5/10/2008 - Paramount Theater, Denver, CO
HOT FUCKING TUNA:
Trial By Fire
Living Just For You
Can’t Get Satisfied
Ode To Billy Dean
I See The Light
How Long Blues
Talkin’ ‘Bout You
I Wish You Would
I Know You Rider
Corners Without Exits
Rock Me Baby
(setlist from jormakaukonen.com)
Time Loves A Hero >
Day Or Night
Keeping Up With The Joneses
Rag Mama Rag
Don't Bogart That Joint >
16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought Six
Dixie Chicken (with Jorma during the jam!)
The Blues Don't Tell It All
On Your Way Down
Let It Roll
E: Feats Don't Fail Me Now (with Bill McKay of Leftover Salmon on additional keys)
(setlist from featbase.net)
A very fun Saturday night at the Paramount, enjoying the show with Posthead and my visiting friend SK (who was here for the Phil shows). A very good listening crowd too: There was one case of a couple talking behind us at the beginning of "Funky #7" and Posthead politely asked to save it for the intermission, and the couple quickly complied and with apology.
I was wondering how Tuna fared, because I always felt they work best in clubs and smaller theaters. But bless Jorma, Jack, Barry and Erik for giving it what they got, because the crowd got more into Tuna as the set kept progressing. For me, standouts of the set included the subtle-but-intense "Ode To Billy Dean", an incidiary take of "I See The Light", and a hard-hitting "Talkin' 'Bout You".
The only quirk about the mix was that Erik Diaz' drums could have been miked more in the cymbals, but at the same time -- as Posthead pointed out -- it also had a hushed old-school tone, so it added an "old" feel to the band's dynamics.
Thinking about the version with Sally Van Meter on Sunday night, when the band started up "I Wish You Would," I told Posthead, "Thursday night's was fucking killer...this will be only killer!" Jorma set out to prove me wrong, as this was another humdinger. Whoever says Jorma does not take long solos anymore...Jorma was peeling off authorative runs. Oh yes, Barry had his solos, but Jorma really kicked in and just played...all four were simply playing good and hard, in that no-BS fashion which I simply dig. Natrually, the crowd ate up "I Know You Rider", with both Barry and Jack shining, especially the last 30 seconds of his solo. The superb quality set was capped with another deep & heavy "Rock Me Baby", and a fine workout of "Funky #7" where again Jorma was putting in extra time on his Gibson red Epiphone. Again, anyone who says Jorma does not play leads anymore...well, he damn sure was last night, folks! The band left to a standing ovation...and I smiled throughout the set as the crowd was getting into it, especially on tunes I bet a good portion really didn't know.
I had been sour on Little Feat for quite some time, perhaps too much so, because their set was of very fine quality too, and significantly better that I anticipated. I'm still not a fan of Shaun Murphy's vocals, but I have to be fair: Her two songs were professionally done and were well received, and she did vocally interact well with guitarist Paul Barerre and keyboardist Billy Payne, who was excellent all night.
The rhythm section remains well intact, with Richie Hayward throwing various rhythms with a master's control, augmented by Sam Clayton's percussion bits and Kenny Gradney's slick-but-rooted bass.
Perhaps the change I've noticed is how much Feat is trying to be a jam band, as there were extended workouts on songs like the driving "Day or Night", a spirited take of the Band's "Rag Mama Rag" and of course, Dixie Chicken, which the band invited Jorma out (yay!!!!) for the beginning, then during the jam segment where separate players would be featured individually, Jorma had a very cool three minute solo segment, backed by Billy Payne. I also have to give props to the set-ending "Let It Roll", which probably went seven or eight strong minutes. I thought I would miss Craig Fuller here, but the overall band performance was very sound: In fact, it was probably better than any version I caught in the Craig Fuller years.
However, if there is a comment, while Feat made a change in direction that largely benefits them, for me it somewhat almost dragged "Willin'". Some songs are meant to be played and serviced -- and without extra solos. However, while I felt Willin' could have been edited by a good minute or so, it still was plenty of fun, and I guess that's the bottom line. A grindy-yet-bouncy "Feats Don't Fail Me Now" capped a fine quality evening of music where both bands received 90 minutes, but I'd say Feat was closer to 100 minutes.
Bottom line...good bang for the buck tonight, and I am glad to be somewhat proven wrong on today's Little Feat. While it'll never be Lowell, there was plenty of drive and verve where it would be unfair to just call them a "nostalgia act." While a portion clearly is, this version is doing enough that they clearly have developed a post-Lowell idendity which they are clearly comfortable with. It worked well enough for me: I won't be dismissing them like I have in the recent past. (Note: While they're playing the Boulder Theater tonight, after three shows in a row, this old man needs to take it slow and is respectfully passing -- if I had a "day off", I would likely go otherwise).
One other note: We had nice balcony seats. There are times I can be a pain-in-the-ass seat snob, but I really liked the Paramount's balcony. We had a very nice stage view and solid acoustics.
Many thanks to Posthead for getting the tix, and more, for his Posthead-Ness.
Correction: "On Your Way Down" was not played last night! I had copied the setlist, but I am certain it was not played...the band was probably running out of time in their slot, hence it was not played.
Down on the Farm instead of "Keeping up with the Joneses".
Too many people sitting around,
That's right...forgot that too....thanks for the correction, Brian.
GREAT review JJ
Always enjoy reading your take on things, thanks for posting
My 2 cents on the Tuna/Feat is that Jorma and Jack and Barry et al (ditto on the muffled drums) absolutely built a mood and a rapport with the audience in a rare example of building that connection from the ground up.
At first we're all just hanging out as Jorm kicks off the show. By the 3rd or 4th tune, however, Jorma had the crowd eating out of his hand -- he took the time to build emotionally satisfying finesse AND downright gritty licks on electric. Barry is, of course, very good technically, while not transmitting actual fire. So the audience gave it up for Jorm and his bro, Jack -- who danced around more than I have ever seen him, and I've been seeing those two guys in concert since the early '70s. (Yes, I'm a virtual medical mystery...)
The Feat, on the other hand, did more of a 'big presentation' approach, playing AT the audience, where Jorma had built a delicate but palpable connection that ended up as one of the best performances I've seen in a long time. And I caught the first Philmore show last Thursday, where the second set smoked like an over-cooked bratwurst on the grille.
When Jorma cranks up that big old (Gibson ES-335? anyone?), and thereby contacts the faithful -- I perceived that Paramount crowd as very much a Tuna crowd first, open to anything, including the Feat -- then we're talking about one of the best electric blues guitarists anywhere. No instrumental formula, as the dual screamers in ABB (fyi, my absolute top-choice band still doing business), just the gut-bucket truth.
May Jack and Jorm live and play on! I cannot recommend them highly enough on this tour.
And the Paramount audience was respectfully listening, not firing up, not chatting, with a great bar and tons 'o my pals around.
Not often you catch Phil and Jorm back-to-back in a weekend and this one really soared.
Oh yeah, I shoulda mentioned: Tuna got a half-dozen, repeated standing ovations throughout their show.
Feat got people to their feet, dancin' -- heck, they're great -- but nothing like the spontaneity of the crowd's love for Tuna.
I'd love to have this show (anyone?)
Do not miss these boys!
Phil...too bad we couldn't have met up and said hello.
Folks, what Phil said on Jorma building the connection with the audience throughout the set; and the only really obvious choice of tunes for that set would have been Rider and arguably Rock Me Baby.
May Jack and Jorm live and play on! I cannot recommend them highly enough on this tour.
Amen! I wholeheartedly second that emotion!
Phil...do you mean the Gibson Red Epiphone, or his other guitar?
Garyfish...thank you for your kind words, although I've whipped up much better summaries in the past. In fact, Phil's words really nailed the Tuna set!
Both guitars were reddish, but the big, dual-f-hole, Gibson-looking guitar shaped like an ES-335... what is that? I was back aways...
Shoelaces! I'm open. I mighta passed you in the upstairs bathroom, where someone mentioned the muffled drums and I agreed in passing.
Looks like the next stop for me is Derek & Susan at Chautauqua in Boulder July 19. I'm going to have to scalp for the next night at Botanic Gardens. Then Hornsby at Botanic Gardens, Aug. 19.
Shoot me an email on the side, I often go to Lincoln's Roadhouse for the Delta Sonics.
Looks like the next stop for me is Derek & Susan at Chautauqua in Boulder July 19.
Hey...my birthday show for this year!
Damn good reviews. Made me feel as if I had been there myself.
I guess maybe I had better get my butt down to the Coach House tonight for a reprise, hadn't I?
>>> big, dual-f-hole, Gibson-looking guitar shaped like an ES-335 <<<
That would be an Epiphone Riviera, not sure if Jorma uses an "original" or a "reissue". He has also endorsed a production version:
Posthead...have fun tonight, bud!
Posthead, thanks for the guitar link. (Doh!) I liked the tone on that Epiphone Riviera.