by Eric Sandy
The evening's first set covered a wide swath of new material and old classics from the band's career. The mood at Evans Amphitheatre was pleasant and laid-back, with most families hanging out on the lawn. In a stony pavilion toward the back of the venue, an informal swing dance party raged on as the sun dipped behind the surrounding trees.
Each member of the band was on point throughout the show. As always, their practiced, impeccable showmanship shone brightly onstage. With each new song came the reminder that swing music isn't as nostalgic as it might seem on first blush. There's an evergreen and very American vibe to the genre. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is among the country's top acts still reveling in the music, and there's certainly a societal need for their sort of positive, danceable music these days (now more than ever, perhaps).
Late in the night, band leader Scotty Morris relayed a story about Randy Newman writing a song for Frank Sinatra around 1979. Being the ultimate troll, Newman really gave it to the singer, crafting a tune that was over-the-top full of itself. Sinatra, much to the surprise of really anyone who knew him, said the song was too egotistical for him. Morris noted: "It's not too egotistical for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy," and the band launched into Newman's "Lonely At The Top."
Other big hits throughout the night included "You and Me and a Bottle Makes Three Tonight (Baby)," "Go Daddy-O," and "I Wanna Be Like You."
A brief "Sweet Home Alabama" tease led the band into "So Long-Farewell-Goodbye," capping the night quite well.