I have always seen Billy Brown and Dr John very similar as songs. There is a story, there is a character. Both songs are easy to sing and dance along and they are always a great way to make a connection with the audience. I have never heard anyone saying Billy Brown or Dr John are their favorite songs but both are entertaining and work really well in live situations.
Actually, they are very different, of course. The story behind Billy Brown is clear while the story behind Dr John is something vague and more symbolic. I’ve heard several theories about the song and seen it performed many times and I still don’t have any clear image of Dr John. A weird character with a tasteless coat? Does he exist?
Mika started to use his colorful Dr John feather coat during 2010 UK and European tours. I first saw it in Belfast February 2010 and I liked it because it seemed to amuse him so much and I really enjoyed seeing him acting during the performance. Later during the European/Arena tours he seemed to already be a bit bored with Dr John. Or maybe I was a bit bored, I still couldn’t properly understand the purpose/meaning of the feather coat. I would love to see this song performed in a black or grey jacket without any disturbing colors, I’m curious what it would be like. He seems to have all his songs as images in his head, and I guess we all do the same – each and everyone in a different way.
I can remember many fantastic Dr John performances. I loved it especially in Vienna (yes, I think I loved everything in Vienna), three last pics are from the Vienna gig.The first vid below is a clip from Belfast (2/2010), I think it’s my favorite.
And from Hammersmith Apollo, a few days after the Belfast show: