(Jason Lent has forsaken the island paradise of Hawaii to follow us around for a few months. I have happily placed the tour diary in his capable hands. It should bring a new perspective to our ramblings.)
Headed straight for the French Quarter as I rolled into New Orleans. It was crawfish etouffee for lunch followed by beignets and café au lait at the legendary Café du Monde. The not always pleasant smell in the streets, the aging, colorful buildings and the sagging balconies give New Orleans a personality all its own. There is no shortage of voodoo shops and graveyards in this old pirate town.
Tonight’s show was held at a juke joint that first opened in 1977. Not much had changed inside since then. Tipitina’s was named one of the top 40 music venues in the United States by Paste Magazine. Longevity is sometimes mistaken for importance. The skies opened during soundcheck and then as the rain moved on, a rainbow came down on the roof of the club. In a town steeped in superstitions, I took it as a good sign for the night ahead.
The show was loud, aggressive at the right times, and subdued when the music demanded space to breathe. The musical crayons sometimes strayed outside the lines but it only added to the unique evening. The acoustic set wrapped with ‘River Waltz’ and the acoustic guitar went directly into the intro to ‘Bea’s Song’ and a new arrangement of the trilogy was born with Al and Pete remaining still until the solo. When they came in, the undercurrent of the song began to quicken and built into a tense ‘Dragging Hooks’.
A late night excursion to Bourbon Street provided some well earned R&R for the band’s might crew of two. Generous pours or rum fueled the exploration of a quiet Monday in the French Quarter. There were more beignets and coffee at Café du Monde as the clock pushed past 2am and Bourbon Street began to dwindle down to only bad decisions waiting to happen. It was time to go home.