On a typically cold January day in Niagara Falls, the Seneca Niagara Casino warmly opened it’s doors at the Bear’s Den Showplace Theater for the first performance of the year. Little Feat rolled into town and was ready to deliver their funky brand of music. Little Feat has a very strong following in this region. It’s been over a year since their last visit to the Bear’s Den Showplace Theater but they made up for absence and gave their fans a little more. Little Feat has played at the Bear’s Den Showplace two times prior to this event, the first was on January 1, 2010 and the last visit to this fabulous venue was on January 1, 2011. The intimate venue which holds only 440 people was a Sold-Out event. The venue’s wonderful design provides a first rate concert experience to the audience members. With no seat more than 40 feet from the stage, this is venue seems specifically designed with the fans in mind. The sight lines throughout the place are spectacular with no visual obstructions. As far as the acoustic sound quality, impecable to say the least, delievering a tremendous listening experience . Ultimately, every seat is the best seat in the house. With a very relaxed atmosphere that was promoted by the casino, the crowd mostly composed of men and women were in their 40’s-60’s eagerly filled the Bear’s Den. As I walked into the venue, I overheard many people discussing vividly their first time they heard Little Feat play, recanting the details of where they were, date and venue.
The band came out ready to rock and deliverd up “Down on the Farm”> “Candy Man Blues”. The crowd loving every minute of what was being play sucked in in like a one arm bandit in the gobbling up coins. They followed the 1st two songs with “Red Streamliner” and into the classic “Spanish Moon” where the congas and drums seem to take your mind to different places. This rhythemic beat slowly erodes at you, making you want more. Dispite some lingering questions about his recent helath issues related to Hepatitis “C”, Paul Barrere, 64, the lead guitarist and Little Feat founding father showed no signs he was not on his game. Fred Tackett, musican extrodenaire abilities were showcased as he played the guitar, mandolin and even the trumpet. Bill Payne did a wonderful job on the keyboards creating a sound that left you hanging on every note he played. With each stroke of the keys, Payne’s playing seem to bring out the beauty in each song. Kenny Gradney known as the backbone of the Little Feat sound, lit up the stage with his driving bass work. Sam Clayton and Gabe Ford were the intrickle part of this driving sound, contributin with their percussion work. Clayton played the congas/tumba while Ford handled the drum kit.
Ripping through classics such as “Fat Man in the Bathtub“, “Willin’>Don’t Bogart That Joint“ and “Dixie Chicken” the band delivered what their loyal fans wanted. The band’s sound was perfect, spot on classic Little Feat. Simple music that reaches the soul, sudective, funky with a beat that doesn’t let anyone escape it’s grasp. Each and every song was sheer delight. This sound seems to calls you to your feet, making you compelled to move about and dance. For more than 40 years Little Feat has deleievered one fantastic show after another to it’s fans. In the end, this is just another fine example of why Little Feat has such a strong folowng in this area. Best Wishes and a speedy recovery to Paul Barrere who is taking time off from the band after the Jamacia shows in March to focus on treatment for his illness.. We look forward to seeing you on the road!
And on a side note……
A friend came up to me after the show and was excited to have scored a set list from the stage. Just as he was telling me what a great time he had and gentle exiting commented that the first time he heard Little Feat was in the summer of ’76 but he had never seen them live until tonight. You could see that this gentlemen was happy, pure joy was all over his face. He went on furthur to say tha this daughter had given him the tickets as a Christmas present. So, finally after 37 years he finally got to see them. Both my friend and I commented how wonderful it was that his daughter purchased the tickets for him. And in that moment, without hesitation, my friend Paul handed this guy the setlist from the stage and said “Here’s another gift for you”. The smile alone was priceless. That gentlemen will forever remember this show for quite sometime
Down on the Farm>
Candy Man Blues
Jamacica Will Break Your Heart
Rag Top Down
Fat Man in the Bathtub>
Fat Man in the Bathtub
Don’t Bogart that Joint>