is there and it’s all just perfect and you just want to stop time and have it last just a while longer. But, time stops for no-one. Mayer captures it beautifully and runs the gamut of emotion from fear to happiness to contentment.

Another acoustic gem is John’s cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’, when he’s joined by guitarists David Ryan Harris and Robbie McIntosh of The Pretenders, who also has served as a session musician for Sir Paul McCartney. It is fantastic…

Free Fallin”

The cinematography in this film is awesome. There are many great angles including those from in amongst the crowd. This movie really gives you the feel of a concert without the hassle of getting good tickets, parking, fighting the crowds and bad sound. While I try to make several concerts a year, I just can’t make all the ones I’d like to, but putting up $12.99 for a kick ass, high quality, extended set concert that I can watch on my HDTV? Done. I would like to see other artists begin to produce concert movies like CDs, particularly when the concert is as good as this one.

After the acoustic set, John brings on Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino, who are part of the John Mayer Trio to go down and dirty blues and jazz.

Who Did You Think I Was?

He also performs the great Hendrix anthem Bold as Love with the trio with a very heartfelt introduction, as well as some pretty frank dialogue in the middle about living his life and love — that “gotcha back kind of love”

Bold As Love

Lastly, Mayer brings his entire band on to complete the concert with many hits from Continuum and otherwise. Perhaps my favorite is the I’ve Got Dreams to Remember intro into Gravity:

The film/concert is a little over 2.5 hours and is definitely a keeper. Mayer shows his depth of talent and his obvious intelligence and sincerity in his music. To me, Mayer’s viability as a contemporary artist is directly correlated with his ability to evolve and expand his music into various genres and styles and to be “all about the music”.

The CD/DVD live concert release will be a nice tune up to his upcoming CD of new material, which will include All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye. Here is a short sample:

If you’re looking to attend a great concert (over and over again), I strongly recommend purchasing the movie, Where The Light Is. Once again, Johnny Boy does not disappoint.

The “Where The Light Is” tracklisting is as follows:

Acoustic Set:
1. Neon
2. Stop This Train
3. In Your Atmosphere (L.A. Song)
4. Daughters
5. Free Fallin’

Trio Set:
6. Everyday I Have The Blues
7. Wait Until Tomorrow
8. Who Did You Think I Was
9. Come When I Call
10. Good Love Is On The Way
11. Out Of My Mind
12. Vultures
13. Bold As Love

Band Set:
14. Waiting On The World To Change
15. Slow Dancing In A Burning Room
16. Why Georgia
17. The Heart Of Life
18. I Don’t Need No Doctor
19. Gravity
20. I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)
21. Belief
22. I’m Gonna Find Another You

 

Jazz Fest, Part Deux

So, this weekend is the final weekend of JazzFest in New Orleans. As I related in last week’s post, the schedule is jam-packed with talent. On Thursday, we missed Tower of Power, Betty LaVette, Ruby Wilson, and Widespread Panic, not to mention Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys…and I imagine the hit of the night was Randy Newman’s Louisiana 1927.

Friday’s star-studded line-up includes: Brett Dennen, the incomparable John Prine, family favorite Theryl “The Houseman” deClouet and the great Little Stevie Wonder.

Livin’ for the City

On Saturday, the A T & T Blue Room will be broadcasting live from Jazz Fest. I watched it last year and it was a blast. If you’re looking for a little virtual entertainment this weekend, tune into The Blue Room. You might catch the Marcia Ball, Diana Krall, MM favorite Geno Delafose, Aaron Neville in the Gospel Tent, and the piece de resistance….the one, the only….Jimmy Buffett. Naturally, there will be thousands of Parrotheads rockin’ and a reelin’ to the consummate Gulf Coast Boy.

Margaritaville

Jazz Fest winds up on Sunday with Sonny Landreth, The Radiators, The Raconteurs, Keb Mo, and closes out with the Derek Trucks Band and the hometown reunion of The Neville Brothers.

Big Chief

I’m off to Philadelphia, MS for a little R&R, so have a great weekend and catch the The Blue Room broadcast, if you can.

Peace out.

 

Jazz Fest Opens Today!

The 39th Annual Jazz Fest opens today to gorgeous skies and springtime excitement in New Orleans. If you ever get the chance to attend one of the weekends of Jazz Fest, do it. There’s no better time in New Orleans. It’s generally a time of joie de vivre, but this year seems particularly special as many New Orleans residents, like Aaron Neville, are finally home and the debacle of Katrina is ebbing some. The Spring continues to bring new growth in flora and fauna, as well as re-built homes and lives with more people and businesses popping up all over the place.

Here’s a sampling of today’s performers….

Gone, Gone, Gone — Robert Plant & Allison Krause

featuring T-Bone Burnett

Earlier Bagdad

Drunken Angel, Susan Cowsill Band

Kim Carson

Angel from Montgomery, Theresa Andersson Group

and the star attraction for tonight’s set, Sheryl Crow (with a nice little NOLA homage):

Love is Free

and on the other stages, a few MM favorites….

The Iguanas

The Zydepunks

Doyle Bramhall, featuring C.C. Adcock (a Lafayette boy):

C. C. Adcock

Ellis Marsalis

Buckwheat Zydeco

Bruce Daigrepont (a great profile that gives you the essence of a Cajun)

Tab Benoit

Terrence Simien (another great Cajun example)

Of course, there is always great Gospel, as well:

Paul Porter & The Christianaires

Should be a great weekend for sun and fun in The Big Easy. Next weekend, AT&T will carry portions of Jazz Fest Live at The Blue Room, so check it out.

 

Shine A Light…Let’s Try This Again

Ok, despite the YouTube promotion debacle, we’re going to try this again.

I’m starting to get a little excited about the Scorcese Rockumentary, Shine A Light, documenting the Rolling Stones’ Beacon Theatre Concert in ’06. (Even Bill Clinton attended….)

Now, admittedly, I’m not a huge Stones fan as I have thought that they were overrated and over-tauted over the years. I really felt that they rode the coattails of The Beatles and that they never were of the same caliber. However….I have to say that after watching the trailers and some of the videos from Shine A Light, I have a new respect for The Rolling Stones.

Consider this…these guys are nearly qualified for Social Security, I mean, if they were American citizens. At 64, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are simply unbelievable. I have evidenced first hand that many in the Boomer generation are “not your father’s Oldsmobile”, but The Stones are phenomenal. 64, people. That is nearly 20 years my senior.

And, oh so clevah….notice on this YouTube vid who the author is. They don’t restrict embedding. No…they want us to post away. SSSSmmmmarrrttttt.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

On Shattered, the lads show that they are still a force to be reckoned with, thoroughly entertaining perhaps the third generation since they began. Keith Richards sums it up in this short interview clip:

Mick Jagger commands the audience, once again, with Some Girls:

Funny aside regarding Keith Richards. Last weekend, Mini-DD had a friend over and we were watching Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End, when I aptly pointed out to the incredulous teenagers that Captain Teague was the lead guitarist for The Rolling Stones:

Richards is an institution in himself. Even though Lefsetz thinks Keith is a sell-out, I don’t think there’s any such thing. Make some money, Keith. We know where your heart is.

Personally, I think this blues clip of Satisfaction says it all…

or this duet with Norah Jones on Gram Parsons’ Love Hurts:

 
9 Comments

Posted by on April 6, 2008 in Concerts, music legends, soundtracks, YouTube

 

The Queen of Soul…One Girl’s Perspective

aretha.jpg

Many a young girl (and old ones, as well) have belted out Aretha Franklin’s anthems like Chain of Fools, Never Loved a Man and House That Jack Built with fervor and passion, playacting at commanding an audience the way the Queen does.

One such mini-Ree is our own Shrew. This uber-fan of the Queen realized a dream and was able to attend Aretha’s concert in NYC, at Radio City Music Hall, no less.

aretha-ticket.jpg

Image Courtesy of Shrew

Rather than me trying to inadequately relay the experience, here it is straight from the horse’s mouth:

Imagine yourself walking through the fabulous streets of New York City…not the gritty streets of the 70′s and 80′s , but the lush sparkling streets of midtown in the 60′s.
The lush New York of Holly Go-Lightly…

The sophisticated city of May and Nichols…

The controversial vibe of Dylan and Cafe Waa…

and one site you would likely see is

The Queen of Soul, the Empress of Music…sold out for a two night engagement at the world famous Radio City Music Hall. But, this is 2008, right?

Not so for this gal, for one night it was 1966 and I was seeing Aretha.
The energy was electric as we walked into the beautiful Radio City Music Hall.

I wasn’t sure if it was my excitement or the design of the interior, but everything I saw assumed this golden rose hue. If you have never been to Radio City Music Hall you must understand that no detail is without the grace and beauty of art deco influences.
From the etched “Rockettes Glass” overseeing the main lobby…

 to the grand mural along the master stairwell.

Even the bathroom looks like a set from a Fred and Ginger movie…

There are Rockettes even waiting to take you back to your seat…

So we made our way to the doors. As we approached the full glow of the stage radiated through the door into the hall.

And the doors opened….

The full splendor of Radio City can not be told through words and pictures. The grandure of the space is lost. I was pleased to see despite being in the second to last row on the third mezz. our view of the stage was terrific.
The place filled up rather quickly. The crowd was a melange of young packs of twenty-somethings to couples reliving there 1960′s memories. The atmosphere equaled a gospel revival…reverant and jublient all in the same breath.
The lights dimmed and the funky pulse of a tight ensamble pierced the air. Then the lights lifted…

The crowd bubbled with anticipation as the band limbered up…then THE moment.
A legend is announced~
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the EMPRESS OF MUSIC, AREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETHA FRAAAAAAANKLIN.”


The music vamped for a while and from stage right she walked on, giving a few saucy side bobs of her head and then headed center stage.

And then…She sang. Those first few notes hit my ears and my heart lept. Vibrations of sound that she was making, left her throat and traveled through the air directly connecting with my ears. At first all I heard was emotion; pure energy and soul heaped out of one being and offered up to hundreds.
My eyes welled, was I really hearing the same woman as she sang that I danced to when I was four? That I grooved to when I was 15? That I made countless others listen to when I was 20? That I sang with at the top of my lungs while I drove to work the day before? Live, here, now, in front of me, sounding every bit the woman I have heard on record all my life.
Then in an instant: I was present hearing what Aretha was singing, “Your Love is Lifting Me Higher” as if an ode to each and everyone of us who continue to love her. Aretha shifted to a rendition of My Funny Valentine that was bluesy and introspective. Then she went back to one of my favorite songs…her number one hit cover of Don’t Play That Song.

Now, if you have come to read the set list I will disappoint you…I stink at getting them. I do know, she made Moody’s Mood For Love a worthy inclusion for the set, gliding effortlessly through each vocal obsticle slung her way.
And then before I knew what was happening…”bada-bang, bada-bang, bada-bang, bada-bang. HOO- What you want? Hoo-Baby I got it” Radio City errupted…all jumped to their feet enmass to groove. All, excpet for the guy sitting next to me. Dude? Really? You can sit through one of the most electric songs ever? I guess so because he just sat clapping together his finger tips in time like he was listening to a Bach concert. Weird no? All I could think is he MUST be bad in bed.
Ms. Franklin welcomed to the stage Ali-Ollie Woodson of Temptation fame to “take us to church” with some gospel. And we went to church. One word for Aretha and gospel…resplendent!

Halfway through the show, Aretha welcomed her seventeen year old son KeCalf, a christian hip-hop artist onto the stage. He did a yoeman’s job of performing while his mother rested. The two songs felt long and I was accutely aware of the crowd’s discomfort. As a treat, Ms. Franklin sang Chain of Fools upon return.

All in all the evening was all I wished…then the strains of Old Landmark began and Aretha and crew raised the roof. All concerned were out of our seats and boogying on down

“Shouting, shouting, shouting, shouting…Stay in the service of the Lord.”

and off she went…stage right.

Clapping… and many vamps of the band.

On she came…

The encore she chose was the seasonal, Berlin’s Easter Bonnet. As she sang, you could not help but feel this one song was more for her than for us. That fact did not deminish the enjoyment of the simple melody and wish.
Soul, Gospel, Jazz, Contemporary R&B, American Standard…why indeed…Empress of Music is accurate.

90 minutes…much much too short.

Fabulous.

 

 

 

Click here for video. Take that Beyonce’.

 

An Aaron Neville Christmas

an11.jpg

While I wish the secret Santa would have been Van the Man, we got the next best thing. One of my favorites…

Aaron Neville. Joined by his little big brother, Charles and his Quintet. At the beautiful Saenger Theatre in Mobile, Alabama.

charles-neville.jpg

We were on the third row just right of center in a full house. The opening act was a local public high school choir, LeFlore Preparatory.

leflore-group.jpg

They were very good and quite moving. Their opening number was a very spirited African song that really set the positive tone of the evening.

leflore-choir.jpg

They featured several solos that were all simply lovely. It was really quite inspiring to watch these enthusiastic, young people obviously committed to music.

img_3671.jpg

After an hour, the announcer came out and welcomed Aaron Neville. Now, Aaron is a literal mountain of a man. At 66, he is buff and looks a full 25 years younger.

an111.jpg

He opened with I Don’t Know Much and thanked his duet partner on that song, Linda Ronstadt, at its conclusion. Next came Stand By Me and Ain’t No Sunshine. In doing a little pre-concert research, I found out that these two songs, in particular had become special prayers for Aaron Neville.

Our local paper had a write up on the Aaron Neville concert on Friday. In that article, Aaron stated that this mini-tour was helping him get over the loss of his wife of 48 years to lung cancer last January. I had no idea.

Aaron Neville married Joel Roux (pronounced Jo-el) in 1959 when she was 18 and he was 17. His mother actually signed their marriage license because he was not of legal age. Through substance abuse, a prison stint, a rollercoaster career and four children, Joel was his best friend. He credits her with saving his life by throwing him out in the early years of their marriage and calls her his backbone. Dedicated Catholics, they both credited prayer and St. Jude with saving Aaron and turning their lives around.

Their life was anything but easy. Even after his 1966 hit, Tell It Like It Is, wealth and fame were illusive. Aaron supported his family by working the docks at the Port of New Orleans. Eventually, he started a band with his brothers and concentrated on the funky, back beat music of the Mardi Gras Indians, which is part of his heritage. His Warm Your Heart album was wildly successful as a solo effort and life got a lot easier for the Neville family.

Joel finally retired from her 20-year career at Charity Hospital of New Orleans and joined Aaron as informal Ambassadors for New Orleans and found a special place in the music industry with the fabulous rhythms of the Neville family, including The Meters, the Wild Tchoupitoulas, and of course, The Neville Brothers Band. All was really good until 2004, when Joel was diagnosed with lung cancer. Through prayer, radiation and chemotherapy, she went into remission. And then…Hurricane Katrina.

Aaron and Joel Neville lost their home and all of their possessions, as did many of their family. Aaron was in New York, on tour, when Katrina hit and has gone to New Orleans only once since the storm — to bury his dear wife. He has an asthma condition now that he feels would be exacerbated by living in New Orleans and the unknown environmental hazards that may be lurking. He also didn’t want to risk Joel’s fragile health by being in such a risky environment. However, he never abandoned New Orleans and has done dozens of benefit concerts to raise money for musicians and the people of the city, at large.

In November, the Nevilles announced that they will be back to play the 2008 JazzFest in April. It is a long awaited return that many residents view as a milestone in the recovery. It should be quite a joyous occasion, however I’m sure that for Aaron it will provide a stinging reminder of loss and what is missing. Great and enduring loves — particularly those who overcome adversity and trials — generally leave a gaping void when one is gone and the other is left to carry on.

While it was thrilling to see Aaron Neville on Sunday night, there was a certain pall and sadness to him. In particular, when he sang Amazing Grace….

an99.jpg

Now, Aaron makes no bones about his faith. He’s Catholic to the core. He’s tatted up with crucifixes (including one on his cheek) and the face of Jesus on his huge bicep. He wears a St. Jude medal for an earring as a simple reminder of how a “hopeless case” can be redeemed.

I know the feeling.

However, my symbol is a little bigger and has more attitude. He had on a crucifix necklace as well as a rosary and an Our Lady of Guadalupe t-shirt. Being Catholic ourselves, we totally get Big Aaron. He’s thankful to God for saving his life and uses these outward symbols to proclaim his love of Christ to the world…and to maybe influence others in need. Perhaps that’s why is his music is so particularly lovely.

He sang for over two hours and didn’t clutter the performance with much chatter at all. He just really went to work and gave us great music. A few of the highlights:

Tell It Like It Is

It’s Alright

Please Come Home for Christmas

Silent Night

A Change Gonna Come

O Holy Night

Here are a few pictures I took from the show:

an22.jpg

an33.jpg

an44.jpg

an55.jpg

an77.jpg

an1010.jpg

quintet.jpg

After the show, Big Mike, the keyboardist was out at the front of the stage talking to folks. Mr. D. had bought a fleur de lis Aaron Neville hat before the concert to support New Orleans and the re-building (because we’re loyal like dat) and we asked Mike if he could get Aaron to sign it. He said sure and got Jason the Roadie to go back stage. Within two minutes, we had our keepsake.

an-hat.jpg

 
 

Guess Who?….

Went to a great concert last night….more to come.

silouette.jpg

 
10 Comments

Posted by on December 10, 2007 in christmas, Concerts

 
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.