A beautiful day, and the topic of conversation was what a beautiful day it was. Here are the notes:
First great thing eaten: the fried crabcake – crusty outside, moist inside, and with enough flavor to stand up to the sauce and a sauce worth using.
News: Jon Cleary announced that his new album will be a tribute to Allen Toussaint, then covered “Low Down” and Lee Dorsey’s “Lottie Mo.” I also didn’t realize that Matt Perrine and not James Singleton was now the “Bass” in Cleary’s Piano, Bass and Drums. “Drums” remains Doug Belote.
Note to Jeff Beck: Warrant has a reunion tour coming up and wants its wardrobe back.
I walked up to Mumford and Sons as Marcus Mumford sang, “You are not alone in this” in “Timshel.” I look forward to a day when that phrase doesn’t take me back to 2005 and 2006.
I’m told by people who were at the back of the Gentilly Stage that Mumford and Sons didn’t translate at that distance. That’s a shame because from the soundboard forward, it was a party and often a spontaneous sing-along. It’s hard to compare crowds at the Gentilly and Acura stages, but the audience for Mumford and the Avett Brothers extended to the back. The crowd for Robert Plant and the Band of Joy was comfortably spread out near the back.
610 Stompers in Training: two guys doing slo-mo fight scene moves to “Meanwhile” by Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk.
Mixed reviews for Robert Plant and the Band of Joy’s extensive re-writes of the Led Zeppelin catalogue. “They’re murdering my teen years,” my wife said. For me, it was the music that the phrase “Cosmic American Music” calls to mind far more than the country rock that Gram Parsons described with it. As much as I like “Misty Mountain Hop,” though, I can’t deny that the remake left it almost tuneless.
The Plant set confirmed what I suspected when he was here in 2008 with Alison Krauss – that the show really belonged to guitarist T Bone Burnett, who produced Raising Sand. That year, contributor Steve Hochman and I wondered if that project was conceived by Burnett, who then chose his vocalists to bring to life the dramas written into the American roots rock classics he selected. This time, with producer/guitarist Buddy Miller, Plant wasn’t trying to court or seduce Patty Griffin the way he pursued Krauss, and the arrangements reflected Miller’s love of atmosphere. That opened up one musical door to Plant – back to songs such as “In the Mood” and much of the Led Zep canon – but the edge of the previous show was lost.
Which was weirder: Wyclef Jean finishing his show with a DJ set that included Motown and Nirvana, or Plant seemingly shouting-out to Billy Joel by telling the audience, “Don’t go changin'” as he left the stage?