After a long holiday weekend and an exhausting summer of music all around the country, a mellow sit down show at Yoshi's featuring Dr. John and his band was, appropriately, just what the doctor ordered. But this was to be no ordinary show at the legendary Oakland jazz club.

Having arrived at the sushi and jazz Mecca of Yoshi's in the east bay around 9:45, there was plenty of time for our small but dedicated team to grab a quick cocktail and nestle into the spacious and comfy booths lining the inner circle of tables. The good doctor's piano sat perched at the edge of the stage draped in voodoo, purple bunting and the skull of some lucky individual peering out at the three quarters capacity crowd. As the band warmed up the audience out came the voodoo daddy himself...Dr. John. Wearing his trademark necklace around his neck, (consisting of large teeth) he danced gingerly with his always-present wooden cane balanced in the air as he strolled up to his bench. When he took his seat his fingers lit into the keys and had the room that was peaceful and serene moments before, shouting and raising their hands. He continued to pound away with an effortless air about his hands before transitioning to a floating and melodic tribute to Duke Ellington. Having mellowed the scene and smiled his way through several more excellently played numbers the guitar took over for a long and sometimes lyrically indecipherable version of "I Walk On Guilded Splinters." This often-covered classic (a psychedelic swamp boogie) was an absolute standout. A long and expansive middle section was brought around with true force that had us feelin the burn. He began to close out the hour and half show this night with a great version of "Basin Street" a great song which was requested at the earlier show "but I know their not here, so now I’ll play it." Next was “Sweet home New Orleans” and his best known hit, "Right Place, Wrong Time" which he introduced by telling the crowed to get up out of their seats and dance. The crowd obliged and with this, we were offered the opportunity to feel good and shake with no inhibition at the legendary nightclub on the East side of the bay.

What was expected to be a mellow night of New Orleans Boogie and R&B mixed with a pinch of Voodoo turned into another rollicking night of music. “The Night Tripper” brought some southern charm and a whole lot of class to the table that night. A truly fitting end to this writers first summer in the "City by the Bay." Laissez les bon temps roulet!

Andrew J. Warren
JamBase | Mill Valley
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[Published on: 9/13/02]

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