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Hampton 70: A Musical Celebration Like No Other May 04, 2017 15:45

Photos by Dave Vann  -  Words by Jordan Kirkland

When I heard that there would be a 70th birthday celebration for Col. Bruce Hampton at The Fox Theatre, I knew that I had to be there. After reading through the star-studded lineup, there was no doubt that this would be one of the most unique musical experiences of my life. With members of Widespread Panic, Phish, Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule, Blues Traveler, and so many more scheduled to perform, the possibilities for this show were endless. This lineup was a true testament to the immeasurable influence that Col. Bruce Hampton made on the world of music, and the ultimate experience was one that no one could prepare for.

The show got started just after 7:30 PM, with the evening's emcee introducing a cast featuring many frequent Col. Bruce collaborators, such as Darren Stanley, Matt Slocum, Carter Herring, and Ike Stubblefield.  The Colonel was eventually brought to the stage, wearing a blue blazer, and led the group through "There Was A Time."  The show's first featured guest was Oliver Wood, who was backed by Slocum, Darick Campbell, Duane Trucks (Widespread Panic) and others. As soon as Wood began working through two originals from The Wood Brothers catalog ("Sing About It" and "Postcards From Hell"), it became apparent that anything was fair game. Before long, Susan Tedeschi was on stage trading lines with Wood.  San Diego Padres' pitcher Jake Peavy and 14-year-old guitar prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer were then introduced and led the charge through "Oh Pretty Woman" and "Shake Your Hips."

Next up was a serving a blues and jamgrass royalty, as Rev. Jeff Mosier took the stage alongside John Popper of Blues Traveler and Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon. This combo, backed by Trucks, Kevin Scott, Emil Wrestler, Matt Slocum would eventually be joined by legendary drummer Jeff Sipe, aka Apt. Q-258 for a rousing take on "She Caught The Katy." It wasn't long before Kevin Kinney, Hardy Morris, Todd Snider, Peter Buck, Dave Schools were brought out to continue the magic. At this point, it was nearly impossible to keep up with who we had seen versus who was yet to come, but we would be quickly reminded as Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule), Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers Band / Rolling Stones), Jon Fishman (Phish), and saxophonist Karl Denson took the stage. The energy reached a new level during "Rip This Joint," and the combo of Fishman and Sipe during "Compared To What" and "Good Morning 'Lil School Girl" was as heavy as it gets. 

Duane Trucks stepped in for Sipe and joined Fishman behind the kit for "More Trouble Everyday," which would lead up to one of the evening's many highlights. The cast of Derek Trucks, Haynes, Leavell, Schools, Buck, Fishman, and (Duane) Trucks played the Allman Brothers Band's "Jessica" to absolute perfection. John Bell of Widespread Panic made his first appearance for "Time Is Free," and would stick around for "Don't Cry Not More," which would also feature Tedeschi on vocals.  

Watch the performance of "Jessica" here:

 

As the show proceeded into its third hour, the Colonel returned to the stage for the evening's final performances. After leading the way through "Yield Not To Temptation," Hampton took the microphone for one of his long-time staples, "Fixin' To Die."  Watching the Colonel turning, pointing, and singing those words to so many of his oldest friends and collaborators will forever be a surreal memory.  He would remain on stage for the final three songs of the nearly four hour set: "Don't Go In The Room," "Space Is The Place," and a cover of Cream's "I'm So Glad" that had an especially spiritual feel to it.

After the stage briefly cleared, nearly forty performers returned to the stage for one last nod to the godfather of jam. The encore began with in classic fashion, as ARU drummer Jeff Sipe led the massive group through "Zambi Military Ensemble," creating the feel of am early 90's Aquarium Rescue Unit Show. This epic celebration would end with none other than "Turn On Your Lovelight," with Tedeschi, Wood, and Hampton rotating verses.

As Colonel walked over to young Taz (Brandon Niederauer) and signaled him to solo, we would all witness the unthinkable. Col. Bruce appeared to take a knee, as if giving praise to the young prodigy, and proceeded to slowly, peacefully lay down behind him (with an arm propped onto a monitor). This was a man known for his wild theatrics, giving no reason for initial concern as he lied motionless on the stage. Video footage shows those surrounding him smiling and laughing at each other, waiting for his dramatic rise for the song's conclusion. But as several minutes passed with no movement, a feeling of concern was felt throughout the theatre, and it became evident that this was no joke. Several people rushed from the side stage to check on Hampton, the music abruptly stopped, and Billy Bob Thornton quickly addressed the crowd as the curtains were frantically closed.  

Those closer to the stage could see the immediate medical attention being applied to Col. Bruce, as the majority of us exited the building in total shock and confusion. Multiple ambulances were on the scene within minutes, and many witnessed Hampton being taken away in a frenzy to the hospital. Within the next two hours, the news began to spread that world had lost Col. Bruce Hampton. I can honestly say that this was a wave of emotions that I'd never dreamed of experiencing. The entire evening was surreal; witnessing so many musical heroes on stage together.

Watching the Colonel get carried off stage is an image that I'll never forget. But as the tributes and memoirs have piled in this week, this ending does seem beautifully poetic in many ways. Col. Bruce left this earthly life during the closing moments of his own musical celebration. His final act was showcasing and praising one of music's brightest young stars, while surrounded by 30+ world class musicians who considered him one of their greatest influences. Hampton 70 was truly a celebration like no other; honoring one of the most unique souls to ever walk this planet. While his presence will be missed by so many, we should all take comfort in knowing that his influence will be felt across the musical spectrum far beyond our time.

Setlist: Hampton 70 - A Celebration of Col. Bruce Hampton - 05.01.17

Set: There Was A Time, Postcards From Hell, Sing About It, Feelin’ Good, Oh Pretty Woman, Shake Your Hips, She Caught The Katy, Working On A Building, Put Down That Cane, Play A Train Song, Stupid Preoccupations, When You Come Back, Rip This Joint, Compared To What, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl > Trouble Every Day, Jessica, Time Is Free, Trondossa, Smokestack Lightning > Cry Cry Cry, Basically Frightened, Fixin’ To Die, Space Is The Place, I’m So Glad

Encore: Zambi > Turn On Your Lovelight

 


Dead & Company Bring Out John Popper of Blues Traveler in San Francisco December 28, 2015 13:22

 

Photo by John Dreller

Dead & Company took the stage for the first of a four night California New Years Run last night, kicking things off at the Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco.  The momentum built by the newly formed Dead-themed supergroup continues to build, as can be seen in the setlist below, courtesy of Deadhandland.com.  Bob Weir and John Mayer maintained a steady rotation on lead vocals, as they seem to prefer, and shared the duty on "Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad" to close the second set.

The evening took a truly special turn when it came time for the encore.  Weir and Mayer both took to their acoustic guitars for a beautiful rendition of "Ripple."  The surprise of the evening came with the band's second encore, as they welcomed John Popper of Blues Traveler for a little help on "Casey Jones" to close out the night.  Mayer took lead vocals on the fan favorite, leaving the electric San Francisco crowd plenty to look forward to as Dead & Co. return for night two on Monday night. The band then heads to The Forum in Los Angeles on Wednesday, 12/30 and Thursday, 12/31.

Watch Dead & Company's "Casey Jones" w/ John Popper via kindlot.com

Dead & Company
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium San Francisco, CA

Set I: Truckin’ > Cold Rain and Snow, Brown-Eyed Women, Black-Throated Wind, Standing on the Moon > Cassidy, U.S. Blues

Set II: Samson and Delilah, Deal > He’s Gone > Estimated Prophet > Eyes of the World > Drums > Space > Black Peter, Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad

Enc: Ripple*

Enc 2: Casey Jones^

Notes: *Bob Weir and John Mayer acoustic, ^with John Popper

Source: Deadheadland.com


VIDEO: " The Doobie Incident" featuring String Cheese Incident + The Doobie Brothers: Lockn' Festival September 14, 2015 19:56

Photos by Brady Cooling Photography

Over the weekend, many of the greatest bands from across the country came together for the 3rd Annual Lockn' Festival on Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA.  Amongst the star studded lineup was the "The Doobie Incident," featuring The String Cheese Incident, along with of John Cowan, Guy Allison, John McFee, Tom Johnston, and Patrick Simmons of The Doobie Brothers  The Doobie Incident performed a Friday afternoon set full of Doobie Brothers classics, as well as a few tunes from the String Cheese catalog.  Just before the set began, John Popper of Blues Traveler performed a special rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" with a team of 9/11 first responders standing behind him.  If that's not a powerful way to kick off a music festival, we don't know what is.
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Watch HD Video of John Popper performing "The Star Spangled Banner" + The Doobie Incident from Lockn' Festival

Setlist:  The Doobie Incident - 09.11.15 - Lockn' Festival 

Rockin' Down The Highway > Takin' It To The Streets, Sometimes A River, Black Water, Long Train Runnin' > Texas > Long Train Runnin', Drums > Jesus Is Just Allright, China Grove, Listen To The Music1

Notes:  "The Doobie Incident" with Guy Allison, John McFee, Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, John Cowan. 1with Pat Simmons Jr.

Photos by Brady Cooling Photography