Bringing the sounds of New Orleans to the Picotte Recital Hall in The Massry Center at The College of Saint Rose, the legendary Funky Meters closed out the season with extended solos and catalog staples. The audience was surprisingly seated for all but the encore of this performance, relegated to foot tapping and rocking back and forth rather than getting up and moving, with only a few souls dancing near the periphery of the stage.
After a warm up opener of “Funky Miracle” followed by “The World is a Little Bit Under the Weather” Art “Poppa Funk” Neville was left for a solo but missed his cue, picking it up moments later saying, “I feel like Ray Charles, I can’t see nothin’ anyway.” Yet his fingers could still find the right keys throughout the night.
“Honey Child” had a fair amount of banter between Neville and George Porter, Jr. as well as a solid drum solo from Terrence Houston, a great substitute for Russell Baptiste. The rest of the night featured extended jamming inside classics including “People Say,” “Cissy Strut,” where Art and George sat together as Terrence took his shirt off, draped it over his head and drummed blind as he tore it up for five additional minutes, and “Just Kissed my Baby” with George putting forth such energy and genuine excitement that you’d think he’d snuck off stage for a split second to find proper inspiration.
The transition into “Ain’t No Use” was ultra smooth courtesy of George and guitarist Brian Stoltz. I happened to have seen Widespread Panic play this song as an opener two nights earlier in Columbia, SC, and with the jamming that resulted there it’s hard to say which version was better, reflecting on the potential for this song in any setting. This “Ain’t No Use” took a few turns as it stretched out and had hardly a hiccup throughout. The set ended on a high note just as the show I caught on Tuesday started, a testament to the music of The Meters
An on stage encore had a short “Let it Roll” that worked into “Fire on the Bayou” with a jam into “White Room” at the end, to which George commented “I had to get my psychedelic on.” After the show while fans greeted the band, a fan commented “George Porter Jr. looks like the happiest person on earth,” a spot on assessment given that George and Art have played together for 48 years. You’d be happy too.