Bruce Springsteen Starts ‘Seeger Sessions’ Tour At 2006 New Orleans Jazz Fest
One of the most powerful concerts in Bruce Springsteen and Jazz Fest history took place on April 30, 2006 in New Orleans. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival hosted the first stop of Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions tour a mere eight months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. The Boss released a concert film featuring the entire set for free on his YouTube channel.
Springsteen’s The Sessions Band featured violinists Sam Bardfield and Soozie Tyrell, multi-instrumentalist Art Baron, guitarists Marc Anthony Thompson and Frank Bruno, bassist Jeremy Chatzky, drummer Larry Eagle, trombonists Clark Gayton and Richie “La Bamba” Rosenberg, keyboardist Charlie Giordano, banjoist Greg Liszy, saxophonist Ed Manion, trumpeters Mark Pender and Curt Ramm and pedal steel and dobro wiz Marty Rifkin as well as vocalists Lisa Lowell, Curtis King Jr. and Cindy Mizelle. In addition, Bruce’s wife and E Street Band member Patti Scialfa took part in the tour.
The New Jersey native was on the road in support of We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, an album filled with covers of songs by Pete Seeger that came out five days before the Jazz Fest set. “We came down the day before,” Springsteen told Backstreets editor Chris Philips last weekend at the Asbury Park Music & Film Festival (APMFF), “and we went down to the Lower Ninth Ward and saw a lot of the devastation. Rock ‘n’ roll is at its best when there are high stakes on the table. That’s when something much, much larger than yourself can happen. It’s music that’s meant to push up against things, whatever they may be: against troubles, against hard times. It’s a lovely and fortuitous day to be able perform a small service for people… it’s one of my favorites, one of the Top Five of my lifelong musical experiences.”
“My City Of Ruins” was a peak moment of the emotional set and video of the performance was screened at the APMFF. “The nice thing is, we have the entire film of the band at Jazz Fest that we just finished, so that’s gonna be coming out,” Bruce confirmed in Asbury Park and a week later the whole show was released on YouTube. Springsteen’s set was part of a Jazz Fest organizer Quint Davis called a “shared catharsis,” as there was a period of time when the status of the festival was in jeopardy due to the condition of the Fairgrounds. Other standout moments from the official debut of The Sessions Band (a few warmup shows was were held in Asbury Park) were a “How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?” The Boss dedicated to “President Bystander,” a fun take on “Buffalo Gals,” the poignant “We Shall Overcome” and the “When The Saints Go Marching In” finale.
Watch Bruce Springsteen & The Sessions Band’s performance at the 2006 Jazz Fest:
Setlist (via BruceBase)
Set: O Mary Don’t You Weep, John Henry, Johnny 99, Old Dan Tucker, Eyes On The Prize, Jesse James, My Oklahoma Home, Mrs. McGrath, How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?, Jacob’s Ladder, We Shall Overcome, Open All Night, Pay Me My Money Down, My City Of Ruins, Buffalo Gals, You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch), When The Saints Go Marching In