For its 15th American Music Masters series, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Case Western Reserve University paid tribute to New Orleans legends Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. A week of events honoring the two’s careers culminated in a three-hour tribute concert at the Palace Theatre Saturday night.
The show imported many of the Crescent City’s finest musicians, including Dr. John and the Rebirth Brass Band to honor Domino and Bartholomew. Wendell Pierce, star of The Wire and Treme, hosted.
Throughout the evening, the importance of Domino and Bartholomew’s music on early rock & roll was explored through photos, stories, and music. Pierce and the Rock Hall’s Terry Stewart did a tremendous job explaining the impact of these two musicians.
So did the Dixie Cups, Irma Thomas, and Lloyd Price — each of whom played short sets that included classics like “Blueberry Hill,” “Iko Iko,” and “Ain’t That a Shame.”
But it was Bartholomew, at age 90, who stole the show. With his trumpet in hand, Bartholomew is still a strong performer, jamming on his horn while Dr. John and the Lower 911 served as his backing band.
Unfortunately, Domino didn't make it, but a short video showed the two together for the first time in years (and Domino proved himself to still be a great singer and pianist).
The show ended in classic NOLA style, with the entire bill onstage jamming to “When the Saints Go Marching In,” after which the Rebirth Brass Band led a march into the Palace lobby to jam just a little bit longer. —Aaron Mendelsohn