Warren Haynes 18th Christmas Jam: 12/16/2006

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.

Dave Matthews:

  • Bartender
  • Grace Is Gone
  • #40
  • Save Me
  • So Damn Lucky
  • Smooth Rider (aborted)
  • Gravedigger
  • Crush
  • Long Black Veil

 

Gov’t Mule:

Set I

  • Cortez the Killer (w Dave Matthews)
  • All Along the Watchtower (w Dave Matthews)
  • Reggae Soulshine
  • Brand New Angel
  • Unring the Bell
  • Leaving Trunk

Set II

  • Sco-Mule
  • Mule
  • Sugaree
  • 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

George Thorogood and the Destroyers: 3/28/1981

Thorogood_3-28-81

The Gusman Cultural Center was located in the heart of downtown Miami. I looked it up online and discovered that it has been renamed to the Olympia Theater. One thing you can say about Miami—it’s completely different from what it was 35 years ago.

Anyway, I went to this concert with my friend Jim. I was pretty psyched, since I had never seen Thorogood and liked his guitar playing, and also because I was getting to check out a venue that I had never been to before, and I had heard great things about the Gusman.

The venue was really nice and the acoustics were superb. What I remember from the show was that George was great. He totally rocked and I recall being particularly impressed with the sax player. Saxophone definitely adds a unique quality to a band’s sound.

Sorry I don’t have too much more to say about this show. It’s one of those that I know I enjoyed and can still conjure a vague impression of the band on stage, but that’s about all.

“Move it on over… Rock it on over!”

Willie Dixon with Ronnie Wood and Bobby Keys: 11/10/1988

DixonWoodKeys

In the 1980’s, before Miami’s South Beach was the chic hot spot it is today, it was a collection of decrepit vacant hotels populated by drug dealers and prostitutes. It was also the place where old people from the northeast went to spend their last years. But then something happened. Ronnie Wood, guitarist from the Rolling Stones, purchased an old hotel and opened a nightclub called Woody’s on the Beach. It was the coolest place on Miami Beach at the time and it was a music-lover’s dream come true. Ronnie would invite music greats to come and perform in this intimate setting and would often join them on stage. It was my favorite place to go and hang out.

I have some really cool ticket stubs from shows at Woody’s, but this one is worthy to be my first Woody’s post. When I heard that blues legend Willie Dixon would be playing at Woody’s along with Ron Wood and saxophonist Bobby Keys (he played sax with the Stones, the Beatles, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, just to name a few), I had to shake myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I immediately ran out and bought a ticket for a whopping $10.

The show started with the house band, featuring Ronnie and Bobby. After a little while, they called the man to the stage. Willie Dixon came out, walking slowly, age and hard living clearly having taken a toll, but the energy that surged through the small club was palpable. He sang five songs with the band before he retired. The band continued for a while without him. I maintained hope that he would come back out, but no luck. Still, I got to see Willie Dixon! The man who inspired so many of rock’s elite.

Dixon died of heart failure on January 29, 1992. But his songs live on, because great music is eternal.