On Friday, January 31st, Live For Live Music and AEG will come together to curate a star-studded lineup for the inaugural Denver Comes Alive event at Mission Ballroom. Much like its East Coast predecessor, Brooklyn Comes Alive, Denver Comes Alive curates one-time-only band lineups to honor the work of legendary artists.
While the spirit of Brooklyn Comes Alive—and now Denver Comes Alive—has always been an homage to New Orleans Jazz Fest after dark, the inaugural Denver Comes Alive will feature a more direct tribute to a pair of New Orleans music icons we lost last year: Art Neville and Dr. John.
Neville, a three-time GRAMMY award winner, was the founding member of the quintessential New Orleans funk band, The Meters, and was a co-founder of The Neville Brothers and the later-career Meters spin-off, The funky Meters. He was a foundational player in New Orleans who went on to record with many of the top rock, pop, and soul artists of his era.
Six-time GRAMMY winner Malcolm “Mac” John Rebennack Jr., aka Dr. John, is one of the most recognizable characters to ever emerge from the New Orleans music scene. Heavily influenced by the theatrics and attire of early mentor Professor Longhair, Rebennack adopted a flamboyant style on stage that stuck with him for the entirety of his career. Following a stint in Los Angeles as a member of the famed studio band known as the “Wrecking Crew,” Rebennack returned to New Orleans where he took on the “Dr. John The Night Tripper” persona and launched a legendary solo career centered around the combination of New Orleans funk, psychedelic rock, and jazz.
Billed as Poppa Funk & The Night Tripper: A Tribute To Art Neville & Dr. John, the lineup for the Denver Comes Alive tribute set is stacked with some of the most revered players in New Orleans and beyond including Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), Jon Cleary, George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Ian Neville (Dumpstaphunk), Tony Hall (Dumpstaphunk), Skerik (Les Claypool), Big Sam (Big Sam’s Funky Nation), and Nikki Glaspie (Beyonce, The Nth Power).
In addition to being highly in-demand players in their own right, many members of the Denver Comes Alive Poppa Funk & The Night Tripper lineup have direct ties to Dr. John and Art Neville. Jon Cleary, a New Orleans music legend himself, toured extensively with Dr. John and maintained a close relationship with him through his death. Below, you can watch a performance by Dr. John & The Lower 911 featuring Cleary on guitar and keys:
Dr. John & The Lower 911 ft. Jon Cleary – 7/6/12
Art “Poppa Funk” Neville’s lineage and musical colleagues are also well-represented on the lineup. George Porter Jr., Neville’s longtime friend and collaborator in The Meters, as well as Art’s son, guitarist Ian Neville (Dumpstaphunk), and his nephew, Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), will all be on hand to honor the late Meters vocalist/keyboardist. Below, you can watch videos of a 2005 Letterman performance by both The Meters and the Neville Brothers and an old funky Meters Jazz Fest set featuring Ivan Neville and Ian Neville playing along with George Porter Jr., Art Neville, and the rest of the band:
The Neville Brothers & The Meters – “Fire On The Bayou” – 2005 Letterman Appearance
The funky Meters w/ Ivan Neville, Ian Neville at New Orleans Jazz Fest
With Dr. John and Art Neville now off playing that great gig in the sky, many of the players on this lineup now serve as the modern-day elder statesmen of the Crescent City music world. Prepare yourself for Denver Comes Alive with a playlist of videos from the George Porter Jr.-led Dr. John tribute show featuring Ivan Neville and Jon Cleary at Tiptina’s in New Orleans on November 27th of last year.
Dr. John Tribute ft. George Porter Jr., Ivan Neville, Jon Cleary, & More – 11/27/19
Denver Comes Alive as a whole is a love letter to the music of the Big Easy. With this set, that spiritual connection will be fortified by the music and musicians who continue to carry the mantles of Poppa Funk and The Night Tripper.
Don’t miss Denver Comes Alive on January 31st at Denver’s Mission Ballroom featuring Poppa Funk & The Night Tripper: A Tribute To Art Neville & Dr. John and more exciting collaborations like Oteil & Friends, Ghost-Live, Star Kitchen & Friends, and more. Tickets are available here. For more information and ticketing details for Denver Comes Alive, head here.