October 04 2023 By Dan Rozman Photos by Mark Raker
Little Feat returned to Washington DC’s historic Warner Theatre for two sold-out shows. The shows were part of their Albums Tour and each night highlighted a different album The October 4th concert was an energetic and funky performance that had the crowd on their feet. This show celebrated the 50th anniversary of their beloved album “Dixie Chicken.”
The band kicked off the night with the title track, with founding member Bill Payne’s signature piano riff leading the way. The band consisted of Bill Payne, Keyboards and Vocals; Sam Clayton, Percussion and Vocals; Fred Tackett, Guitars and Vocals, Kenny Gradney, Bass; Scott Sharrard, Guitars and Vocals; and Tony Leone, drums.
One of the highlights was when award-winning renowned local saxophonist Ron Holloway, a longtime Little Feat collaborator, joined them as a special guest for several songs. His smooth sax melodies on “Kiss It Off” and the funky jam “Spanish Moon/Skin It Back” had the crowd cheering. The interplay between Holloway and Payne was a treat to witness.
Other standouts from the 19-song setlist were the rollicking “Fat Man in the Bathtub,” the poignant ballad “Roll ‘Um Easy,” and a rousing cover of “Got My Mojo Working.” Payne seemed genuinely humbled by the multi-generational crowd singing along to classics like “Dixie Chicken” and “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now.”
I was fortunate to speak with Bill Payne this summer before they played at the Hot August Music Festival. In addition to talking about the band’s love for the Washington DC area and reminiscing on the early days when they lived here, during that conversation, Payne talked about how he writes and the inspiration behind some of their songs. “I think the art of storytelling should be a big component in songwriting songs. That’s a good focus to have and you can make things exceedingly personal if you want. In addition to writing to relate to the audience, I use the writing process, both musically and from a lyrical standpoint to relate to myself.” During the conversation, Bill shared insights into the band’s history, and his experiences collaborating with other artists. Additionally, he talked about “Carnival Ghosts, his upcoming autobiographical book. ”
The book will regale the reader with stories and experiences from his life and career. Writing about his life’s journey has been both enjoyable and challenging, as he aims to capture the essence of who he is and his significant role in Little Feat. The book, still a work in progress, is expected to be released in late 2024, promising to be an insightful and captivating read for music history enthusiasts and fans alike.
With more than 50 years of experience, Little Feat still knows how to please their fans. Their distinctive blend of rock, blues, funk, and New Orleans soul remains as infectious as ever. This was a feel-good celebration of treasured songs and world-class musicianship.
FULL SHOW AUDIO by Alex Leary
Setlist provided by the band:
- Dixie Chicken
- Two Trains
- Roll Um Easy
- On Your Way Down
- Kiss It Off
- Fool Yourself
- Walkin’ All Night
- Fat Man in the Bathtub
- Lafayette Railroad
- Spanish Moon > Skin It Back
- Rocket in My Pocket
- Got My Mojo Working
- Six Feet of Snow
- Down on the Farm
- Feats Don’t Fail Me Now
- Let It Roll
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