John Mclaughlin / Jimmy Herring @ The Joy Theather New Orleans 11/30/17

I was fortunate enough to witness the first time these two played together at Paul Reed Smith's 40th anniversary party in Baltimore . Mclaughlin got a taste of what it was like to play cranked up again and decided to join forces with Jimmy Herring for a final farewell tour .
Jimmy Herring's band served as the opening act . He drew from his funky rock fusion catalog with familiar band members from his various bands and projects . I had never heard of Jimmy Herring until he replaced Jerry Garcia in The Grateful Dead . People were raving about him but my preconceived notions about anything connected with The Dead prevented me from paying any attention whatsoever . As far as I was concerned The Dead sucked and I'd be grateful when they all died .

Years later I discovered Project X and really loved the guitar playing . I was really stunned to learn Jimmy Herring was the guitar player since I had dismissed him as Jerry's replacement . (Oh Well) Now I'm a fan and find him a very skilled , unique player well worth a listen . I especially admire his expressive volume pedal technique featured on his critically acclaimed solo album LIFEBOAT .Jimmy is one of the few guys that favors a dirty rock tone but swings like a jazz be bop sax guy while shredding .

The venue had no seats on the floor . We arrived early and were able to secure standing room six feet from the stage . Herrings band came out and killed . They kept the crowd riveted through out their set of top notch genre bending instrumentals . What a treat .

Ten minutes later Mclaughlin's band appears and immediately starts burning on the opening track from the new album BLACK LIGHT . His band is smoking . The bass player took a solo in the first song that had the standing room only crowd screaming their approval . I wasn't the only one that couldn't believe that John Mclaughlin was playing loud distorted guitar . I could also tell when his hands cramped up during some of his more furious solos . They played medleys of his tunes from his entire electric catalog including stuff from Bitches Brew , The One Truth Band and the best current barnburners with The 4th Dimension .

I almost shit myself when he broke into Lila's Dance followed by Electric Dreams ,Hijacked and his brilliant tribute to Paco De Lucia . The set ended with The Dark Prince complete with a mind blowing Jaco inspired bass solo that brought the house down . By that time I was exhausted . We thought the show was over until a guy we met told us BOTH bands do a third set . What ? How can they top that .

Soon everybody takes the stage ; two drummers , three keyboards & violin , both bass players and Jimmy Herring . John Mclauglin comes out strapped to a PRS double neck smiling from ear to ear . The crowd got quiet and Mclaughlin turns the 12 string on and starts the intro to Meeting of the Spirits .....The title track from the first Mahavishnu Orchestra album . Everybody went nuts . To my disbelief they continued to play all the best Mahavishnu tunes from the first three albums ! I never thought I'd ever see this performed live and wasn't expecting it . I finally got to see how Mclaughlin plays the intro to Birds of Fire . They ripped into Noonward Race , Birds of Fire and Open Country Joy . My life was complete when they played Lila's Dance in its entirety with the Jean Luc Ponty violin part intact . Mclaughlin didn't miss a note . He did allow for plenty of keyboard & violin solos and gave Jimmy Herring ample opportunity to get in on the action as the dueling got more and more intense .

My legs were shot . My mind was blown . I was starting to leave when they started Eternity's Breath . I didn't think this song could even be played live . Its probably one of Mclaughlin's greatest compositions . They played part I &II with Mclaughlin & Herring nailing the blistering outro monster pentatonic lick made famous by Zakk Wylde as the " greatest ever played " .  

I don't think too many 72 year old guys can pull off a night of guitar playing with that level of intensity . I didn't think he had it in him . We can only hope to be that potent in our 70s .What a fuckin' send off . When he walked off stage I knew I'd never see him again . Everybody walked out of the venue speechless . Wooo. 




Comments

  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,488
    edited December 2017
    i wish to hell i’d have been able to see this with y’all.  work has been pounding me in the ass every day since we last had a beer.
    Post edited by bourbonsamurai on
  • Sounds like a killer concert. Wish I had seen that. Glad you enjoyed it!!
  • jebbuddajebbudda Posts: 5,030
    i wish to hell i’d have been able to see this with y’all.  work has been pounding me in the ass every day since we last had a beer.


    Missed you at Big Easy Guitar Festival as well . Hopefully you can get a break soon . Sonny Landreth plays The Joy this Saturday . We got tickets for Dr John and Black Label Society this month . December is packed .
  • jebbudda said:
    i wish to hell i’d have been able to see this with y’all.  work has been pounding me in the ass every day since we last had a beer.


    Missed you at Big Easy Guitar Festival as well . Hopefully you can get a break soon . Sonny Landreth plays The Joy this Saturday . We got tickets for Dr John and Black Label Society this month . December is packed .
    did you see where McLaughlin EBayed his doubleneck PRS after concluding the tour?  it fetched $49k+
Sign In or Register to comment.