Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is known for his relentless work ethic. He’s never taken a real vacation. In a recent interview with nola.com, he expressed his unfamiliarity with the concept of vacation, saying, “I don’t know what that feels like. If I’m playing in Miami, I may stay an extra day. Whenever we play at a place for two days, that’s considered a vacation. But other than that, I have never been on a vacation.”
By that standard, the recent two-night weekend stand at Wolf Trap, where Trombone Shorty co-headlined with Ziggy Marley and had opening support from the legendary Mavis Staples, must have felt like one hell of a vacation.
A workhorse on the road — Troy plays anywhere from 150 to 200 shows a year — he hits the stage at full intensity with trumpet and trombone held high in the air like a musical gladiator and doesn’t slow down until the end of the show. The Filene Center at Wolf Trap is a big stage by any measure; it’s built to fit a symphony orchestra after all. When setting up for Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue’s show on June 17, the riser holding the keyboards and tandem drum kits was pushed all the way to the back of the stage, leaving maximal space for Troy and the rest of the band to dance with the intensity of a Mardi Gras crew. And even that was not enough room to contain the band.
During “Lifted,” the title track to his latest album release, Troy and his two horn players, BK Jackson and Dan Oestreicher, did just that as they left the stage to march through the audience all the way to the very top of the lawn section and back. Excited audience members went wild, offering high fives and pats on the shoulder as the trio marched past.
Stream Lifted by Trombone Shorty via Spotify:
When Trombone Shorty performs, you can expect a mix of original songs and covers of standards from the NOLA funk scene. For this show, they gave a shout-out to the DC go-go scene with a cover of Chuck Brown’s “Wind Me Up Chuck.” They also rocked Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and Allen Toussaint’s “On the Way Down.”
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue is led by Troy Anderson on trombone, trumpet, and lead vocals, accompanied by Pete Murano and Joshua Connelly on guitars, BK Jackson on tenor saxophone, Dan Oestreicher on baritone saxophone, Joey Peebles and Alvin Ford on drums, Mike “Bass” Bailey on bass, and Chrishira Perrier and Tracci Lee on vocals.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue Setlist:
- Do to Me
- Let’s Go Crazy (Prince cover)
- Wind Me Up Chuck (Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers cover)
- On the Way Down (Allen Toussaint cover)
- Here Come the Girls (Ernir K-Doe cover)
- Fire and Brimstone
As co-headliners, Trombone Shorty and Ziggy Marley each played 75-minute sets. They alternate who goes first and who goes last for each show. On this particular evening, Ziggy took the middle set after Mavis Staples, while Trombone Shorty had the marquee set.
As the eldest child of Bob Marley, Ziggy continues to carry on his father’s message of equal rights, freedom, and love. Even after 42 years since Bob Marley’s passing, these issues remain relevant. While Ziggy didn’t provide any direct political commentary, his point was conveyed through songs like “A Fire Burns for Freedom” and “Justice,” which seamlessly transitioned into two Bob Marley classics, “War” and “Get Up, Stand Up.”
Ziggy’s background vocalists added flair to the show with their synchronized soul-singers’ dance moves. When not playing an acoustic guitar, Ziggy showcased a custom “rastafied” Fender Telecaster with a paint scheme in green, yellow, and red for many of the songs.
For his last song of the set, “Look Who’s Dancing,” Ziggy brought out four of his kids to join him on stage. They had a family dance party right behind their dad as he sang. It was likely a nod to Ziggy’s latest album, More Family Time, which came out in 2020 and got a deluxe edition last year.
Stream More Family Time (Deluxe eddition with added live concert tracks) by Ziggy Marley via Spotify:
Ziggy Marley Setlist:
- Rebellion Rises
- Beach in Hawaii
- The Lucky One
- Be Free
- Personal Revolution
- A Fire Burns for Freedom
- Circle of Peace
- See Dem Fake Leaders
- Get Up, Stand Up (The Wailers cover)
- We Are the People
- Love Is My Religion
- Jamming (Bob Marley & The Wailers cover)
- Look Who’s Dancing
Mavis Staples, less than a month away from her 84th birthday, commanded the stage with her enduring stage presence. Her powerful gospel voice is a national treasure. Mavis began her singing career as a teenager with her family’s gospel group, The Staple Singers, led by her father, Roebuck “Pops” Staples. As the sole surviving member of the group, Mavis Staples holds a deep connection to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
Mavis and her band promptly took the stage at 7pm to kick off the evening with a 35-minute set comprising a mix of songs from The Staple Singers and her solo catalog.
Mavis’ most recent recording project is Carry Me Home, a collaborative album with American roots rock drummer Levon Helm (The Band), released in 2022. The album was made from sessions recorded at Levon’s Woodstock studio in 2011, shortly before his death. It has received universal praise from critics.
Stream Carry Me Home by Mavis Staples and Levon Helm via Spotify:
Mavis Staples Setlist:
- If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me) *
- Take Us Back
- Handwriting on the Wall *
- City in the Sky *
- Heavy Makes You Happy *
(* Songs by The Staples Singers)
Here are some photos of Mavis Staples performing at Wolf Trap on June 17, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Ari Strauss.
Here are some photos of Ziggy Marley performing at Wolf Trap on June 17, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Ari Strauss.
And here are some photos of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue performing at Wolf Trap on June 17, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Ari Strauss.