I had the pleasure of spending last Christmas in New Orleans. I was also fortunate enough to catch George Porter Jr‘s annual Birthday Bash at the Howlin’ Wolf on the last night of my stay (before driving 12 hours back to Kentucky the next morning).
With George’s permission, I mounted my new HD video camera to the side of Nick Burlison’s audio recording rig, and when the crowd poured out onto the chilly St. Peters Street at 3:15am I had nearly 4 hours of footage! I even shot a few songs from the front row with my iPhone4, which allowed me to make a 2-cam mix for several tunes. The audio on this one is simply top notch. It’s a matrix mix of Louie Liokis’ on-stage schoeps mics and a soundboard patch.
The night began with a 90 minute set from George Porter’s Runnin’ Pardner‘s band. This set featured several classic Meters tunes like Borro, What’Cha Say, & The Dragon, as well as a reworking of Curtis Mayfield‘s “Check Out Your Mind” which exemplifies the way George holds down the groove. George’s wife brought out a cake and his granddaughter came out and sang a diva-like rendition of Happy Birthday. The set ended with a solo performance of a song from George’s new EP of Christmas songs, “Christmas In New Orleans.”
The second set was a free for all of guest players: Stanton Moore, Anders Osborne, Kirk Joseph, Brian Stoltz, June Yamagishi, Tony Hall, Russell Batiste, Eric Bolivar, Terence Higgins, etc. Seven different drummers and five different guitarists! At one point, you had a triple guitar threat of Tony Hall, June Yamagishi, & Brint Anderson ripping through Them Changes & Third Stone From The Sun.
To close out the night, George brought out Billy Iuso & CR Gruver for some Grateful Dead tunes, topping it off with a cover of Sugaree, a song that George has really made his own while touring with Bill Kreutzmann & Papa Mali in their new band, 7 Walkers.
UPDATE with 2 new videos added on 12/27/13:
Christmas In New Orleans:
Is Pray > Dance To The Music > I Want To Take You Higher > Them Changes (w/ Third Stone From The Sun tease):