You know you've been to a great show when the drummer introduces the headliner for his encore as "One pissed off motherfucker."
In New Orleans last night, Dr. John summed up the conditions that the city's culture is still reeling from.
"It's fucked up when 20 cop cars show up to a Second Line. They have to understand that this is a spiritual city. Tootie Montana died at City Hall trying to straighten this shit out."
Big Chief Montana was protesting the arrests of Mardi Gras Indians at the annual St. Joseph's Day gathering the year before Hurricane Katrina, and he stood up and said "This has Got to Stop," had a heart attack and died. The Indians carried him out singing their traditional, My Indian Red.
New Orleans classics like My Indian Red, Iko Iko, and the great Wardell Quezergue's It Ain't My Fault do something to your molecular structure when you've lived here long enough. All it takes is a few bars of:
Come kitty kitty come come, walk on gilded splinters . . .
And there you are in another trance staring at the skeleton on the piano.
Last night, Dr. John expounded for a good five minutes at the end of his show and noted that so many people, audience members included, were fucked over after the levee failure. He preaches it everywhere. Every show, every town.
How every level of government failed Katrina survivors, and the help still coming is from individuals. When he's talking to his hometown it's preaching to the choir, but it helps at least this choir member's seething core of rage.
A tireless supporter of the Gulf Coast, he has lent his voice to restoring the wetlands, New Orleans Musicians Clinic and the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. He's become a friend.
An old friend Rev. Goat Carson played jawbone and at times waved his raven's wing over the crowd because, as he says, in the end the buzzard gets us all. Dr. John and Goat wrote the new song, My People Need a Second Line that closed the show. If his next CD is as good as this song, he should have another Grammy coming.
A second concert Saturday night featured, I'm glad to report, just as much pissedoffedness.
Follow Karen Dalton-Beninato on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kbeninato