Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Live Review: Dr John 6-9-16 Alive at Five, Albany, NY

Dr. John
Live: 6/9/16 Albany, NY, Tricentennial Park 
Alive at Five Concert Series

Albany, New York has always been a perfect crossroads for live music. Between New York City and Vermont, Boston, Buffalo, the Capital District of New York State is a definitive stopping off point for artists traveling the northeast. 

One of the benefits of that route has been a free concert series that is now into its 27 year running, continuing to bring in varied, top flight acts for the residents to enjoy. This years season of Alive at Five kicked off with none other then bayou legend Dr. John and the Nite Trippers and actually returned to the festivals original location Tricentennial Park.

Another sweet touch to the series is when possible a local band will play a short set opening for the national acts and this week the pairing of Jacamo was perfect. The funky five piece has been playing parties and festivals in the area since 1993 and was an excellent way to start off the series. They covered Procal Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale" went down to NOLA for some Cajun delights and inserted a P-Funk Medley to wrap up their quick turn on the stage.

The weather is not fully spring yet in the north country, with the wind not only being a problem for those watching and dancing, but also the sound engineers all evening. The south warmed us up proper though when the good doctor joined the stage. Playing as a four piece the band dropped right into some old classics from early albums as the highlight was a smooth as silk and funky as donkey pairing of "I Walk On Glided Splinters" directly into "Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya" containing a break seeing Dr John get up and play the bones.

Sound issues, especially pertaining to the vocals were prevalent all night, but fans got an injection of pure joy when mid-set Dr. John turned away from his baby grand onto the electro-keys and pumped out his classic "Right Place, Wrong Time", a clear highlight.

Tracks like classics "Iko-Iko" paired nicely with deeper cuts like "How Come My Dog Don't Bark (When You Come 'round)" even without horns the band stayed funky, syncopated drumming, bass walks and timely injected guitar runs were electric. The doctor may have needed some lyrical help, but the vibe he was giving and receiving from the crowd made smiles stretch from ear to ear.

The set ended with a powerful run through of "Such A Night" that contained numerous solos, multiple endings and thousands of cheers from the appreciative crowd. The mysterious voodoo legend and songster who has been the embodiment of New Orleans brought the bayou magic to Albany for a rollicking set that friends, family, and strangers could all enjoy.
This was special for use as we got to experience it with close friends and our family. We won't forget this show and while we have def seen and heard the doctor in better form, this will stick with us for a while. Peep some video below:

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