Monday, May 4, 2015

The Meters, Lenny Kravitz and Anders Osborne at Jazz Fest

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 11:48 AM

click to enlarge Anders Osborne performs on the Acura Stage. - WILL COVIELLO
  • Anders Osborne performs on the Acura Stage.

On the closing day of Jazz Fest, the Acura Stage hosted a parade of guitar rock sets. George Porter Jr. kicked off the day with his Runnin' Pardners and returned for a reunion of The Meters. Anders Osborne and Lenny Kravitz also performed before Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue closed the festival.

Fans may have wondered whether Osborne would be able to perform. He tweeted earlier in the week that he had a back problem, and he managed it by playing guitars mounted in set positions on their own stands. Stage hands replaced them stand-and-all throughout the set. The show featured many of the harder-edged rock and rumbling, fuzzy blues he's often brought to Jazz Fest sets, such as "Move Back to Mississippi" and "Dyin' Days," which included a brief detour into Neil Young's "Down By the River." But the set also featured some mellower tunes, such as a song cowritten with John Michael Rouchell called "Tchoupitoulas Street Parade," which Osborne said he was debuting. The end of the set was an extended light reggae jam of "Sarah Anne." 

In the middle of the day, Jazz Fest Producer Quint Davis lavished praise on the original members of The Meters as they took the stage. Porter retuned from his earlier set. Art Neville came out in a colorful Jerry Garcia T-shirt. Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste manned the drum kit, and Leo Nocentelli came out, and later stuck around to listen to Lenny Kravitz's set from the side of the stage. Cyril Neville joined the group midway through the set. By the second tune, "Fire on the Bayou," Ivan Neville quietly sat in on keyboards and played much of the set. The band worked through its best known tunes, including "Cissy Strut," and then brought on a full horn section to do "They All Asked for You." At one point, Cyril referred to the music as "senior citizen funk," but no one in the crowd seemed to mind as the group played "Be My Lady," "(The World is a bit Under the Weather) Doodle-oop," "Just Kissed My Baby" and "It Ain't No Use."

Lenny Kravitz opened with "Dirty White Boots" off his 2014 release Strut, and he played his 2008 release "Dancin' Til Dawn," but most of his set focused on his 1990s hits, including "It Ain't Over ’til It's Over" and "American Woman." Kravitz led his band through an extended jam of "Always on the Run," but it seemed fast in comparison to the marathon "Let Love Rule" became. Kravitz asked the audience to sing the lyrics, and eventually he got down in the pits in front of the stage and walked the perimeter of the fences, trying to pump up some energy for the endeavor. It seemed like many in the crowd were content to hum along, and the exercise went on far too long. Kravitz even asked if he had any time left afterward, but he had clearly planned on it. He launched into an energetic version of "Fly Away" and then closed with "Are You Gonna Go My Way," which featured a long solo from Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, who once toured in Kravitz's band. Andrews breathed very heavily after the solo, and clearly he wanted to impress either Kravitz or the crowd. It was the most inspired part of the set.

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