The Who rocked the Jazz Festival as rapper Mac Phipps celebrated his freedom with a surprise set | Louisiana Festivals

As The Who braced for “Never Be Fooled Again” Saturday at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, guitarist Pete Townshend bolstered singer Roger Daltrey’s confidence.

Townsend noted, “The last time we played, Roger pretty much forgot all the words.”

They weren’t forgotten on Saturday as The Who, supported by an orchestra, played to a large crowd on the festival’s main stage. Nor did he forget the initial shriek that came right after passing the extended keyboard of the song. 78-year-old Daltrey’s roar got a different kind of roar from the crowd. From that point on, The Who could do nothing wrong.

There were many moments to enjoy under the blazing sun on Saturday at the Fair Grounds, from the tight R&B/funk at Water Seed and the choreography of the Congo Square stage to the standing ovations that 90-year-old jazz singer Jermaine Basel received at the Full jazz tent.

But The Who was the main attraction.

The band first rocked Jazz Fest in 2015 and was due to make a comeback in 2020, but COVID had other ideas.

On Friday night, Daltrey and several members of the band caught jazz bassist Jeremy Davenport performing at the Davenport Ballroom inside the Ritz-Carlton. Townsend endorsed New Orleans jazz from the stage on Saturday.

He said his father was a saxophonist from the big band and loved New Orleans-born jazz musician Sidney Bechet. Townshend’s first band was a jazz band that played much of Louis Armstrong.

“I would really like to play When the Saints Go on a March,” he said to great cheer. “But we don’t have time.”

They had time to put out 15 songs, most of which are all classical and all supported by an orchestra.

Townshend was in good spirits, grinning, windmill and attacking solos on his guitar as if he had something to prove. His efforts on “See Me, Feel Me” in particular, went further, with his brother Simon Townshend providing rhythmic backing.

Drummer Zach Starkey shifted the tempo while the cello and violin were in the “Behind the Blue Eyes” frame. The full orchestra added the finishing touch to “Pinball Wizard” and drama to “Eminence Front.”

Townsend said the band did not have an audio check prior to their jazz festival performance, so there was some trepidation with their sound. “From where I stand,” he said, “it looks great.”

From the opening of “Who are you?” To another violinist by Papa O’Reilly.

Mia X is giving up the Macintosh stage

The Mia X had a busy Saturday. In addition to her performance of the Jazz Festival at the Congo Square Theatre, she was scheduled to perform at the No Limit Reunion Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center.

Perhaps to conserve her energy for later, she handed out most of her collection on Saturday to special guests, including veterans Katie Reed and Mrs. Reed.

But most of her show ended up being an upcoming party for McKinley “Mac” Phipps Jr. Twenty-one years ago, Phipps’ rising career—he, too, was signed to No Limit—was cut short when St. Tammany’s abbreviation was cut short by a parish jury finding him guilty of premeditated murder. He was convicted of shooting a 19-year-old during an altercation at a nightclub show in Slidell.

Phipps and his family have always maintained his innocence. After serving two decades as a model prisoner, Governor John Bel Edwards granted him a pardon in April 2021. Phipps was paroled and released from prison in June.

His unannounced guest role with Mia X on Jazz Fest was his first official performance in New Orleans since its release. His history has not been hidden.

“Don’t judge me,” he said before introducing the song “Murda, Murda, Kill Kill”. He explained that the song referred to competitive rap, “where you try to kill the MC on the other side.”

Unfortunately, he continued, the prosecutor who convicted him did not take this into account, or that Phipps’ rap moniker, Camouflage Assassin, indicated his singing skills. Instead, his words and his nickname were used against him in court.

Even after all that, when it comes to this mic, Phipps said, “I’m still camouflaging killers.”

He was also a multidisciplinary genius squad leader. He alternated with electric bass and piano where he was supported by a drummer, saxophonist and vocalist.

He went to prison months before his son was born. “To prove they didn’t kill my soul,” Phipps brought his 21-year-old son Bandana Kane onstage. For the first time ever for the younger Phipps at Jazz Fest, he sang along to pop music “You My Brother,” a song with R&B beats.

Due to the family’s environment, Phipps changed the lyrics to “I Can Tell,” the “sinister” song he wrote for Mercedes. In the sterilized version, the incoming phrase was, “From the look in your eyes, I can tell you I want to be touched.” “Be sure to say ‘touch’!” Phipps instructed the crowd.

He wanted to move the grand piano, but realized that it was too heavy: “I spent all that time in prison and forgot to lift weights.”

He finished his in-group ensemble with “If Forever Comes aka the Proverbs”, a song about “Appearance”.

“I feel in control of my destiny,” he said.

Now that he’s free, he is.

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