Just as it did in 2008, the NBA turned to few New Orleanian musicians to give a local flavor to its All-Star Game halftime show. This time, Cresecent City-based Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue opened the show with some jazz before bringing in Louisiana legend Dr. John to bang out a song on piano. His hat was spectacular.
Blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. -- who played the American anthem before the game -- jumped in to play "Bright Lights, Big City" before the more well-known national stars came out.
Those were singer Janelle Monae, who performed "Electric Lady," and the iconic funk band Earth, Wind & Fire. The whole crew came together to play EW&F's "Shining Star," a fitting finisher to the performance given the purpose of the show.
It was a departure for the NBA, who last year had Alicia Keyes do halftime and usually goes with pop stars. (2008 in New Orleans stands out as the other non-traditional halftime show in recent years. Harry Connick Jr. led an all-star crew of jazz performers that year. That entire weekend was a paean to New Orleans, which was hosting its first major event since Hurricane Katrina.) But despite the line-up being out of the box, it was a huge hit -- the energy seemed great and most fans on Twitter seemed to enjoy it. Plus, the NBA was still able to get some pop stars elsewhere in the weekend, including Kendrick Lamar on Saturday night and Pharrell Williams before Sunday's main event.
Here's to more non-traditional All-Star halftime shows in the future. Better an unlikely Monae-Dr. John-EW&F collab than an unlikely and unfortunate Fall Out Boy-2 Chainz mix.