Amidst the musical madness that was Jazz Fest last week, Neal Francis turned in his own high-profile performance at New Orleans’ Toulouse Theatre on Friday. The evening featured support from The Suffers and saw surprise sit-ins from David Shaw (The Revivalists) and Robert Walter (The Greyboy Allstars, Mike Gordon).
Following an opening set from Houston, TX’s The Suffers, the rising keyboardist took the stage at the former site of One Eyed Jacks. He delivered a healthy helping of his 2021 sophomore LP, In Plain Sight, including the opening “Alameda Apartments” and the “Problems” that followed.
Related: Worship My Organ Welcomes Neal Francis, Maurice Brown At One Eyed Jacks [Photos]
One of In Plain Sight‘s most celebrated tracks, “Can’t Stop The Rain”, summoned the Revivalists frontman who made himself right at home, sitting beside Francis on his piano bench. Of note, Shaw is credited as a co-writer on the track, which first came together during the last pre-pandemic Jazz Fest.
“It was Jazz Fest 2019 and I was in New Orleans for a couple of days,” Francis said in an interview with Live For Live Music. “It was, like, this weird thing where I kept trying to leave, and then I’d be out at a late-night show and then I’d wake up at one [o’clock]. So I couldn’t drive back to Chicago starting at 1:00 PM [laughs]. So I was just, like… staying day after day. And then eventually David invited me over to do a write. We wrote this song together. David had the hook sort of in his back pocket. He’s just got, you know, a whole notebook full of banging hooks! We were just messing around with it, the song came together. We basically just had a voice memo of us playing it, solo, acoustic, piano, and singing. I went back to Chicago, I recorded a demo of it, sort of more to my own flavor.”
Not long after Shaw’s departure from the stage, the main set closed with a pairing of Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon crescendo “Brain Damage” into “Eclipse”, which has increasingly become a staple of Neal’s incendiary live performances. Francis then returned to the stage to finish out the evening with John Lennon‘s “Cold Turkey”.
Neal Francis, David Shaw – “Can’t Stop The Rain” – 5/6/22
[Video: nwise 10]
Neal Francis – “Brain Damage” >” Eclipse” (Pink Floyd) – 5/6/22
[Video: nwise 10]
Check out photo galleries from Neal Francis and The Suffers at Toulouse Theatre in New Orleans on Friday courtesy of photographer Tiffany Anderson. Francis next travels to Joshua Tree Music Festival to perform on Saturday. Visit his website for tickets and a full list of tour dates.
Setlist: Neal Francis | Toulous Theatre | New Orleans, LA | 5/6/22
Set: Alameda Apartments, Problems, How Have I Lived, This Time, Changes, You Got To Change > Gimme Gimme, Prometheus, Can’t Stop The Rain , Last Train, Very Fine, BNLYV, She’s A Winner, Brain Damage (Pink Floyd) > Eclipse (Pink Floyd)
Encore: Cold Turkey (John Lennon)
with David Shaw