Stephen Colbert opened his first night as Late Show host by singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” with some random folks and ended it by joining some Very Serious Folks in a jam on Sly and the Family Stone’s classic “Everyday People.”
Joining new house band Jon Batiste and Stay Human were a slew of ace musicians including Buddy Guy and Derek Trucks — two of the world’s greatest guitar players — and legendary gospel/R&B singer Mavis Staples. Also along for the jam were the likes of Ben Folds, Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard, Aloe Blacc, Trucks’ wife Susan Tedeschi, singer Paul Janeway and Beirut’s Zach Condon, Kyle Resnick and Ben Lanz. Eventually, many of the players walked into and through the crowd and continued playing, a Buddy Guy signature move.
Colbert sauntered onstage midway to sing the lines about “There is a long hair that doesn’t like the short hair,” gleefully butchering it. But it’s his show, so no one’s gonna tell him not to do it, right?