Rock Room on the Road – Little Feat – Waiting for Columbus 45th Anniversary Tour – Point of Bluff Vineyards 9/25/22

by | Sep 27, 2022 | 0 comments

Famed rock and roll grooves-men, Little Feat brought their  45th anniversary celebration of the renowned live album Waiting
for Columbus
to the picturesque Point of Bluff Vineyards in
Hammondsport, NY. A heavy overcast day did not dampen the spirits of the band
who played an incendiary set comprised of the entire 1978 Columbus LP.

Longevity is the hallmark of this highly influential band
that has weathered several lineup changes and losses since the 1979 death of
founding member Lowell George. Underrepresented by the mainstream, yet respected
by their peers, Little Feat remains a celebrated group of musicians who
continue to thrill on the live concert stage.

The current lineup of Little Feat features core members,
keyboardist Bill Payne, Sam Clayton on percussion and Kenny Gradney on bass.
They are supplemented by drummer Tony Leone who joined in 2019, guitarist Scott
Sherrard in 2020 as well as longtime Feat guitarist Fred Tackett. The band wasted no time in cracking open familiar
melodies and arrangements with exciting musical approaches. This current
collaboration of Little Feat is not a nostalgic jukebox but an eager disseminator of fresh takes.

The band took the stage to a prerecorded reading of “Join the
Band” and immediately jumped both feat into “Fat Man in the Bathtub.” The three-pronged
rhythm section trident immediately propelling the pulse of the band with a
churning groove.  The group sailed
through the song’s off kilter changes with lead guitarist Scott Sherrard
slicing and dicing with his amped Stratocaster slide guitar.

Following a pleading “All That You Dream” that revealed a
ravenous jam itching to get out from it’s original skin, the group floored it
down I-75 for a Bill Payne performance “Oh Atlanta”. Payne filled the tank with
boogie-woogie fueling a high octane performance.

After a groovy Tony Leone sung “Old Folks Boogie,” Bill
Payne dedicated “Time Loves a Hero” to past Little Feat legends, Lowell George,
Richie Hayward, and Paul Barrare. He meant it, because “Time Loves a Hero”
became a multifaceted exploration with each player listening intently to the
others culminating in a inspirational peak. Once again the rhythm section of Gradney, Leone and Clayton percolated beneath
the soloists providing a perfect shifting bed of percussive interplay.

“Day or Night” followed and unexpectedly became the biggest
jam vehicle of the evening thus far with each respective member getting a
chance to spotlight their chops and assert themselves melodically. The jamming was a series of relentless grooves and
high musical acumen. This hearty version of “Day or Night” was only a lead in to the major crux of the show.

“Mercenary Territory” was played
deliciously funky, yet suspicious with Payne’s organ undertow providing a
sinister layer to the groove. Sherrard stepped comfortably into the substantial loafers of
Lowell George with stellar vocals as well as piercing peaks on slide guitar.

A devastating double banger of “Spanish
Moon” segued into “Skin It Back” kept the propellant rhythms moving while
allowing Fred Tackett to take a dirty solo spot in “Spanish Moon.” Payne broke down the mid song arrangement with a piano, keyboard and synth wash
disorienting the changes before Sherrard took the second solo spot down like a
shot and with big riffs. His soloing initiated a seamless transition into “Skin It Back.”
Kenny Gradney, thumped out a rotund and frisky lead bass line which would remain
standard for the rest of the evening. A highlight performance.

A fifteen-minute medley of “Dixie
Chicken” into “Tripe Face Boogie” hit every beat, change, start, stop and lick
one could hope for and was relentless in it’s delicious and vicious
instrumental improv. Fred Tackett even played some trumpet. Bill Payne illustrated why he is one of the finest
pianists in the history of rock and roll history with a well spring of melodic fragments,
accomplished playing and band direction. By the time the band hit “Tripe Face
Boogie” the seated were forced to stand and the band was smiling in
satisfaction. Sherrard and Tackett took the “Boogie” over the edge with frothing string bending and guitar weaving.

Following the exhaustive jamming,
the band brought it down low for some slow stony swaying for the first time in
the performance. “Willin” received great applause assisting in a poignant
version with an extended opening instrumental. Bill Payne then introduced “Don’t
Bogart That Joint” as a, “song from my old band” while eagle eyed Scott Sharrard
spotted someone partaking in the crowd.

While the assembled cooled out, the
band played the penultimate song of the set with a straight and neutral “Apolitical Blues” sandwiching
Sam Clayton singing a welcome take on Muddy Waters “Long Distance Call.” The band
again got to show out their skills, this time inside the twelve-bar framework. Little
Feat then offered their own unique take on the blues, and closed the set with the
appropriate sendoff of “Sailin’ Shoes.”

After a hearty encouragement to
return to the stage, Little Feat initiated their farewell with “Feats Don’t
Fail Me Now.” Members of the opening act Miko Marks joined the group on backing
vocals as a big sing a long ensued. Played even faster than classic line up versions, the Feat rolled through the night and onto their next gig with a big
truck version. Jamming until the last drop, “Let It Roll,”, the only deviation
from the Waiting for Columbus LP closed the show with the proper
message to take home.

Far from nostalgia and still
jamming strong, Little Feat’s celebration of one of the greatest live albums in
rock history is a worthy endeavor. Having experienced loss, the group has found
something new and worthy of their legacy. Collectively they retain a strong sense
of their history, and still a fearlessness to take new musical detours from long familiar
roads.

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