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Words by: Rich Lieberman :: Images by: Robert Chapman
Allman Brothers Band :: 04.07.07 :: Beacon Theatre :: New York, NY
When the Fillmore East closed its doors in June 1971, the Allman Brothers Band was the last band to perform. The recording of these shows, At Fillmore East, is one of the greatest live albums to ever be released. For the past 13 years the Allman Brothers have returned to NYC for an annual residency at the Beacon Theatre, a fantastic, art-deco treasure on the upper West Side. Fans from around the world come each March to experience improvisational rock & roll like what the Brothers played in 1971. Step inside the three-tiered 2,300-capacity Beacon's huge bronze doors and you find incredible murals, 30-foot Greek statues, marble floors, and ornate moldings.
Trucks & Burbridge - ABB :: 04.07 :: Beacon
This was the 15th show of 16 sold out nights (14 at the Beacon and one special show at Irving Plaza) and my fifth show in the run. The previous evening was Warren Haynes' Birthday and they held a great party. Tonight, they were locked in immediately on opener "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" (by Dr. John of course). The set quickly built momentum on "Rocking Horse," with Derek Trucks and Haynes dueling to a massive crescendo. Haynes has truly taken to his role as stage leader, which has allowed Trucks to really step up and shine.
Allman & Haynes - ABB :: 04.07 :: Beacon
Stepping towards the front of the stage, bassist Oteil Burbridge showed some great vocals on Jim Hendrix's "Manic Depression." Next, Haynes introduced former New York Yankee All-Star and critically acclaimed musician Bernie Williams. He did a remarkable job on Howlin' Wolf's "Who's Been Talking," taking two sweet solos before leaving the stage. As he left, Butch Trucks used a drumstick to take a big swing to signify Williams had just hit one out of the park.
Trucks & McCray :: 04.07 :: Beacon
Blues guitar master Larry McCray joined the fun for the first set closer. McCray was in town to play with Phil Lesh's Friends and lent a nice touch to "Statesboro Blues," where the three axe men did a round robin of solos that left people shaking their heads.
After a short break, Haynes said, "We've got a treat for you tonight. We're going to bring out some special guests for a few tunes." With that, Leo Nocentelli and Cyril Neville of The Meters came out for a mini set backed by Gov't Mule. That's right, Haynes, Matt Abts, Danny Louis and Andy Hess. The crowd loved this impromptu jam session. Nocentelli looked fly in his shades as he led the band through "Fiyo On The Bayou" and "Hey Pocky Way." It was a funky good time that had the Beacon shakin' like it was Jazz Fest.
Haynes, Jaimoe , C. Neville, Nocentelli :: 04.07
After the Meters-Mule meltdown, the set continued with the Allman Brothers Band building and building on what had already been an amazing night. Long gorgeous jams and amazing solos wove through "Dreams" and "Mountain Jam," which mixed jazzy fusion with rocking slide licks. Then, out of nowhere, they flew into a hard version of Led Zeppelin's "Dazed & Confused." The band's ability to move improvisationally is endlessly impressive. Their take on the old Zep classic was breathtaking before swinging back into "Mountain Jam" without missing a beat.
Abts, Hess, Randolph, Nocentelli :: 04.07
There was a lot of movement by the stagehands before the encore, most notable the addition of a pedal steel guitar to the stage. Robert Randolph joined them for an impressive "Lovelight" encore, adding the proverbial cherry to one hell of a night. From top-to-bottom, after 16 nights in a row, the Allman Brothers Band showed why they own NYC for about three weeks every year.
04.07.07 | Beacon Theatre | New York, NY
Set 1: I Walk On Guilded Splinters, Every Hungry Woman, Rocking Horse, Gamblers Roll, Manic Depression, Who's Been Talking, Statesboro Blues
Set 2: Fiyo On The Bayou, Hey Pocky Way, Don't Want You No More, Dreams, Oteil Scat > Derek Bass > Drums, Mountain Jam > Dazed and Confused > Mountain Jam
Continue reading for JamBase's exclusive interview with Gregg Allman...