fDeluxe: Susannah Melvoin, Eric Leeds, Jellybean Johnson & St. Paul Peterson/ Photo by Steve Parke
I caught fDeluxe’s early set, then zoomed out to the zoo for most of Feat’s 105-minute gig.
The Family was a Prince project in 1985 featuring St. Paul Peterson and Susannah Melvoin (Wendy’s twin sister and Prince’s then-girlfriend) on lead vocals. Peterson, Melvoin and original Family members saxophonist Eric Leeds and drummer Jellybean Johnson decided to reunite last year and make a new album ("Gaslight"). However, Prince owned the name “the Family” so the new project was released under fDeluxe.
After gigs in New York and Washington D.C. opening for Sheila E last week, fDeluxe sounded more like a band than a project at the Dakota. Augmented by guitarist Oliver Leiber, keyboardist Jason Peterson DeLaire and drummer Mario Dawson (Johnson is on guitar now), fDeluxe sounded Minneapolis funky, with some jazzy accents.
Leiber, who lives in L.A., showed his versatility on guitar in the funk and rock realms. Leeds was the star of the 80-minute first set. He’s a sax monster, who needs to find more regular gigs here in the Twin Cities, where he lives.
It was intriguing to hear the original version of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which Prince wrote for the Family’s 1985 album. It has a faster tempo and fuller sound than Sinead O’Connor’s famous hit interpretation.
In front of a jam-packed crowd, the long-lived Little Feat was in fine form at the final show this year at the Minnesota Zoo. The new “Rooster Rag” added a different texture but it was a treat to hear old favorites, including the late founder Lowell George's infamous countrified ditty “Willin’” (which turned into a legalize pot song On Sunday), the always playful “Fat Man in the Bathtub” and the 25-minute encore of “Dixie Chicken/Tripe Face Boogie” featuring Paul Barrere’s smokin’ slide guitar.
Here is the Little Feat set list:
Spanish Moon/ Red Streamliner/ Rocket in My Pocket / Honest Man/ Just a Fever/ Rooster Rag/ Church Fallin’ Down/ Willin’ / Salome/ Way Down Under/ Fat Man in the Bathtub ENCORE Dixie Chicken >Tripe Face Boogie