"This is the 736th time he's sat in with us," Blues Traveler's John Popper joked as guitarist Warren Haynes joined the group for its song "Pattern" at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Thursday evening. "That's actually the most sit-ins of any band on the East Coast since 1962," Popper added.
If Warren Haynes, currently a full-time member of the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh and Friends and his own band, Gov't Mule, does in fact hold the Guinness-worthy record for popping up everywhere, it'd hardly be surprising. Haynes is known for playing around, and Jazz Fest — both the official daytime extravaganza and the extensive array of unrelated evening performances — provides him with ample opportunities to indulge his tendencies to jam with friends for a tune or two.
Subtly stalking the hardest working man in the jam band scene, we first caught Haynes late in the afternoon, where Mule played their own 105-minute set, augmented by a quick romp with Popper on "ScoMule."
Later, just before midnight at a Superfly Series evening moe. show at the Orpheum Theater, the rumor that Haynes would come out during the second set didn't begin to ruin the surprise in store for unsuspecting fans. The second song in, "Opium," Haynes strapped on and plugged in.
At set's end, Haynes' urge to play was hardly satiated and he was soon on his way to the House of Blues, where Karl Denson's Tiny Universe was already laying down the funk for a sold-out high-energy crowd.
As the clock struck 4:50 a.m., former Greyboy Allstar Karl Denson led his crew out for a second set with fellow sax man Topaz and Haynes automatically in the mix from the get-go. Forty minutes and three long mostly instrumental songs later, Haynes was finally ready to get some rest.
Mule's own Superfly show takes place Friday night (May 3) at the State Palace Theater with Les Claypool's Frog Brigade opening. Mule also opens for Phil Lesh and Friends at a Jazz and Heritage Festival evening show at Municipal Auditorium Sunday night.
The festival runs through Sunday with Karl Denson and Bonnie Raitt headlining Friday night, Better Than Ezra closing the show Saturday, and appearances by the Baha Men, Teena Marie, Ratdog, Phil Lesh and Friends, and the Neville Brothers Sunday.
Anticipated events include Karl Denson with opening act Robert Randolph's Family Band competing Friday night with hometown funkers Galactic with the Blind Boys of Alabama, the North Mississippi Allstars Saturday and the Funky Meters on Sunday. The techno-laced Disco Biscuits are on for a 2 a.m. show at Tipitina's Friday.