New Orleans

It’s Fat Tuesday

James Gandolfini in the Bacchus parade
James Gandolfini in the Bacchus parade

So me lady and I went to see the Dirty Dozen Brass Band on Sunday night. Amazing performance! Treat yourself the next time these guys make it to your town. A highlight for me was a version of the gospel standard “I’ll Fly Away” which morphed into the tail end of – get this – “Purple Rain!” I tell you, the purple guy follows me everywhere. They picked it up at the part where they sing “ooooooh-ohhhh”(you know, where Prince has everyone wave their arms from side to side). The only other place I was more shocked to hear “Purple Rain” was when Phish pulled it out at the Hayden Square Ampitheater in Tempe back in ol’ ninety-five (complete with a Jon Fishman vacuum solo).

Back to the DDBB, four out of the seven members have been there since day one way back in 1977. I was digging the Sousaphone, which sounded a helluva lot like a bass guitar at times (and which took the place of the bass guitar) . Really cool sound. And the four guys up front – Revert Andrews on trombone, Efrem Towns on trumpet (one charismatic motherhumper), Kevin Harris on tenor sax, and my wife’s favorite, Roger Lewis on low down baritone sax (the world needs more baritone sax). It’s quite an experience to see and feel a New Orleans brass band in person. All of those great brass instruments working as one, but so unique and distinct at the same time. What an assault on the senses!

Another first for me was the crowd we shared the performance with. I would guess 80% of the audience was over the age of 65. I guess they were all donors to the Performing Arts Center, and people who buy tickets for the entire concert season. But rest assured, by the time they wrapped up the show with “My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now”, everyone’s butt was off their seat, with or without a cane or walker… Respect to my elders!! Good times were had.

So happy Fat Tuesday to all. Right now, they’re getting down and dirty on Bourbon Street. There’s a live webcam going where you can view all of the debauchery of Bourbon St. from the comfort of your computer chair. I checked in around 6pm, and there was already a young lady exchanging boob-age for beads. So you’re bound to get some quality entertainment throughout the evening.

So crank up some Mardi Gras music, grab a drink, and join the armchair revelers…

Snooks Eaglin: Mardi Gras Mambo (mp3) – from Country Boy Down in New Orleans

Charmaine Neville: Second Line (mp3) – from New Orleans Playground

Professor Longhair: Go to the Mardi Gras (mp3) – from Go To the Mardi Gras

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