Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
You wouldn't think a band Mick Jagger had picked as his personal favorite could escape national superstardom. Yet despite years of critical praise, sweaty studio work and the stubborn affection of the initiated, Little Feat has never made an indelible mark on the country's commercial consciousness. Even "Dixie Chicken" barely squawked in southern markets, and that seemed like a sure shot.
Was shington, on the other hand, is more than a stronghold - it's a citadel of Little Feat fans. Their four-night engagements at the Warner Theater have become meccas for the musical faithful, where boogieing approaches the emotional expressions at Pentecostal revivals. It's no coincidence that Feat recorded its live album at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium; acoustics are good all over, but a fired-up audience is worth its weight in gold albums.
Monday night's opening concert at Warner's was hot from the start, but caught fire when Bonnie Raitt dropped in to return the favor for their appearance at her concert Sunday night. When she was introduced the half of the audience that was still in its seat arose, and no one ever sat down again. Instead, they danced, clapped, sang along, whistled and screamed insatiably. That kind of reaction is supposed to have gone out with the Beatles.
Feat was also joined on stage by members of the opening act, John Hall and band. Hall, previously the guiding force behind Orleans, has stripped his street-wise music of the lush, romantic harmonics that characterized his years with that group. Now that Dooble-like incessant and irresistible beat comes through loud and clear. He has a new album out on Elektra, and should do well, judging by the reaction of the crowd Monday night.