This Christmas Jam was a strange one, with some highs and some lows. Also, things on a personal level were very unsettled at the time, so that affected the overall experience.
The lineup was pretty solid:
- Dave Matthews
- Gov’t Mule
- The John Popper Project Featuring DJ Logic
- Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives
- New Orleans Social Club (featuring Henry Butler, Leo Nocentelli, Ivan Neville, George Porter & Raymond Weber)
- Taj Mahal Trio
- Special Guests: Mike Barnes, Brendan Bayliss, Randall Bramblett, Audley Freed, Col. Bruce Hampton, Taylor Hicks, Kevn Kinney, Branford Marsalis, Mickey Raphael, Dave Schools
I was really psyched to see Branford Marsalis. He is a virtuoso on the saxophone, and I had really high expectations of him jamming with various groups.
I guess I should address the low points first. John Popper’s group was pretty boring. He is a great harmonica player, but something about him as a frontman just doesn’t spark excitement for me. The other weakness in this show was Dave Matthews. Although I like Matthews, he was totally sick at this show, obviously fighting the flu. He was struggling to sing, and actually had to stop midsong once to get a drink and catch his breath. I give him a lot of credit for getting up there in such condition, but it did not make for a great performance.
As far as the high points, Branford and Taylor Hicks jamming with New Orleans Social Club was mind-blowing. Hicks, the American Idol winner, played harmonica alongside Marsalis, and the look of admiration and awe on Taylor’s face of getting to jam with Branford was priceless. Branford also performed a killer sax solo on “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.”
The last thing I want to say is that Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives were awesome. I had seen Marty solo at the Christmas Jam, just sitting in on mandolin, but to see him with his full band was really great. They were really top notch musicians and their entire set was flawless.
I was only able to locate the setlists for Dave Matthews and Gov’t Mule, so here they are. If anyone has any other setlists from this show, feel free to post them in the comments section.
- Grace Is Gone
- Save Me
- So Damn Lucky
- Smooth Rider (aborted)
- Long Black Veil
- Cortez the Killer (w Dave Matthews)
- All Along the Watchtower (w Dave Matthews)
- Reggae Soulshine
- Brand New Angel
- Unring the Bell
- Leaving Trunk
- I Shall Be Released
- Time to Confess
- 3 String George
- Child of the Earth
- Devil Likes It Slow
- The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
- I Shall Be Released