Jorma Celebrates 70
(Jambands.com) Over the weekend Electric Hot Tuna opened a two night stand at New York City’s Beacon Theatre. The weekend’s shows also double as a 70th birthday celebration for Jorma Kaukonen and a number of guest musicians joined in to mark the occasion. Acoustic guitarist Happy Traum was the first bonus player, as he appeared on “Sportin’ Life Blues” five songs into the first set. A bit later John Hammond joined in for “I Can Tell.” The set eventually closed out in climactic fashion as Warren Haynes, Larry Campbell and Bill Kirchen guested on “Come Back Baby.”
The second set opened with Byron House adding bass to “Water Song” and “99 Year Blues.” Larry Campbell then stepped back out for “Genesis” before Haynes returned for “Bowlegged Woman.” Campbell next moved from guitar to fiddle as Bruce Hornsby appeared on dulcimer during “Children of Zion.” Hornsby then switched to piano for “I Know You Rider.” Chris Smither later appeared for ““Step It Up And Go,” before the set closed out with Haynes, Campbell and Kirchen lending hands during “Rock Me Baby,” and Hornsby joining these players for “Funky # 7.”
Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, Allman Brothers Band bassist Oteil Burbridge, singer/songwriter Steve Earle and guitarist Michael Falzarano were among the musicians who joined Hot Tuna for Saturday nights performance. Former Hot Tuna keyboardist Pete Sears kicked off the night’s parade of guests during “San Francisco Bay Blues” five songs into the group’s set. He was joined by longtime Tuna guitarist Michael Falzarano and Bob Weir for “Big Railroad Blues.” Falzarano, who helped orchestrate the show’s special guests, remained onstage with Sears for “How Long Blues.” After a guest-free take on “If This Is Love I Want My Money Back,” Weir, Oteil Burbridge and former Hot Tuna drummer Bob Steeler emerged for “Bowlegged Woman” and “Walking Blues.”
The group’s second set featured even more collaborations. Sears kicked things off by playing keyboards on “I See The Light” and “3rd Week In The Chelsea.” Soon after, Steve Earle took the stage for “Nothing Brings You Down Like Your Home Town” and “Brand New Companion” while Burbridge returned for “99 Year Blues.” Immediately after, Weir took the stage again for Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” with Sears on accordion. Steeler returned behind the kit for a segment consisting of “Talkin’ Bout You,” “Hesitation Blues” and “AK-47” (the latter of which featured Falzarano).
The show came to a close with Steeler, Sears and Burbridge onstage for “Funky # 7,” Weir, Burbridge, Falzarano and Earle performing together on “Come Back Baby” and most of the evening’s guests jamming on a show-closing “Baby What You Want Me To Do?”“Jack and I certainly felt all the fire from the old days coming out of our fingers,” Jorma wrote on his blog. “Well, I don’t want to gush too much but we sure got to play some great songs with great people. After the show downstairs they broke out the cake they presented me on stage and it tasted just as good as it looked.”
Hot Tuna is currently finishing its first studio album in several decades at Levon Helm’s Woodstock, NY-area studio. Larry Campbell is helping with production duties.