Leon Russell put on a great show at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, on Friday, March 3, 2006. The State Theatre, a renovated movie theater with balcony, was sold out. I stood in the front center, about 20 feet from Leon, for the entire show. He was in fine voice and played great keyboards.  Leon has striking long white hair and beard. He wore sunglasses, a Stetson hat, and a colorful shirt.

     Russell performed three Stones' songs as part of his diverse setlist. When introducing "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall", Leon said he originally recorded this as a birthday gift for Bob Dylan, and now directs it to the oil companies. Russell's band included The Reverend Grant Whitman on drums, Jaime on backing vocals, Jack on bass & vocals, and Curly who Leon stated Curly had been playing guitar with him for 25 years.

     After the show, I went outside to the red tour bus where Jack picked up items to take inside for Leon to sign. Leon signed my CD inserts for Mad Dogs and Englishmen and Retrospective, and a DVD insert containing the lyrics for "Bangladesh".

     I've always wanted to see Leon perform on stage because of his involvement in the recording of Let It Bleed and his appearance with George Harrison on The Concert for Bangladesh. I was thrilled to get Russell's autograph on the Bangladesh DVD. It was great to finally get the chance to see Leon live! Rumor has it that Leon will join Ringo and His All-Starr Band on tour this summer.

Alexandria setlist: So Hard To Say Goodbye * Delta Lady * Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms/Stranger in a Strange Land * Night and Day * Kansas City Woman * It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry * Sixteen Tons * My Bonnie * Message From My Baby * Let The Good Times Roll * Dixie Lullaby * Any Way You Want Me * Back to the Island * Wild Horses * A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall * Hummingbird * Daddy Sang Bass/Will the Circle Be Unbroken? * Georgia * Prince of Peace * Out In the Woods * Come On in My Kitchen (Curly slide guitar solo) * Lucky Old Sun (Leon solo) * A Song For You (Leon solo) * Jumpin' Jack Flash * Papa Was A Rolling Stone * Paint It, Black (short instrumental) * Kansas City * Great Balls of Fire/Roll Over Beethoven

RockonTour   Issue #54
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Paino Man and piano fan
Leon Russell in performance at Falls Church

by Jeff Root