New Orleans

Day 22 – April 30th


William and I salute the raising of the flag

No breakfast today, up late after three days of music and heat.

We headed down to Café Maspero on Decatur for lunch at 12:30. I ordered up a serve of Cajun White Beans and Southern Fried Fish. Very tasty. The weather is also fine again.

I then spent most of the day trying to catch up on my blog posts. Glad I write things down as I would have no hope of remembering what we did one day ago yet along three.

At 5 o’clock William and Mickey waited on the stoop for a guy to come and put up a flag. We have given William a Boxing Kangaroo flag that Bernie had brought over. William was taking down the Costa Rican flag to put ours up. I said to William laughingly that the flag may attract undesirables!

At 5:30 we headed to Frenchman and the Louisiana Music Factory for a live in-house performance with Johnny Sansone and his band. Johnny was able to play the whole of his new release ‘Homeland’. Fantastic sound and the new album is a must-have.We got a WOW and Johnny photo out front of the shop when he had finished.

We then headed down to the Spotted Cat for a few beers and to listen in to the Jazz Band.

We tried to get a table for eight at the Praline Connection for some down-home soul-food. The front of house staff was unfriendly and in no way helpful.

No matter. We moved on to BB King’s Club and after a few attempts by Alan to rearrange the furniture we settled in for a not too bad meal.

I had to take the crew down to Bourbon to have at least one beer at the famous Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop. On the way over I did my best impersonation of a Ghost Tour leader by giving the crew the history of the old Ursuline Convent and the LaLaurie Mansion. Sadly, I was not tipped for my efforts. Stingy Aussie tourist their all the same.

We had a bit of a walk further down Bourbon Street so the crew could get an idea of the nighttime debauchery. It is a Monday night and there are a few around but nothing like the weekends.

The crew headed back to our apartment with the plan of calling an Uber. Al decided to get a six-pack and a bottle of red from the Quarter Master. Ian, Al and I sat out on the stoop with a drink. I told the guys that all sorts of people will stop and talk to us. The first well-dressed guy asked us if we had any weed for sale. Must be my long hair. Then a young rough sleeper from Seattle wanted directions to Bourbon St. We told him he was already on it and pointed him down to the bars. Next, a group of young males came walking by. One of them spotted the kangaroo flag and wanted to know if ‘us bastards’ were from Australia. He was from Echuca and seemed delighted to see our flag. Took us a while to get rid of him. I told William early that this might happen.

The crew got an Uber around 11:45.


New Orleans



John Mayall – Blues Tent

Day 21 – April 29th

No cloud cover today and it will be a little hotter than the first two days of the festival. I am anticipating that the crowd will be bigger today as Jimmy Buffet’s Parrot Heads will be swarming.

We waited for the bus at our usual spot but ‘no appearance your worship’. Brian Wise, his son (Rob) and his partner are waiting with us. We decided to get an Uber instead.

Today’s late breakfast is Crawfish Monica. I headed to the Gentilly Stage for a band called ‘Imagination Movers’, I soon worked out that they were a kids-band. Much better than the Wiggles.

Went and purchased ‘The Last Bandoleros’ extended CD and then we went for some fresh fruit at WWOZ. The girls headed to the Blues Tent and I decided to sit in the outdoor Grandstand seats for a rest and do some people watching. I saw Bernie and called him over and we talked music for half an hour.

We got to the Blues Tent in time for Kenny Neal and his extended family band members. In fact, an old lady sitting next to me proudly told that she was Kenny’s Aunt. Kenny also had a few legendary guest performers. He called up the 94-year-old Henry Grey to sit in on the piano. Henry was the piano player for Howlin’ Wolf band for many years. He was great, and his smile told everyone how much he still loves to perform. Next guest was the much younger (84) Lazy Lester who was a major Excello recording artist. Lazy Lester had a major hit with the classic ‘Sugar Coated Love’, which is still played and recorded by today’s Blues artists. It was just so good to watch both these legends on stage

Sitting next to me is a lady who started gesturing to me in sign language. I soon figured that she was French and could not speak English. She got the message across that she would like me to type into her phone the name of the old piano player (Henry Gray) and the harmonica player (Lazy Lester). Music the international language!

I wandered over to Gentilly to catch Jon Batiste and the Dap Kings. Jon was one of the guests at the Fats Domino tribute. He impressed me then and I wanted to see him with a band. Pretty sure that the Dap-Kings are the band that backed the sadly deceased Sharon Jones. Jon is a younger guy who can play the piano exquisitely and also sing like a bird. Amazing performance. I learned that he is the band leader for the ‘Tonight Show’. The Batiste family have a long music legacy in Louisiana.

Went over to have a look at Doug Kershaw and friends. Sat down with a beer and a packet of Glazed Pecans. Doug also is in the legend category. He has a young band of excellent musicians who warmed up the crowd with two swamp classics. Doug bounded on stage and launched into the classic ‘Diggy Liggy Lo’. I might be wrong, but Doug seemed a little the worst for wear. I hung in for about 5 songs. I was talking to Johnny Sansone and said that I thought Doug had been a little out of it. Johnny said, ‘Hell no, I saw him in the 70’s and he was just the same’!

My must go to gig for the day was David Byrne on the Gentilly Stage. From the first song to the last I was enthralled. The highlight of the Festival so far from me. Man, what a show.

Here is the review from the Times-Picayune –

Ask anyone: Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne’s show on the first Sunday (April 29) of Jazz Fest was a trip.

Byrne became the focus of popular attention in the early 1980s besides Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson, Sting and a few other artists/musicians who blended unemotional personas with poetic lyrics to help wrestle the world out of the clutches of disco.

Byrne could seem utterly cool or, like his contemporary Elvis Costello, a nerd who somehow accidentally stumbled into rock stardom. People who listened to Byrne dabbled in sushi, drank Stolichnaya with cranberry juice and loved the movie “Dune.” Lots of them went to art school.

Older versions of those same people were thrilled Sunday when Byrne appeared onstage, took a seat at a small table and began calmly pointing out the regions of the human brain on a pink plastic facsimile as he sang a song titled, “Here.” He was, as always, a weird, hip, cunning version of Mr Rogers.

Byrne fans were also thrilled when he was joined by 10 musicians, who were rigged with portable instruments and wireless mics, so they could travel freely and join him in stiff, robotic choreography.

Naturally, everyone in the ensemble wore identical pale grey suits (imagine something in the austerity continuum between Pierre Cardin and Devo). All wore pale brown shoes, except for Byrne, who was inexplicably barefoot. (He should be careful appearing without shoes and socks. When Paul McCartney did that, a generation of Beatle freaks thought he’d mysteriously died).

Byrne calculatedly added a few compelling new compositions and collaborations to his setlist amidst the crowd-pleasing Talking Heads tunes his fans pined to hear, such as “Slippery People,” “This Must Be the Place” (my personal fave, not that you asked) and “Burning Down the House.” All songs were executed with surgical precision, crystalline clarity and controlled verve (we’re talking about David Byrne after all).

He closed the show politically with a rendition of Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout,” which included the recital of the names of victims of police violence.

Considering the snappy new songs, the radical free-range band, Byrne’s obvious fitness and the overt activism at the end, the show didn’t have the nostalgic feel of some of the Jazz Fest headline acts this year, despite the fact that Byrne is a silver-haired 65-year-old.

The WOW crew met at the Blues Tent to plan for that night. We decided to have a couple of beers near the Festival site to allow the crowd to thin out. We were sitting on the footpath out front of a restaurant having a cold one. Suddenly, we heard (sirens blaring) then saw two motor bike cops escorting a black limousine. Hanging out the window giving a royal queen salute to the cheering crowd was Jimmy Buffet.

New Orleans

Day 20 – April 28th


Blues Tent

It is going to be warmer today than yesterday. The temperature (around 29C) is bearable as there is no humidity which is always the draining factor for me.

As soon as we got inside the Festival I got me a Crawfish and Sausage Po-Boy. That will keep me going for a while. Next to the WWOZ hospitality tent for fresh fruit and an iced coffee. We caught up with the WOW crew also enjoying some fruit. Went and said hello to Jeff and he gave me a Bobby Rush t-shirt.

We all then went to the Blues tent for Eddie Cotton. WOW. Eddie was tremendous, he sure knows how to put on a show and engage the audience.

Next, we went over to the Acura Stage for a Fats Domino tribute. Fats passed in October 2017 and was, of course, a New Orleanian all throughout his life.  He was a major influence on so many rock stars that followed him. His back catalogue of music is extensive and unique. We had to sit in the bleachers way up back as the grassed area is packed. The sound is still good back here and there are large screens scattered around the site. The band on stage consists of many originals from Fat’s Big Band. The first guest singer was Deacon John followed by singer/pianist Davell Crawford. Then came Irma Thomas, Jon Cleary and Bonnie Rait, Jon Batiste and lastly Lil’ Fats Jackson. Each guest sang a couple of songs and every song chosen was a hit. The crowd danced and sang, and it was a fitting way to respect the music legacy of Fats Domino. As an aside, I should mention that Dr John is not on the bill at Jazz Fest. He has not played live since before Christmas. His health is not good, and I have been told by a local that Dr John has said himself that he is in a transition period which is very sad. We stuck in for the full hour plus of the tribute even though the heat was sapping out in the open. It was worth it.

Next back under the Grandstand for a breather. We have an Artist Pass from Jeff. He said to come back to the Green Room (which is the Jockey’s Room as after all this is a Race Track). I got to meet Stanton More and Joe Krown two of New Orleans finest musicians.

We must go back out into the sun again to see John Sansone on the Gentilly Stage with the Voices of the Wetlands. It is totally surreal to see him up there and to think it was only a few short months ago that he played at WOW. Here he is in a band of New Orleans Super Stars in front of thousands. It is a strange world. We had a quick word to Johnny after the set and he told that he will be at the Bombay Club in the Quarter around 8:30 playing in a trio.

Cara and Wendy have gone off to see Rod Stewart at the Acura Stage. No way am I going to see Rod who I think has morphed into Barry Manilow. I loved him when he was with the Faces

I went to the smaller Fais Do Do Stage to see The Last Bandolero’s. They were the band that backed Sting yesterday. All young guys from San Antonio. Another great find for me loved them. So enthusiastic and playing Texas alt Country Rock with harmonies that to me sounded like the Beatles. I must buy a C.D. Also hope they are playing somewhere in San Antonio when we get there early next month.

I saw a guy wearing a Southern Cross t-shirt and he was an Aussie from the Sunshine Coast and he stopped for a chat.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds with Kim Wilson are closing out the Blues Stage and I waited over there to meet up with the girls. Glad I got to hear a few of the Thunderbirds classics. I have seen them a few times before. This festival I have vowed to myself to try and see as many different bands as I can.

I have been vindicated, the girls said that Rod Stewart was crap.

I don’t normally go out on a Jazz Fest night, just too damn tired. But the Bombay Club is only a short walk from our apartment. We found the club without any worries. It is upmarket with a more dressed up type of clientele. We found a spot at the bar and settled in for the show. Most of the crowd were there for the famous cocktails offered by the Bombay Club. That is until a steady stream of Aussies started to arrive, all to listen to Johnny. In the end, there must have been a dozen of us enjoying the show. We got talking to Wes who was in for a Medical Convention. He is a Neuro Surgeon, real nice man, he shouted us a few drinks. He sure liked his red wine. The Aussies are up dancing and Johnny seemed to like our presence as we were there for him. Finished up to be a great day/night of music.

Check out the décor of the Bombay Club and its history