Yesterday (January 9th) was my birthday. I turned 67.
Thing about it is, right behind that, on the 12th, it will be what would have been my brother Larry’s 70th birthday, had he lived to see it. Instead, he left this earthly plane in July of 2012.
I’m not here to get overly personal regarding the wide variety of feelings these facts bring up in me. Rather, I’m here to lend some context to the video we just posted to YouTube of his last public appearance … on July 13, 2012, at Boston’s on the Beach in Delray Beach, FL, just 11 days before he passed.
Thankfully, this was captured by our long-time fan/friends Mike & Robin from M&R Productions. With all due respect, some of the audio and video leaves much to be desired, but the fact that this even exists at all far outweighs any and all technical shortcomings. A lot of love went into this, and for that I am grateful.
Additionally, the undoctored performance is far from perfect on our parts. There’s even an actual (what we call a) “train wreck” during the medley near the end of the show. Uh, what was that arrangement supposed to be again? Hmmm …
I say “last public appearance“ because this was the add-on show to what’s known as an “anchor date.” That’s the show with the bigger budget that allows for doing something nearby for not as much, i.e. a conservatively-priced club gig. That anchor date was a private show the next day in West Palm. Orleans played as itself but also added special guests Felix Cavaliere (The Rascals) and Spencer Davis, who we backed up. That was actually Larry’s last performance. But I digress.
This version of the band was Larry, Lane, Fly, Charlie Morgan and me, which is what it had been since 2006, when John departed to Congress. Much of this set is comprised of songs you’ve heard us play a lot over the years. But there are others that don’t fit that description. It’s not often we played In My Dream live, my ballad from the Ride album. It’s been years since we’ve visited Fly’s Mall Cop!
But the one that took me aback personally was One of the Lucky Ones. That’s the title tune of Larry’s 3rd and final solo album, in which he celebrates his gratitude and love for the life he had been blessed with. Back then, it was me who asked that we include it in our active song list for its different groove and uniquely personal message, but I had forgotten we started doing it shortly before this. The irony of the lyric juxtaposed next to what would happen shortly after is not at all lost on me.
The footage ends before the show does, meaning there’s no Still the One finale and no encore (if we got one). Instead, there’s some lovely commemorative text, written by Mike & Robin, over an informal solo guitar/vocal rendition of Still the One by Larry. A fitting end, indeed.
God willing, I will see my own 70th birthday.