Funky southern rockers Little Feat brought their 50th Anniversary Tour to a packed State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis on Monday night. The band has been touring hard this year, and while keys player Bill Payne may be the only founding member from 1969 remaining, he’s is supported by a group of players from their most popular 70’s era incarnation. Early members Kenny Gradney on bass, and percussionist Sam Clayton were joined by Fred Tackett on guitar and drummer Gabe Ford( yes, he’s related to Robben Ford). This talented group of musicians made amazing music Monday night. Unfortunately, Paul Barrere had to pull out of this leg of the tour, and we wish him well as he recovers.
Supporting Little Feat on Monday night were Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams. The duo has a long pedigree, having played for years in Levon Helm’s band, as well as playing with Phil and Friends and Hot Tuna. The married couple made wonderful music together on the State stage. Gorgeous harmonies were matched by masterful fretwork. They both seemed very at ease and had a “down to earth” air about them. Their music sounded classic yet contemporary, and the auditorium reacted warmly between songs. Set highlight was a cover of the Dead tune “Samson and Delilah”. (OK, it was written and sung by Reverend Gary Davis, but the Grateful Dead owned that tune)
Little Feat came on right around 8:30 and broke into classic version of “Spanish Moon”. The band played at a funky, leisurely pace. Larry Campbell was back on stage taking the place of the recuperating Paul Barrere, and just smoked the slide on “Rocket In My Pocket” Kenny Gradney laid down a massively funky bass line on that tune too. There was lots of jamming to be had, and Bill Payne just went to town on “Oh Atlanta” The band played lots of their 70’s hits including “Fat Man In The Bathtub”, “Dixie Chicken” and “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now”. The songs were played just exactly perfect, with the right mix of improvisation.
The crowd at the State knew every word and sang along passionately. They were having as much fun as the band, the joyfulness just gushed off of the stage. Dueling guitars on “Willin’” sweetly bounced around the State Theatre and caused many to get up from their seats. The 90 minute set was superb.
They say time loves a hero, and great music is timeless. Little Feat left it all on the stage Monday night, and left as heroes to a grateful audience.
Setlist: Spanish Moon – Time Loves A Hero – Rocket In My Pocket – Day Or Night – Honest Man – Rooster Rag – Church Falling Down – Sailing Shoes – Fat Man In The Bath Tub – Willin’ – All That You Dream – Dixie Chicken – Let It Roll
Encore: Oh Atlanta – Feats Don’t Fail Me Now