Anyone arriving at the Festival Theatre on Saturday expecting Dr John to deliver business as usual was in for quite a surprise.

For starters, the Doctor's band, the Lower 911, was present in expanded form compared to recent visits, with an effusive trombone and baritone saxophone horn section and singer-keyboardist Jon Cleary fortifying the leader's piano and Hammond organ playing alongside the superb guitar, bass guitar and drums team up back.

The result was in essence a New Orleans-Dr John revue combined, going back at one point to the Doctor's teenage years as a guitarist for hire – and a damn fine one, too – and moving forward chronologically, if not strictly according to the running order, through the Night Tripper phase, complete with spooky voodoo noises off, and on into the definitive N'awlins' good time feel of Right Place, Wrong Time and his recent Locked Down album, which has added a new, younger following to his long-time adherents.

This doesn't mean that Dr John is suddenly cool again; he was never anything other than cool and he cut the quintessential hipster figure here, dispensing gris-gris knowledge on a wonderfully swampy I Walk on Gilded Splinters and reflecting on life, love, bad luck, trouble, and political and business corruption with the air of a man who has seen it all before and was just waiting for it all to happen again.

And this time it had killer backing vocals, a couple of jazz standards, including history's hippest Love for Sale, and air-rippin' trombone pizazz, courtesy of Sarah Morrow, for company – all borne on a prime selection of the sexiest grooves.