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Sunday, March 6, 2011

"New Orleans Ain't A City, It's A Scar..."
or my boys blow up Tipitina's. literally.

Okay, so I have to share this because I think it's kinda awesome, but then again, I am a little biased about the parties involved.

Friday night Old 97's rolled into Nawlins for a Mardi Gras gig at the legendary Tipitina's. I've always wanted to go to Mardi Gras and experience that unique brand of debauchery first hand. Just ask Geo. I've been harping about this journey for years and he's mighty damn sick of hearing it. And now my favorite live band in the entire universe was going to mingle their off-the-charts energy with the craziness of New Orleans' hedonism.

And me stuck in the North.

Jealous, much? You bet your ass!

Fortunately there's this thing called the Internet in which others can gloat share their experiences with us less fortunate fans who are geographically challenged. One of these folks is Jeff Neely, chief administrator from the Old 97's website whose family vacation to New Orleans just happened to coincide with the 97's Tipitina's appearance. Serendipitous, indeed. You can read his full account here.

For this leg of the tour, the guys have been touring with an energetic, in-your-face, punk girl band out of Tennessee known as Those Darlins. These brazen babes are in their 20s and have been teasing the 97's all week about being old men, going so far as posting this good-hearted slam on their Facebook page, "Thanks Grandpas for embarrassing us last night in front of all of our friends in New Orleans! Happy Mardi Gras."

HaHa! Grandpas! I think I like these chicks. HaHaHa!

A fun time not to be missed, for sure, but the enviable experience of this particular show came at the encore break. The normal set up is the band kicks it through 22-25 songs, ending in a clear-out-your-sinuses, string busting, break-neck performance of either Four Leaf Clover or If My Heart Was a Car, after which Rhett returns to the stage for an acoustic two-song set before the rest of the band hits the stage for a 4-5 song explosive encore, finishing the evening with a sweat-soaked Time Bomb.

Everything was going according to plan... and then the bottom literally dropped out.

They ain't afraid of no power outage. Again, how cool and infinitely fulfilling is it to stand on a unexpectedly darkened stage, completely unplugged and listen to a packed house take the reins and sing your words back to you.

The evening didn't end there. Seemingly bewildered as to how to proceed, the lovely blue-eyed one had a brainstorm. Why not, in the midst of the land of unbridled hedonistic drunken debauchery, do a 180 and serve up a Salvation Army song of redemption.

Not the expected send off, but somehow poetically fitting.

My eyes are even more green from envy.

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