Eric Clapton, Counting Crows, EW&F: New Orleans concerts are back and new clubs reopen | Music
Do you remember the concerts? Real indoor concerts, with seats, a roof and several thousand temporary friends?
After an 18-month hiatus forced by the coronavirus pandemic – followed by another two-week delay thanks to Hurricane Ida – concerts resume this weekend in New Orleans.
The artist who will reopen the Smoothie King Center for music is, ironically enough, Eric Clapton.
Like his pal Van Morrison, Clapton has become a prominent critic of COVID containment measures such as lockdowns and vaccines.
In May, he spoke publicly about his “severe” reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine, a reaction he said made his hands numb to the point where he was unsure whether he would be able to play guitar again.
In July, he announced: “I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience” – meaning he would not frequent venues that require members of the public to be vaccinated.
In addition to wearing a face mask when not actively eating or drinking, spectators in New Orleans must show proof of COVID vaccination – or a negative PCR test result from the previous 72 hours. The fact that a negative test result can be replaced with a vaccine card is apparently enough of a shortcoming to make Clapton feel comfortable tuning in.
Either that or anyone who wants to make money from this show convinced him to keep going.
Either way, he hasn’t softened his stance. In late August, he released a single, “This Has Gotta Stop,” which appeared to target anti-COVID measures.
On September 13, he opened his brief eight-date Southern tour in Fort Worth, Texas. The preacher “This Has Gotta Stop” did not appear on the setlist, which was probably for the best.
The 14 songs he presented included several of his classics, but not all of them, as well as the kinds of blues covers he has long preferred.
Texas Guitar Slinger Jimmie vaughan, for whom Clapton was a first influence and inspiration, opens Saturday’s show at the Smoothie King Center. Tickets are still available, starting at $ 55 plus service charges.
Clapton is just the first part of a busy concert week. Monday, Counting crows title of the Saenger Theater. The group released their eighth studio album, a four song EP titled “Butter Miracle, Suite One” in May; the second “Butter Miracle” sequel is slated for this fall. Meanwhile, the leader Adam duritz and his band mates are on the road for the Butter Miracle Tour, changing the setlist every night.
Shortly after loading Counting Crows from the Saenger, Earth, Air and Fire will start to load. The tireless R & B / funk / soul group is a New Orleans festival favorite. But Tuesday’s stopover at the Saenger is special, as it falls on September 21.
This is the date quoted in the first verse of the EW&F classic “September”, just after the opening soaring of the brass section: “Do you remember the 21st night of September? / Love made a change? of the suitors while chasing the clouds ”. Chances are this September 21 will be a memorable one for those who sing along with those lyrics at the Saenger.
Beyond big shows, more local concert halls reopen after Ida closes. Preservation Hall returns to service this weekend with its usual roster of top jazz musicians.
Rock ‘n’ Bowl reopens Friday with Mothership, a band homage to Led Zeppelin. The Mixed nuts keep the party going at Rock ‘n’ Bowl on Saturday.
Maple Leaf Bar presents Dave Jordan and the NIA for shows at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday, followed by The New Orleans suspects Saturday at the same times.
After hosting two free musical evenings last weekend, Tipitina’s is now back to regular and paid shows. Gulf Coast blues, boogie and soul singer / guitarist Eric Lindell, who spent several years in New Orleans before moving to the Florida Panhandle, made headlines on Friday with his band The Natural Mystics. Tickets cost $ 27; show time is 9 p.m.
On Saturday, Tipitina’s Record Club is promoting its latest subscription-only offering, “True,” a vinyl recording of a long-running concert at Tipitina’s by piano magician James Booker, with a tribute to Booker. Keyboardists Kyle Roussel, Joe Ashlar and Josh paxton will each play a solo set, from 8 p.m.
End of first full weekend at Tip’s since Ida became Cajun singer-songwriter-accordionist Bruce daigrepont, organizing a do-do dance party at 5:15 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets cost $ 10.
The outdoor Broadside on N. Broad St. kicks off Friday with Michot’s melody makers and Island of Weeks, two offshoots of the Lost Bayou Ramblers. Tickets cost $ 20. trombonist Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet Take to the Broadside for a free show on Saturdays. The Louisiana-based Balkan group Blato Zlato closes weekends at the Broadside on Sundays.
And Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro has increased its schedule to four evenings of music a week, the most since the start of the pandemic. After an appearance scheduled for Thursday by the pianist Oscar Rossignoli, Snug Harbor has a drummer Herlin Riley’s quartet Friday, Moroccan master guitarist Mahmoud Chouki’s sextet on Saturday and a solo set by the pianist Josh paxton on Sunday.
Snug Harbor, like New Orleans itself, is still not completely back to normal – but is getting there.