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Concert Review : Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with special guests Big Boi & Danielle Ponder @ Wolf Trap

On June 15th, the iconic music venue Wolf Trap, nestled in the heart of Virginia's lush countryside, offered a truly unique experience to mark Black Music Month. The performance, a beautiful blend of jazz, R&B, and hip-hop, was a one-of-a-kind event. The amphitheater's open-air design and natural acoustics provided the perfect backdrop for this star-studded affair, headlined by Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. Special guests, including the legendary Big Boi from OutKast and the talented singer-songwriter Danielle Ponder, added to the exclusivity of the event.

Danielle Ponder set the stage on fire with her commanding vocals, capturing the essence of musical greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Whitney Houston. Her performance included mesmerizing renditions of 'Walk On By,' a soulful classic she made her own, and 'Someone Like You,' a powerful ballad showcasing her vocal range. She also delivered a breathtaking cover of Radiohead's timeless hit, 'Creep,' giving it a soulful twist that was uniquely her own.

Big Boi was up next, and it was clear that the majority of the crowd was more than ready to turn up with ATLiens. Big Boi was energetic as he performed songs from his thirty-year catalog, accompanied by his DJ and long-time affiliate Sleepy Brown. His set was a mix of old favorites and new hits, and the crowd was on their feet for the entire performance. 'ATLiens' set the mood for a hit-filled set that included OutKast's famous songs like 'Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,' 'Rosa Parks,' 'Ms. Jackson,' 'So Fresh, So Clean,' 'Players Ball,' and, of course, 'The Way You Move.' The latter saw attendees of all ages grooving and two-stepping in their seats.

Daddy Fat Sacks also touched on his solo catalog, with "All Night" and the lush "Can't Sleep" going over well with the crowd. However, the highlight of Big Boi's show was I finally heard Sleepy Brown perform the iconic groove "I Can't Wait" live. Big Boi's set closed out with a bass-filed performance of the UGK collaboration "Int'l Players Anthem (I Choose You)."

As the clock struck 9:15, the anticipation in the air was palpable as the audience prepared for the grand finale of the night-Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. The band's unique fusion of jazz, funk, pop, hip-hop, and rock music created a vibrant and celebratory bayou sound that had the crowd on their feet. Their set started with the energetic 'It Ain't No,' a high-energy funk number that moved the crowd. This song seamlessly transitioned into exhilarating covers of Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy,' which they infused with their signature jazz-funk sound, and Chuck Brown's 'Wind Me Up Chuck,' which became a high-energy blues anthem.

The setlist was a perfect mix of high-energy funk and other genres, keeping the audience on their feet and dancing all night. The atmosphere was electric, with everyone actively participating, singing along to songs like 'Fire and Brimstone' and 'Here Come the Girls.' Trombone Shorty's captivating stage presence drew in the audience, and his genuine and heartfelt interactions made everyone feel like they were an integral part of the show.

My first time seeing Trombone Shorty was an absolute thrill. The energy in the air was electric, and I was completely swept up in the music from the first note. Trombone Shorty's performance was everything I had hoped for and more, and I'm eagerly looking forward to his next show in the DMV area.

Final Grade: B+


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