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Story by and photos by Matt SchwenkeJust days before his 67th birthday, Dr. John, born Mac Rebennack paid a visit to Turner Hall on his latest tour, and while his walk shows signs of his age, The Night Tripper still sings and plays the keys with a youthful fervor and brought the crowd to their feet with his timeless mix of New Orleans rhythm and blues and rock.
Advertised as a sit down show, only a few daring couples danced up front to the sounds of the instant classic "Such A Night" and the deep voodoo groove of "Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya," that opened the set. But with a little bit of urging, the dance floor filled up quickly with the boogie woogie of "Right Place Wrong Time." Followed up by the easy going and dance friendly "Wild Honey" from the 1978 release City Lights, Dr. John and his band had the crowd hootin' and hollerin' out on the dance floor. While the set mainly culled from Dr. John's earlier music, an emotional take on "Sweet Home New Orleans" from the 2005 release Sippiana Hericane, which the Dr. said gives him an attitude any time he plays a number from the Hurricane Katrina benefit album, made everyone in the northern venue feel a bit more southern and feel for the devastation of his hometown.
"When the Saints Go Marching In" would lift the crowd back up, and as Dr. John walked off the stage with his band flexing their musical muscle, The Night Tripper would return for an encore to his 90-minute set with some mean blues, and proved he's still "one bad mutha'."
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