EmptyPink Elephant, New York
Thursday, Nov. 8
One of the original architects of rock 'n' roll, Lloyd Price, was singing his heart out on "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," while Fats Domino pounded furiously on the piano nearby.
No, it wasn't 1952, when the song was originally recorded, but rather Thursday night in New York, where the duo reunited a mere 55 years later to reprise their performance of the vintage classic. It was the nostalgic high point of "Goin' Home: An Evening Honoring Fats Domino and the Music of New Orleans," an event that marked Fats' first appearance in New York in more than 20 years.
The evening, celebrating the similarly named all-star tribute album recently released by Vanguard Records, brought the Big Easy to the Big Apple for the benefit of the Tipitina's Foundation, a New Orleans-based nonprofit organization seeking to preserve the city's musical legacy.
Unfortunately, save for the aforementioned collaboration and a teasingly few bars of "Blueberry Hill," Fats, who looked and sounded robust, mainly sat out the evening. Rather, he took in the proceedings from an overhead balcony, standing and waving to acknowledge the frequent ovations thrown his way. In a preperformance ceremony, he received the key to the city from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
A house band consisting of such stellar musicians as Ivan Neville, Leo Nocentelli (the Meters), Wycliffe Gordon, Adam Deitch, Eric Krasno (Soulive) and Donald Harrison Jr. delivered a strong set of New Orleans-based funk and rock. Although the bigger names were absent, several guest stars showed up to reprise their performances from the album. Highlights included Olu Dara's mellow, drawling take on "When I See You," Toots Hibbert's (minus the Maytals) reggae-infused "Let the Four Winds Blow" and Allen Toussaint's rollicking "I'm Walking."