Updated: New info, and JTR mp3 and video downloads.
As it began to rain this evening. Dave Matthews band performed JTR at the New Orleans Jazz Fest for the first time in five years.
The performance of the song was particularly surprising because the tune has been out of live rotation for so long, and band hints that the song would not come back. JTR's return is perhaps only rivaled by #34's comeback this past summer. The song took the E1 (first song of the encore) position with Rawshawn Ross guesting.
All images © Earnest Svenson 2006
In 2004 Stefan commented to WBCN's Cali, saying: "JTR, we all agreed we weren't enjoying playing it. For one reason or another, it wasn't feeling right with us. So there was no reason to keep playing it--it has to feel right for us. So that one particular song, i mean--I'd be surprised if we bring that song out again."
Update: Stefan posted a bulletin on MySpace today saying: "A lot of people have been coming to me saying 'I thought that you hated JTR'. I'm not really sure where this comes from but I don't hate any of our songs. I don't remember telling Cali that we would never bring JTR back but if I did say that exactly then I apologize, I must have been being sarcastic and it was probably taken out of context like so many things that are said from the band members." Listen to Stefan's 2004 comments.
Fast forward to two weeks ago, Stefan Lessard answered a number of questions posed by fans on Myspace including one asking about the return of JTR. Stefan made it clear that no songs were in the "Never Play Again box" and said that it actually comes down to preparing the songs for the stage.
Watching the video from the webcast of Jazzfest, a number of interesting things catch your attention. First, the audio from the webcast is a mix of an IEM track and what sounds like a pull from the soundboard. IEM stands for In-Ear Monitor (aka IFB), which is the FM system the band uses to communicate with each other on stage. In the past, rogue tapers have tuned into the IEM system and captured the band's private on-stage conversations. (Listen closely during the Jazzfest encore break) This has been forbidden by DMB's taping policy since it became a problem in 2000.
The IEM is mixed heavily with Dave's guitar and voice, Stefan, and Carter, then a lesser mix of Boyd, LeRoi and Rashawn and Butch. Strangely, the audio switches back and forth to a higher quality (perhaps soundboard) mix, which has a fuller sound. The difference is slight, but noticeable if you're paying attention. Two other cool things about this public IEM are hearing Dave give out the solo order for Recently and give out the decision that Grey Street would be cut from the set because of time and the weather. (He says a brief prayer to the lord)
Getting back to JTR, LeRoi brought out the pennywhistle (tin whistle), which hasn't been done on that tune before. Boyd also drops a solo in prior to the final jam. Watching Rashawn Ross, you can he misses a few cues but overall carries his guest role pretty well. The whole band seems well practiced on the song, and the addition of the pennywhistle has some questioning whether they worked to get this song in the studio to the level necessary for an album release.
One Sweet World, Old Dirt Hill, American Baby Intro, Tripping Billies and Smooth rider were cut from the Webcast, which is being torrented. MSN is still streaming Louisiana Bayou on demand.
Finally, JTR was recorded once in the studio during the Lillywhite sessions. The LWS were recently mastered by "Karmageddon" creating the most pristine copy we have of the song. Check out our recent article and follow-up on Karmageddon's release.
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Download JTR Jazzfest 2006 MP3
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Setlist: Saturday Apr 29 2006
New Orleans Jazz Fest
One Sweet World *
Hunger For The Great Light *
Old Dirt Hill *
American Baby Intro *
Tripping Billies *
Smooth Rider *+
Jimi Thing *
Louisiana Bayou *
* Rashawn Ross
+ The Edge
(All songs include Butch Taylor)