Anders Osborne’s 2nd Annual Holiday Spectacular—Tipitina’s—New Orleans, LA—12/06/2013

The second annual Anders Osborne Holiday Spectacular show was subtitled: “Rock My NOLA Soul For Christmas”, an aptly chosen description for the two-night stand at Tipitina’s December 6th-7th, 2013. The cold rainy weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the excited concertgoers Friday night, as we gathered for the “Rock” portion of the extravaganza. And as guitarist Anders Osborne took the stage with bandmates Carl Dufrene on bass and Eric Bolivar on drums, opening with the new raging “Five Bullets”, the Rock was ready to Roll! The star-studded list of guest performers was tapped rapidly with John Gros (Papa Grows Funk) adding some thoughtful organ keys to the party from “Ya Ya” all the way through. Then Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) brought a cherry red Gibson SG onstage to join in “Windows”; the intense jam that ensued found Anders, Carl, and Luther gathered at center stage, locking eyes and feeding off the collective vibes. It was immediately apparent that this night would be special! For me, a Southern girl with a longtime love of the California band Little Feat, the specialness was fully realized when legendary guitarist Paul Barrere (Little Feat) came out to rock. And rock he did, taking lead for the Little Feat classic “Spanish Moon”, as the crowd went wild. If, at this point, you somehow felt there was still something missing, every musical slot got filled when Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone brought his harmonica onstage for “Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky”.


Although this was definitely a rock show, there was still an element of soulful depth and intimacy, imparted at times by Anders’ genuine heartfelt vocals, at times by Luther trading out his guitar for a pretty mandolin. Perhaps the most intimate interlude occurred near the end of the first set as the guys brought out a few stools to sit on, and Anders and Paul swapped their electrics for acoustics, with Luther on mandolin and Johnny on accordion. Before breaking into song, Anders took a moment to acknowledge a front-and-center fan named Jimmy Cohn from Santa Clarita, CA, an Anders fan and friend since 1991, who was celebrating 25 years of sobriety that night! If you know Anders Osborne’s story, you know he can fully appreciate the great amount of inspiring dedication it takes to achieve that; and to see him congratulate this joy-filled fan was a testament to the wonderful Soul Anders possesses. The band then played acoustic loveliness that included the Lowell George tune “Roll ’em Easy”, quite a treat.

After a short set-break, the band returned ready to get down to business, rolling out the wonderful new Anders Osborne song “Peace”, the title track from their recently released album. Guitarist Billy Iuso (Billy Iuso and Restless Natives) joined the soiree, and “Burning On the Inside” began a deliciously jammed out stretch of songs where the band really seemed to find their groove. Anders delved fully into guitar genius mode during this set, hitting notes so high it would make angels smile, and finding room to coax feedback into a meditative focal point. Things got exceedingly interesting as John Gros took over vocals for an amazing cover of Pearl Jam’s “Smile”, and Luther Dickinson tore through a blistering solo. “Boxes Bills and Pain” was dark and intense, and Paul Barrere’s slide had commanding authority. We were then given a dose of get-down-dirty as Luther led the band through North Mississippi Allstars’ “Shake”. And to fully satisfy the NOLA crowd, Paul gave us a “Dixie Chicken” that couldn’t be beat, with every musician given space to shine.


After the audience loudly pleaded for an encore, the band obliged us with a smoking hot “Lord Is Waiting”, as Johnny Sansone worked his harmonica over in hardcore fashion. “Black Tar” reminded us the evening was all about rock ‘n’ roll. And a surprise gift came when Taylor Hicks came onstage and offered his soulful vocals and harmonica playing for a twist-and-shout version of “Call Me Willie”, with some “Who Dat!” thrown in for good measure. As Anders and crew closed down with the always rocking “On the Road To Charlie Parker”, after a 4-hour concert, I think it’s safe to say everyone in attendance had a truly “Spectacular” evening. Although we had to return to Mobile, friends have told us that the “Soul” portion of the extravaganza on December 7th was absolutely amazing, with Irma Thomas, Cyril Neville, and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux providing entertainment for all, with soulful delight. After playing back-to-back fabulous Holiday Spectacular shows in 2012 and 2013, it seems Anders Osborne has given the Gulf Coast a wonderful Christmas present: the gift of Music, which is sure to bring joy to audiences for years to come.

Written and edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by: Clayton Roberts    FULL GALLERY HERE

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