Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Furthur/Back Porch Orchestra/Warren Haynes Band

I was able to catch the Furthur show on November 8 at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. This was the fifth show on their fall tour, the last time I was at JPJ it was to see the Dead in 2009. This is a nice arena because it's small, it's on a university campus, and I always like hanging in Charlottesville. As I've said before here, Furthur continues to improve as time goes on and this show was no disappointment. What was really special for me was the inclusion of Pink Floyd's "Time" (from Dark Side of the Moon) in the second set. It really blew my mind, or maybe it was the cookies and punch that I had in the parking lot before the show?  Whatever, by the "Time" they kicked into that song I was comfortably numb. They also did a couple of Dylan tunes ("Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", "It's All Over Now Baby Blue") which are always fun.

I was in North Carolina for the weekend and my cousin took me to hear a local band called Back Porch Orchestra. Just four players (guitar, mandolin, bass, and singer) they were quite good, playing a mix of covers (Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty) and original songs. I'll have to keep them on my radar and hopefully see them again soon.

I raced back from North Carolina to get to the Fillmore in Silver Spring to catch the Warren Haynes Band. I made it in time to hear the last of the first set and all of the second set. Warren has formed this band and released an album as a tribute to his love for soul music, we saw them at the All Good Festival and this show was the last show on their tour. The addition of singer Alecia Chakour has made their vocal sound stronger. They did do some great soul tunes, including Sly Stone's "Let Me Have it All", Mother's Finest "Baby Love" and the Sam Cooke classic "A Change is Gonna Come". Then they started rocking things up with Jimi Hendrix's "Spanish Castle Magic" and Steely Dan's "Pretzel Logic".  During the encore, which of course included Warren's "Soulshine" they sequed into Van Morrison's "Tupelo Honey". This was truly a magical musical moment, I think all of the players were inspired trying to make this last show really special. A special nod of appreciation goes to sax player Ron Holloway (from Takoma Park). I think if the Stones ever need a replacement for Bobby Keys, Ron is their man. The Fillmore is starting to work through some of the initial issues that I had with this venue, like no good beer on the menu and a little too much "corporate presence" from the Live Nation folks. The sound is great and look forward to more/better shows in the future.

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