Little Feat on the Pier

Skyline Stage - Chicago

May 28, 1995

First Appeared in The Music Box, May/June 1995, Volume 2, #5

Written by John Metzger


Over Memorial Day weekend, Little Feat played a pair of shows at the new Skyline Stage on Chicago's redecorated Navy Pier. With only 1,500 seats situated right by the lake, it is quite a place to see a show. The acoustics were excellent, and the setting was perfect. Navy Pier will fully open later this summer, complete with restaurants, bars, plenty of family fun (including the Children's Museum and a huge Ferris Wheel), and a great view of the lake. Chicago has needed a place like this for some time.

Little Feat opened the early show by plowing right into Hate to Lose Your Lovin' before settling into a mediocre auto-pilot groove for most of the short, 90-minute set. In fact, until the end of the show, the only other highlight was a groovin' Skin It Back which snaked through a Shakedown Street-like rhythm, which is no surprise since the late Lowell George produced that album for the Grateful Dead. The remainder of the set felt highly uninspired, and it put way too much emphasis on the band's new female lead singer Shawn Murphy. She adds a lot to the background, which she's done on a few of Little Feat's recent albums, but something just isn't right when she takes the lead.

Little Feat finally woke from its slumber towards the end of the show with one hell of a version of Dixie Chicken. This version went on, seemingly forever, as each member took a turn in the spotlight. Fred Tackett even picked up his trumpet to lead a dixieland jam, proving that Little Feat still had a lot to offer. Let It Roll followed and closed the set, and it too was extremely inspired. Perhaps the band was using the early show as a warm up? Whatever it was, these final two songs were HOT! The encore was a nice version of Willin' which featured some nice mandolin playing from Tackett.

Leon Redbone opened with his style of dixieland music. He actually wasn't terrible, though it would be a miracle if he made it through the late show. He was pretty trashed when he finally left the stage.

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Copyright 1995 The Music Box