Wild Magnolias Featuring Big Chief Bo Dollis and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux @ Tipitina’s – 3/10/12

Wild Magnolias Featuring Big Chief Bo Dollis and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux @ Tipitina's - 3/10/12

Wild Magnolias @ Tipitina's Uptown - 3/10/12 || Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis

Review by Scott Kushner || Photo gallery courtesy of Jeffrey Dupuis

New Orleans is easily distracted.

While eating at world-class restaurants, we talk about our next meal. During cherished celebrations like Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras, we continuously compare it to past years’ events to display our keen levels of appreciation.

Yet on Saturday night at Tipitina’s, there was nothing but joy, gratitude and awe from the age-diverse crowd as took his ailing body to the stage for what some believed to be the final time.

Flanked by fellow legend and the Wild Magnolias, Dollis forced his signature scream and ebullient attitude to crack through the illness which wouldn’t even allow him to stand on his own.

Backed by , the Wild Magnolias with Boudreaux spun through a series of Mardi Gras Indian staples, cranking out crowd favorites “Big Chief”, “Hoo Na Nae” and “Handa Wanda” amongst many others.

But it was Dollis who ratcheted the energy up into a new stratosphere in both of his stints on the microphone. After limping onto the stage with the support of the Wild Magnolias and various family members, Dollis repeatedly told the crowd, “I can’t sing the way I used to.”

He was greeted with a hearty response of, “sing it anyway!”.

So, decked out in a three-piece suit, sitting on a folding chair, Dollis harkened back to the days of parading in a headdress and belted out everything he could in prolonged versions of “Cabbage Alley”.

As he plowed through verse after verse, the crowd’s response grew into a roar of excitement and gratefulness which kept Dollis’ face transfixed with an ear-to-ear smile, and prompted him to frequently proclaim his love for those in attendance.

By his second stint, there were occasions when it seemed Dollis could no longer muster the energy to push out another word into the microphone. For a brief period Dollis appeared frustrated by his limitations and Boudreaux stepped in to assist his old friend as Dollis’ body wouldn’t do what his mind wanted.

Yet just when it seemed Dollis was ready to step down, the grin came back on his face and he let out a perfectly-timed, gravely, throated howl to a sea of raised hands and hearty applause. He sustained the screams between verses and made sure if he was going out, it would be on his own terms.

When the song finally came toward its conclusion, family members went to assist Dollis out of his chair, to escort him off the stage. But Dollis wasn’t quite done yet.

He made certain to capture the poetry of the moment.

With both arms attached to loved-ones, the Big Chief was risen to his feet where he started to swivel his hips, shake his forearms and dance with everything he had left as an eruption of noise came from the crowd.

Jubilant fists filled the air and the floor swayed back and forth as Dollis exited.

Still, the most encapsulating images from Saturday night came on the numerous occasions when Dollis stuck his pronounced, crooked index finger to the crowd and commanded, “One more! One more time!”

God willing, he’s right.

March 11, 2012 |  by  |  Reviews
About the author

Wesley grew up in coastal Georgia and is a former resident of The Music City and The Big Easy where he helped get LMB NOLA off-the-ground after launching in January 2011. Over the past few years, he has also contributed steadily to JamBase and Relix Magazine. Recently, Hodges moved on to L.A. where Abita Beer is hard to find, costs about $6 if located and impromptu parading in the streets will most likely get you arrested on the spot.

 
  • Mcshalett

    Great stuff. Grateful to be a part of it.

  • Guest

    It was an amazing night for him and the rest of us who witnessed it. I’m so hoping there’s still one more time again and again from him. He’s a legend.

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