“I’ll be here for Gleason Gras 2012,” Steve Gleason announced at the end of a cold, drizzling afternoon, and why wouldn’t he? He had spent the last hour at the back of the stage with Sean Payton watching Better Than Ezra augmented with John Gros on keyboards, Mark Mullins and Greg Hicks on trombones and Jason Mingledorff on saxophone. After Coach Payton reminded the crowd how music was a part of that first night back in the Dome in 2006, the band broke into a charging version of “The Saints Are Coming.”
It’s hard to imagine that Sunday went exactly as planned. There were rumors that Payton, Drew Brees and members of the Saints were going to second line to the stage with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, but while the band went half-way up the stairs leading from Champions Square to the Dome, Drew Brees and Gleason waited in warmth until the band neared the enclosure in front of the stage, then they stepped out and Brees led the crowd in a special breakdown for the occasion:
The 610 Stompers made an appearance on the steps as well to do the routine to Bonnie Tyler’s “I Need a Hero” that they did in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Then, during the start to Papa Grows Funk’s set, they piled into the enclosure in front of the stage and loosely fit a routine to the song. The attempt to ad lib something a song later was a bridge too far. (sorry about the strobing sound on the video)
A source says that mentions of Gleason Gras 2012 wasn’t just happy talk from the stage. Obviously, it’s too early for anything to be certain, but the stage could handle the show, and Champions Square turned out to be a good place for a party. A similar event the night before Saints’ 2012 home opener would be a powerful party with more reliable weather.