Friday night at the Beacon Theater found the Allman Brothers nearly exactly the way you hoped to see them. It wasn't a theme show, the Brothers And Sisters 40th Anniversary isn't till August. Gregg isn't recovering from anything. Nothing much is happening in the world of the band and nobody is celebrating or not celebrating the greatest Southern Boogie Jam Band of all time. Which left the Allman Brothers free to follow their muse and with no guests big enough to harsh their mellow, they blasted through a a first set pure blues power with Jimmy Johnson and Robert Johnson covers and help from the North Mississippi Allstars. The "All Along The Watchtower" would have sunk without journeyman saxophonist Jay Collins efforts, the "Rain"… I don't see the point of that at all. Actually, here is Hittin' The Web With The Allman Brothers forum poster AnthonyP's review of the evening:
"Great show, Gregg Was firing on all cylinders from the start. Seeing Rain for the first time was a treat. Come on Into My Kitchen was nice, but the guests threw Gregg for a little loop. Other than that he was 100% on. Everyone (Luther especially) took a nice solo in OWO and it was flawless. Liked the Hotlanta Sandwich, they do watchtower slow like Weir did with Ratdog.
And man was Anthony right about the Second Set. Off the charts describes the insanely glorious 20 minute Mountain Jam, taking the Donovan classic (they played it for 33 minutes on Filmore East) which, excepting for the opening "Melissa" with Greg on acoustic guitar felt like one song. Most people probably acclaimed "Mountain Jam" as the evening highlight wit Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes noodling on segues from "1983 (A Mermaid I Will Be") but "Blue Skies" was a wonder of pastoral harmony, Derek and Warren instead of the battling guitar wonders seemed locked in so well and Haynes especially just took the melody line and ran.
If "Blue Skies" was just enormously beautify the 1983/Mountain Jam was mindblowing, with Jamoai Johnson and Butch Trucks on drums and Marc Quiñones on percussion, you would think this would be moving on its stomach but it ain't: rather everything is weighted down and so the twinning guitars keep returning to the ground zero. Astonishing but not free form. This is very controlled stuff.
Truck is so adventurous, well past his slide guitar roots, here he seems to be bending genres. Yes it is psychedelic as written variant roots rock but it is also jazz and it is also the purist of melodic forms and Haynes is a cowboy gunslinger old school and between the two of them, and the heavy heavy acoustics, they prop up and lean on the iconic Greg. Who looks kinda thin by the way but is the best I've seen him in the 20 years I've been going to see the band. The second set just took this jigsaw puzzle and fit it together with ease.
When they write the book on greatest Allman Brothers sets Friday night might be nowhere to be found. But it is like going on a magical date with a girl, so perfect, so easy going, so much fun, that you take it for granted. People want their highs in a certain form of adrenaline and so what is really the purest of pleasures, of simply enjoying a great girl, or a great bands, company, gets lost in the rush of thrill seeking. You sort of fail to notice how the best things are those that are simply perfect in every single way. One cover too many? Yes. A little more shredding? Sure, why not. But overall, this was a perfect example of why the Allman Brothers are the jam band to beat.
Set 1: Grade: B+
Set 2: Grade: A
I can’t wait to hear the adds
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – January 1981 (Volume 12, Number 8)
I don’t believe in tomorrows
the night was quite a wild ride
I wish Cliff had beat Stormzy -who I admire but not here
we are all now sold on “Anti-Hero”
A horrorcore anthemic track with creepy vocals and abrasive guitars
they don’t quite show growth they do show
The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 12-2-22 – 12-8-22, Yemi Alade’s “African Baddie” Reviewed
One of the best albums of the year
Want to join me in supporting a good cause?
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – December 1980 (Volume 12, Number 7)
Boy Howdy! did Susan Whitall put together a solid team of writers