My best friend, since high school I might add, took me to New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Here's a day-by-day recount of our musical experiences at the festival. In a nutshell: We caught the headliners.
When I arrived at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival grounds, I made a beeline for the Gentilly Stage so I could catch the tail end of Lake Street Dive’s set.
The four-piece group has a reggae, retro persona and a deep-voiced frontwoman with sex appeal and sparkly shoes. It didn’t disappoint.
Rachael Price, the lead vocalist, sang flawlessly from her hourglass figure, flaunted in an A-line dress that could defeat Audrey Hepburn in a “Who Wore It Better” contest.
After a couple tracks from its latest album “Side Pony,” I sauntered to the Acura Stage to see The Revivalists. I had seen David Shaw perform solo at an intimate venue near where I live, so I knew what to expect.
Female festivalgoers fawned over Shaw’s voice and likely more, considering his pants were tighter than any I own. In an amount of jewelry equal to Nickelback members, Shaw gave a solid performance with a few traditional rock hits and some slower beach-chill tracks that had me ready to stage hop.
No concern there, because I had to secure a spot near the stage for my favorite band and potentially sole purpose of existence, Earth, Wind & Fire. But first, PJ Morton.
While waiting at the Congo Square Stage to funk out, I danced and smiled to the end of Morton’s set. He sang a charming song about his mother, his girl and all other New Orleans girls that won over the crowd in two-minute moment sweeter than pie.
Then. Earth. Wind. & F-A-Y-A, as the couple next to us said so adorably. They are in the photo above.
Luckily, with their help and others around me, I had a spot right by the fence just before the VIP section. At 5’0, I could actually see the stage. Shock ensued.
I won’t bore you with details, but I couldn’t stop crying after Earth, Wind & Fire performed. With three of its original members, the group sounded like every one of their records I’ve played in my home countless times.
“Sing a Song,” “September” and “Serpentine Fire” were all in the mix. They finished with “In The Stone,” a song I love and didn’t expect to hear. They performed all the songs I love, and then some.
The tears were real; the performance meant that much to me.
We didn’t rush to the festival Saturday.
When we arrived, we quickly realized the Acura Stage, where Stevie Wonder would perform, was filling up, and fast. We plopped down next to a swarm of families in lawn chairs for the end of Irma Thomas’ set.
Her soothing voice made me glad I brought my boyfriend’s handkerchief to wave when she requested this from the crowd. Her relaxed vibe, however, only stirred anticipation for Stevie’s performance.
To my surprise, the seemingly never-ending crowds that kept coming toward us didn’t want to encroach on those in lawn chairs. This meant, you guessed it, I could see the stage, again. I also had a clear view of the screen, which was convenient for someone who didn’t wear their glasses.
Stevie didn’t wait long to play “Superstition,” which had all the people in lawn chairs on their feet. As expected, his voice sounded great.
I noticed Stevie played a miniature keyboard, which gave his sound an unexpected twist. I liked it.
I will also note his backup singers sounded heavenly.
I teared up, again, when Stevie sang "You Are The Sunshine of My Life." What a sap?!
My parents always call me sunshine, and the music at this festival brought them to my mind more often than not. It made me feel emotional about A) their fantastic taste in music B) how they are the sunshine (s) of my life. I'm a lucky lady.
Day 3 was reserved so my friend could see Kings of Leon.
I’m not a fan, so I knew few songs the group played, but I still enjoyed it.
The singer was a man of few words, speaking only one sentence the entire set. He also sings with a bit of a furrowed brow, so he looks a tad frustrated, or pensive depending on how you look at it.
From what I gathered, Kings of Leon played songs from various albums. Finishing with this group ensured me that every artist selected the perfect set, a combination of hits for the newbies and lesser-known tracks for fanboys and fangirls.
Members of the Jazz & Heritage Festival lineup know how to please a crowd.
Hey, I'm Savannah. I collect records, and they collect dust. Like my preferred media form, I strive to not become obsolete. I created Off the Record as a way to turn my mind inside out, into something visual and tangible. One is the loneliest number, so I asked my friends to join.