I had planned on writing about Cambodia's Killing Fields, since I never did do a post about that part of my stay there, but I'm going to save that for a rainy day. Instead, let's talk about New Orleans.
This city is, without a doubt, one of the most unique places in America. I haven't been anywhere in this country that mixes history, culture, quirkiness, and dysfunctionality so well. I'm glad I grew up here (although Katrina really sucked), and was able to experience all of the food, music, and festivals that this great city has to offer.
Below is a perfect illustration of this uniqueness.This past Sunday Albinas Prizgintas, a renowned organist, presented a "Concert of Classic Rock Music," played on a "5000 pipe tracker action pipe organ" at Trinity Episcopal Church in the Garden District. The performance was just as impressive as that sounds.
The set list was crafted as a memorial to Katrina, and the track titles certainly were appropriate: 'When the Levee Breaks' by Led Zeppelin, 'Rehab' by Amy Winehouse, 'Manic Depression' and 'Purple Haze' by Jimi Hendrix, 'Smoke on the Water' by Deep Purple, 'Sympathy for the Devil' and 'Jumpin Jack Flash' by the Rolling Stones, 'Aqualung' by Jethro Tull, 'Whiter Shade of Pale' by Procol Harum, 'Whipping Post' by the Allman Brothers, ' In a gadda da vida' by Iron Butterfly, and 'I Can See for Miles' by The Who.
Prizgintas' versions of these songs were outstanding - the pipes perfectly mimicked guitar solos and riffs. 'In a gadda da vidda' was, in my opinion, the best-suited for a organ. It was stunning, and a guest drummer provided an incredible extended solo. (With his drum kit sitting on the altar, no less.) I doubt I'll ever see another drum solo performed in a church. I was also surprised by the fact that a place of worship allowed songs by famous hedonists, such as the members of Led Zeppelin and The Who, to be played within its doors. Only in New Orleans...
The 'In a gadda da vida' solo:
Finally, part of 'I Can See for Miles':