Ruby's Roadhouse: Tab Benoit and Beausoleil 5/22/10
Ruby's Roadhouse: Tab Benoit and Beausoleil
by Patty McGehee on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 10:34pm
Dan and I drove over to Mandeville Friday afternoon to pick up our tickets for the Sat show at Ruby's. WE hung out on the porch in front talking to owner Fred Holland about music. Fred said that Tab really wanted to play with Beausoleil a lot, so he booked this show so that it could happen. They were also scheduled to play at Bayou Boogaloo in NOLA on Sunday.
WE got to Ruby's Sat night at 9:35. I set myself up front and center as always and was hanging out with the other Tab fans I have met over the years of following Tab. WE are always in front and help each other stay in front when one has to retreat to the rest room. Beausoleil started the set with the twin fiddles of Michael Doucet and Mitchell Reed. They played alone for a few songs with the accompaniment of the Triangle. The crowd was wound up yelling and they played for an hour or more singing in French.
I went out to the patio for drinks and saw Tab alone in a corner looking as if he was exhausted and not feeling well. He had his eyes closed and his hands crossed over his chest. He was leaning back, almost seemed to be trying to sleep while waiting.
I went back in a wiggled back in place, Jimmy Breaux had three accordions with him and David Doucet played beautiful guitar. They played a protest song about the Oil Spill that hit home.
At he end of their set, Tab Benoit came in and sat on a high stool with Michael Doucet on fiddle and Tommy Alessi on triangle. Tab played several of his Louisiana themed songs with Michael playing fiddle. This was a wonderful change to Tab's style. They Played "Sac-au-lait fishing," "Boat Launch Baby," and David Egan's song, "One foot in the Bayou," ending up with "Louisiana Sunshine." The fiddle was powerful and it served to fill in what was missing from the trio sound.
Tab said good night to Michael and he started the high powered part of his show. He purposely chose all songs with a Louisiana theme highlighting the BP oil spill crisis.
After the Landry Party left (a group of people in a bus celebrating a Mr. Landry's birthday,) Tab made a statement: "Now that the Landry's are gone, I can say what I want without offending anyone." I took this as a statement that the Landry's that had been there were related to Mary Landry who is with the Coast Guard. Mary Landry's name has been in the news daily concerning the BP oil spill.
He stopped to tell everyone to go out and contact the powers that be to force change. He almost sounded defeated to me. He was not overly angry, nor did he rail on and on about the spill. He did mention the injustice of Louisiana not getting the royalty's we deserve and asked us to contact our politicians. I don't think he had it in him at that point to preach to a drunk crowd what he felt was important. He continued the set to play powerful music. He only played two songs that were not Louisiana related. They were "Pack it up," and "Night Train."
"Night Train" was high powered and exciting. I was interested in the new amps he has-custom made Category Fives with a hurricane emblem etched into the stainless steel boards. These are Custom Tab Benoit Category Five amps. Impressive. Back on top was Tab's alligator head that was missing from the gig at Rock N Bowl two weeks ago.
Dan had flaked out on me and had retreated to sit. Towards the very end I went and found him and sat with him. We had a spot where we could see very well.
This show was awe inspiring. Tab played as good as ever, but I think he was tired and needs a rest. He did not have it in him to cut up and talk to the crowd that night.
We left marveling that the show was really good. I felt concern about Tab, wondering if he was ill or sad. Either way, he put on a killer, professional show.