CONCERT RECAP: An evening with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood @ Tipitina’s Uptown – 9/25/12

The house lights dimmed at the corner of Tchop and Napoleon, setting the mood for Professor Longhair’s omnipotent smile to shine down upon the howling Freak and Rollers in attendance at Tipitina’s. Plumes of ganja smoke billowed from the beak of a psychedelic owl as Chris Robinson took the stage and plugged his Vox guitar into his moon and stars encased twin reverb amplifier. If you have been a member of the Chris Robinson congregation before, you know that I am not even messing with you.

The lit up the stage singing for the crowd to Try Rock n Roll; to clap their hands and stomp their feet to a driving rhythm and a major-7 guitar solo. The rhythm section of CRB is staffed by the tiny terror, Mark “Muddy” Dutton on bass and George Sluppick on drums.

The band grooved through “Tomorrows Blues” and into “Mother of Stone” with the knack of precision that only a truly road-worn and weathered group of music aficionados can muster, proving to the already-mesmerized crowd that the night was going to be a seamless fruition of timeless entertainment.

One of my favorite things about seeing CRB is that you never see the same set twice. The notebook of lyrics that Chris flips through during the set evidences their immense catalog of songs. “Tornado” was thrown into the set tonight, and in the 20+ times I have seen CRB/Black Crowes, this was the first time I had witnessed it (and only second time I had ever heard of it being played). Its original recording on the Crowe’s Tall Sessions features a solitary guitar and voice, but tonight the band brought out its full-bodied, ether-like taste for all to sample.

The soulful harmonies that only feuding brothers can sing are irreplaceable, but Chris has done his best by adding singer/songwriter Neal Casal. Robinson and Casal harmoniously lulled the crowd into a deep sway, with the view of a dusty highway stiffly in the rearview.

Art demands the artist; and so is true for Chris Robinson. His full beard, stringy brown hair, and maniacal smile hide the obvious emotions that flow from the lyrics of “The Last Place That Love Lives.” A number of marriages and remarriages have pulled at one arm, while the call of the road has pulled at his other. It seems as though in Chris’ case, the road has won.

After a brief intermission, the crowd sprung back into action at the sound of descending guitar line in “Tulsa Yesterday.” The Casal harmonies fought through the smoke filled air to please listener’s ears. Then the band broke down the audience’s defenses with a latin, Santana-esque solo break that had even the stiffest audience members moving. The beginning of “West LA Fadeaway” pushed the audience deeper into a funky groove that the 405 only knows before dawn. The crowd rode this traffic-free jam on into a sexually charged acapella verse of “Ride.” CRB skillfully crooned the crowd with the highway outlaw ballad of “Driving Wheel” and brought it all home with the funkified organ intro riff to “Rosalee,” brought to us in large part by the mercurial, face-fluxing organist, Adam MacDougall.

The crowd continued to move to the beat and sing the chorus of “Rosalee” well after the band ran off stage. The band came back for a wholehearted encore performance of “Reflections of a Broken Mirror.” And upon the finale, Chris sang the crowd out of the building with a rendition of “It’s Late.” With that, Robinson donned his wizard gnome cap, mounted a mescaline covered California grizzly bear, and rode into a tie-dye rainbow sunset.

So remember kids, Freak America Loves You.

Concert review written by Max Hills.

- Set One -
TRY ROCK N ROLL
TOMORROW BLUES
MOTHER OF STONE
TORNADO
MEANWHILE IN THE GODS…
STAR OR STONE
VIBRATION & LIGHT SUITE
LAST PLACE THAT LOVE LIVES

- Set Two -
JUMP THE TURNSTILE
TULSA YESTERDAY
WHEEL DON’T ROLL
WEST L.A. FADEAWAY
TOUGH MAMA
RIDE
DRIVING WHEEL
ROSALEE

- Encore -
REFLECTIONS OF A BROKEN MIRROR
IT’S LATE

September 27, 2012 |  by  |  Editor's Favorites, Photos, Reviews
About the author

Can be your friend if you like words. Can probably be your friend even if you do not like words. Lives in New Orleans, looks for shade. Thanks Miner Johnson (@brahbrahbrah) for this prestigious career. You should thank him, too.

 
  • The Nomad

    I like your well chosen words to describe the CRB experience.

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