After kicking off on Friday for its first edition since 2019, the famed New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival continued on Saturday and Sunday with performances by The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Avett Brothers, and more.
In addition to The Who and Isbell, Saturday’s festivities at Fair Grounds Race Course included sets by Galactic featuring Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, Nelly, José Feliciano, Tab Benoit, Tank and the Bangas, George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners, David Shaw, Mem Shannon & the Membership, Bonerama, and more.
On Sunday, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Avett Brothers performed following Randy Newman, Anders Osborne, Terence Blanchard, CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Zachary Richard, Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Charlie Wilson, and more.
Of note, the headlining Red Hot Chili Peppers performance on Sunday evening carried particular emotional weight as the band filled in for a slot initially booked by their alt-rock contemporaries, Foo Fighters. The Chili Peppers were added to the lineup as a replacement for Foo Fighters when the band canceled all of its upcoming shows following the sudden passing of drummer Taylor Hawkins on March 25th.
In the days leading up to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ New Orleans Jazz Fest performance, drummer Chad Smith, a longtime friend of Hawkins, told Billboard that he would be bringing Taylor’s widow, Alison Hawkins, to Jazz Fest as his guest.
“That’s what she wants,” Smith explained last week. “She doesn’t want it to be anything other than, ‘Let’s celebrate music, let’s celebrate our friends, let’s celebrate Taylor. This is what he would want and he would be very happy that you guys are playing and he would want it be nothing but a positive experience.’ So we’re going to do all that and she’s going to be part of that and I’m very honored that we can do that with her. … We’re going to play our hearts out.”
When RHCP took the main Festival Stage on Sunday, the resonant head of Chad Smith’s bass drum was emblazoned with the name “Taylor” and an outline of a hawk, making sure that his fallen friend was present in spirit in New Orleans.
At the end of the set, Smith took a moment to address the crowd. “Foo Fighters were supposed to play here tonight,” he explained. “We love the Foo Fighters and we love our brother Taylor Hawkins, so this means a lot to us to play for them, the guys in the band are here. They’re supporting. Taylor’s wife, Alison, is here, their family. It’s a beautiful thing… We love them. We love Taylor. So, on three I wanna hear everybody, ‘We love Taylor!’” The audience repeated the incantation with genuine emotion.
Watch a clip of the moment below and scroll down to check out full photo galleries from the second and third days of Jazz Fest 2022 (Saturday, 4/30 and Sunday, 5/1) courtesy of Ron Valle.
Red Hot Chili Peppers Honor Taylor Hawkins – New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – 5/1/22
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Following a few days off, New Orleans Jazz Fest will return to the Fair Grounds beginning on Thursday for weekend two of the 2022 event. For more information on weekend two of New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2022, head here.
Live For Live Music‘s Fest by Nite series, however, is just picking up with a slew of star-studded late-night shows and events during the “daze between” Jazz Fest weekends, including the Daze Between New Orleans festival on Tuesday, 5/3 and Wednesday, 5/4. Check out the full Fest by Nite schedule below, and click here to purchase tickets.