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Jazz & Heritage Festival

Thursday 28th April - Sunday 1st May 2016

New Orleans

Well, it was a wet one. First year I had tickets for all four days, but only made three out of four.

Thursday: rained (Jan says a torrential storm) from 11.30am until 3pm. Waded to Jazz Fest at 2pm - got there to hear one last song from Sonny Landreth, settled in for Gary Clark Jr. and the skies cleared. Tedeschi Trucks, with Jimmy Vaughn and Billy Gibbons joining, with horns and back up singers - counted over 12 people on stage - was a 2016 Jazz Fest highlight. Caught the last few songs of Elvis Costello, including 'Pump It Up', to end the day. All in all a wet but good day.

Friday: no rain, except for the version of 'Purple Rain' we caught by My Morning Jacket. The Revivalists killed it, great set list, Paul Simon was good, and the sun was out. 'Brass' by the Dirty Dozen Brass band was cool. Beautiful.

Saturday: caught the Soul Rebels, some twerking with Big Freedia and got in the Blues tent for a killer set of Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings as the heavens opened. Ran over to the Lagniappe Stage to avoid the lightning and see Andrew Duhon, and stand at the Horseshoe Bar and drink Pilsner urquells, when they postponed the Fest. Good news is my buddy Bill and I had tickets for the Axial Tilt show with Charles Neville on sax, and Donna Jean Godchaux, Rat Dog members and a few others, starting at 10pm until 3am (3 sets, one acoustic, great 'Dead' covers all around), so resting up was good, but they cancelled Stevie Wonder, Beck, Buddy Guy and Snoop Dog. Took 4 times as long as normal to get back to our hotel. So before the late night show Jan and I went to dinner at the Desire Bar in the Royal Sonesta Hotel. As I visited the restrooms, they and the lobby were packed. Something was going on. Little did we know Stevie Wonder, Trombone Shorty and friends played in the hotel bar. Missed it by dumb luck.

Sunday: got back to the hotel at 4.30am after great 'Dead' sets from Axial Tilt. Rained (torrentially) at 11am. We pulled the plug on Jazz Fest at 12, as we were soaked and it is still raining (6pm now). Heard some of the shows went on, some did not. Missed Neil Young, if he played, the BB King tribute, Bonnie Raitt and Trombone Shorty. Was sad and soaked. Did get to go over to one of the Revivalists open house (Zach the guitarist) and hang with Rob, Amanda and the other Revivalists parents in town for Jazz Fest. Not a bad day, but light on the music.

Food every day was wonderful. Peche Wednesday, Frankie and Johnny's Thursday, Herbsaint Friday, Desire Oyster bar Saturday and off to Redfish grill tonight. You come to New Orleans not only for the music but the food as well. We will hope for better weather next year but we made the best of it this year and we did get to rock, roll and eat.

Rick Menniti

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