“This is Jazz Fest – it doesn’t get much better than this!” So were the words of a music fan as she made her way towards the main Acura Stage, where artists such as Rod Stewart, Bonnie Raitt and an all-star tribute to the recently departed Fats Domino would perform during Day 2 of the Jazz Fest in New Orleans.
Saturday is typically a “big-ticket” day – where the big, big, big musicians will headline; hence Stewart closing out Jazz Fest. But it was also a day of remembrance, as many of the artists paid tribute to two local legends who left us too soon. References to Fats Domino were to be found all over Jazz Fest today. A second line walked the grounds and a statue was unveiled in the so-called Ancestral Graveyard, Domino’s smiling face alongside those of Allen Toussaint, Pete Fountain and Uncle Lionel Batiste. And Jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd began his set with a musical prayer for his friend Charles Neville, who passed away on the eve of the festival Thursday.
With the temperature rising, Saturday was a hotter day than Friday, but it certainly didn’t stop the people from having a good time. The infamous Mango Freeze was spotted in many hands, helping bodies to stay cool when the sun was bearing down. On days like these, it doesn’t hurt to duck into one of the tents for the some relief, as well as some good music; the grandstand has AC and you can listen to some interviews being conducted while you are rejuvenating for a spell. Yesterday, Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke interviewed the members of Tin Men, David Kunian talked with Fabulous Thunderbirds vocalist Kim Wilson, and David Ancelet gave homage to the accordion and it’s influence on Louisiana music by having Corey Ledet, Marc Savoy and Glenn Hartman reflect (and give some juicy examples) on the power of the instrument.
Sometimes people forget about these kind of off-the-beaten path things to explore while at Jazz Fest: Listening to a musician explain his craft can open up a whole new respect for what they do and how they do it; several times a day there is a Native American pow wow by the Folklife Village; there is a kids tent and a cultural exchange pavilion that is for humans of all ages. So it’s good to detour away from the main stages for something different.
Here are a few more highlights from Day 2 at Jazz Fest.
Glide’s Artist Of The Day for Saturday was most definitely one of the places to be. Bonerama put those horns on full-power and jammed. Joining them again were Michael Mullins and Ben Perrine, sons of band members, who have grown up right before Jazz Fest’s eyes – Perrine on a bright red guitar and Mullins on trombone like his father Mark. It just doesn’t get much better than this.
Guitarist Sonny Landreth brought his finger genius A-game once again out to Jazz Fest, with a special guest appearance by ukulele sensation, and Friday highlight, Jake Shimabukuro. Lucinda Williams came out at the end of Charles Lloyd’s set in the Jazz Tent and Eddie Cotton stirred up some powerful blues via his big white guitar. If you spent your day enjoying one of the big tent stages, you were in the right place to be. The Fabulous Thunderbirds closed out the Blues Tent.
With Rod Stewart, Common, Khalid, Bonnie Raitt, Jack Johnson and Big Freedia taking to stages all through the day, it was the all-star tribute to Fats Domino that won the Glide Set Of The Day. With the Queen Of New Orleans Irma Thomas, pink-haired Davell Crawford, the hoochie coochie man Deacon John, Jon Batiste and Bonnie Raitt each came out to perform a few of Domino’s legendary songs. The great man would have loved it.
If Sunday is your day to come out to the Fairgrounds, there is still plenty of music to hear before Weekend 1 ends: John Mayall, Jon Batiste, Jimmy Buffett, Tab Benoit, George Benson, David Byrne, Quiana Lynell and Glide’s Artist Of The Day Erica Falls will all be there.