Jorma Kaukonen’s 70th Birthday Bash!
Jorma Kaukonen recently celebrated his 70th birthday with two-nights at New York City’s Beacon Theatre. Performing with Hot Tuna, the evening boasted such music icons as Bob Weir, Steve Earle, Warren Haynes, Chris Smither, Bruce Hornsby, Larry Campbell, Bill Kirchen and many more! These two unbelievable nights of music are best told from Jorma himself. Here are his re-caps of the two evenings complete with set lists. Look for the first new Hot Tuna album on Red House Records this spring!
Wow… what a night at the Beacon last night. We had so many wonderful guests. Happy Traum was the first one up to join us on stage and he did so with Sportin’ Life Blues. Happy and I go way back and back in the day he was one of the major players in the Big Folk Scare. Happy was and is still… one of the Big Dogs. Our next guest was was my old buddy John Hammond. John and I met at Antioch College in 1960. He and I have been friends for fifty years and he was the first of my musical buddies to be a star… he is still a star! As I said last night at the show, a long, long time ago in a parallel universe when I was in the Jefferson Airplane Bill Kirchen was in Commander Cody’s Lost Planet Airmen. Bill is such a good friend and of course he teaches frequently at the Fur Peace Ranch. The cat was really out of the bag now. Larry Campbell came up for Bill’s ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout Chicken and stayed up for ‘Come Back Baby’ joined by the master musician, Warren Haynes. This first set was over but the evening had just begun.
My old friend and colleague, Michael Falzarano, has spent the last seven months choreographing this mad little delight for us and what a great job he’s done. He will be joining us tonight behind his own guitar, but more on that later. Anyway, for the second set we brought up Byron House to join Jack on upright bass. Byron was part of my Grammy nominated CD, ‘Blue Country Heart’ in 2002 and he produced my Red House Records Project ‘Stars In my Crown’ a couple of years later. Speaking of Red House, my friends and colleagues from Red House, Eric Peltoniemi and Ellen Stanley flew in from the Twin Cities and it was really great to see them even for such a short time! Anyway, Byron and Jack are old buddies and they really teamed up together. Larry came out for Genesis and really played some simply beautiful guitar for us. Warren came out and joined Larry and us on Bowlegged Woman… and well, it was quite the notefest.
We welcomed Bruce Hornsby next and Bruce, genius that he is surprised us with a dulcimer… and a mountain version of ‘Children Of Zion.’ I had no idea, but I really dug it. Larry stayed out an played fiddle and for the next number, Bruce got on the Steinway Grand Piano and filled in the blanks on ‘I Know You Rider.’ Back in the stripped down Tuna format we played one of our new songs that we just recorded, ‘If This Is Love, I Want My Money Back.’ My buddy from down home in Meigs County, Mark Markham, penned that romantic ditty and that just set the stage for another dear old friend Chris Smither to come out and play an acoustic version of Blind Boy Fuller’s ‘Step It Up And Go.’ Thanks Chris!
The guitar guys came out for ‘Rock Me Baby’ and stayed of for ‘Funky #7′ with Bruce Hornsby. A twelve and a half minute version with some serious jamming. Here is our set list:
Friday, December 3, 2010
1. I See The Light
2. Corners Without Exits
3. Talkin’ Bout You
4. Can’t Get Satisfied
5. Sportin’ Life Blues with Happy Traum
6. Ode To Billy Dean
7. Living Just For You
8. John Hammond …I Can Tell
9. John Hammond …. You Know That’s Cold
10. Talkin’ Bout chicken with Bill Kirchen and Larry Campbell
11. Come Back Baby with Kirchen and Warren Haynes and Larry Campbell
1. Water Song with Jack & Byron House
2. 99 Year Blues with Jack and Byron
3. Genesis with Larry Campbell
4. Bowlegged Woman with Warren Haynes & Larry Campbell
5. Children of Zion with Bruce Hornsby, Larry Campbell and the Tuna gang
6. I Know You Rider with Bruce Hornsby and Larry Campbell on fiddle
7. I This I Love I Want My Money Back
8. Step It Up And Go with Chris Smither
9. Rock Me Baby (with Larry Campbell, Warren Haynes, and Bill Kirchen)
10. Funky # 7… Warren Haynes, Bill Kirchen, Bruce Hornsby and Larry Campbell
11. Encore: Hit Single #1
Thanks guys… for sharing your art and friendship! Onward!
Oh yeah… one last thing. The great chef Andrew Zimmern did a Brazilian ceviche in my honor. Thanks Andrew. Click his name and check it out. I will.
Well, where to begin? These shows this weekend were just so special to all of us the the Tuna Family. In many respects, New York has always been our musical home… no disrespect to all the other wonderful places that let us play for them… but New York is just, well, New York. To be surrounded by so many musical friends as well as people who have supported us over the years touched me deeply. The years just seemed to cascade over the rocks of my memory. I will truly never forget this one. Here is our set list… reasonably correct, I hope:
Beacon Birthday Bash Day 2
Saturday, December 4, 2010
1. Serpent Of Dreams
2. Been So Long
3. Ode To Billy Dean
4. I Wish You Would
5. San Francisco Bay Blues with Pete Sears
6. Big Railroad Blues with Pete Sears & Michael Falzarano & Bob Weir
7. How Long Blues with Pete Sears & Michael Falzarano
8. If This Is Love I Want My Money Back
9. Bowlegged Woman with Oteil Burbridge, Bob Weir & Bob Steeler
10. Walking Blues with Bob Weir and Oteil Burbridge & Bob Steeler
1. I See The Light with Pete Sears
2. 3rd Week In The Chelsea with Pete Sears
3. Nothing Brings You Down Like Your Home Town with Steve Earle
4. Brand New Companion with Steve Earle
5. 99 Year Blues with Oteil Burbridge
6. When I Paint My Masterpiece with Bob Weir, Pete Sears on accordion
7. Talkin’ Bout You with Bob Steeler
8. Hesitation Blues with Bob Steeler
9. AK-47 with Michael Falzarano and Bob Steeler
10. Funky # 7 Bob Steeler, Oteil Burbridge & Pete Sears
11. Come Back Baby with Steve Earle, Bob Weir, Oteil Burbridge, Michael Falzarano
12. Encore: Baby What You Want Me To Do? With the same cast of characters.
Jack and I certainly felt all the fire from the old days coming out of our fingers… 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.
Lookin’ good and tastin’ good!
This morning at breakfast in the diner, I ran into lots of folks who were at the show last night… Bob Steeler and his family were there… it was better than old times. We may have to do this again!
I would be totally remiss if I didn’t give another big thanks to Louis Rosano of Louis Electric Amps. He provided all the amps for the show. thanks buddy!
Back in Woodstock to finish up the new Hot Tuna for Red House Records.
I think I’ll go get some dinner. I love this job!