Monday, September 18, 2006

How I Survived the "Feat Fest", or "Feats Don't Fail Me Now"

"...and if you give me weed, whites, and wine / and you show me a sign / I'll be willin' / to be movin'..."

That line was sung by 1,000 Little Feat fans at the auditorium in Eureka Springs this past Saturday night (9/16). (By the way, the song is called "Willin'", written by Lowell George in 1970 - must give credit where credit is due...)

The 1st annual Little Feat "Feat Fest" was this past weekend. Dr. John, who was most famous for "Right Place, Wrong Time", performed Friday night, and unfortunately, I was not able to attend that one. I was told that I missed a hell of a show. Little Feat performed Saturday night, and it was one of the best concerts I have ever seen, and I have been to a LOT of concerts! I had seen the Feat before at Wildwood Auditorium back in 2003, and a buddy of mine who I will call Mr. Spacely (because he looks like the cartoon character from the Jetsons) & I had backstage passes. We got to meet and mingle with all seven members of the band. I got some really good pictures with all seven members, and they all took turns at signing my Little Feat box set, "Hotcakes and Outtakes". I refuse to part with that one - that box set will stay with me forever. They were very fan-friendly that evening, and I got a good picture of Bill Payne, Paul Barrere, Kenny Gradney, and the Wildwood organizer clowning around. I will never forget that night as long as I live.

Fast forward to 2006. The Feat Fest at Eureka Springs. Why Eureka Springs, you may ask? Well, guitarist/mandolinist Fred Tackett is from Eureka Springs. Whoever did the publicity for this show did one hell of a job. My biggest regret of the weekend? From 3 - 5 p.m. at Basin Park, they had a Feat Jam, and anyone with an instrument was invited to join in. Fred Tackett sat in, and the jam was pretty cool. My regret is that I didn't bring my guitar. They did a jam on "Good Lovin'", "The Weight", and "I Know You Rider", and I know all those songs on guitar! I would have fit right in! Oh well - I will remember this come next year...

Anyway, there were so many Feat songs missing from the set that I would have loved to hear live - "Tripe Face Boogie", "Day at the Dog Races", "Time Loves a Hero", "Down on the Farm", just to name a few. But the ones they did play - whew! These guys (and gal - must not forget Shaun Murphy) smoked! They really cook live, and if you don't believe me, run to the nearest music store and buy the live album "Waiting for Columbus", from 1978. This is one of the best live albums ever released, period. I think they are even better now than they were then, and that is no disrespect toward the late Lowell George. The Feat would not be where they are if it weren't for him.

After the concert, bassist Kenny Gradney, drummer Richie Hayward, and Fred Tackett came to the lobby to mingle with the fans. I walked up to Kenny and told him that his past was coming back to haunt him, and I showed him a picture of me and him from 2003. He told me that he sees that I am still wearing that same shirt! I never realized that, and then he signed my picture & took another one with me. Same with Richie, and the same with Fred. Fred was also a wonderful storyteller as well - he explaned how Jimi Hendrix crashed on his couch at one time! I thought, WOW! That was just too cool.

Unfortunately, they did not stay long. They had to be in New Mexico this evening! I know Shaun Murphy had to be tired. One of the Feat's crew members told me that Shaun was in New York on the Letterman show on Thursday with Bob Seger, and then had to catch a quick flight from there to Memphis to perform her heart out with the Feat for their next show. She is such a versatile singer - just as comfortable with country, blues, and jazz as she is with rock. And she can belt out a mean blues too! She did a killer version of Bob Dylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" that would have made Janis Joplin proud - Shaun is the closest thing to Janis that we have. That's right - put a fork in Melissa Etheridge, she's DONE. Melissa does not even come close to Shaun's (or Janis's) intensity.

I know that Little Feat is one of America's greatest and best-loved bands - why are they not in the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame? We live in a world that has U2 getting in the first year of their eligibility, and yet the Feat is still not in. What gives?

But I can not end this post without saying something about Eureka Springs. This is one great town - everyone is so friendly and polite. Spacely had never been to Eureka Springs, and I hadn't been since 1985. The history of this town is pretty fascinating. I may come back for a vacation in 2007. I'll definitely come back for the second Feat Fest!

What a hell of a way to begin a vacation! More on the vacation in a future post...