Mule & Potter | 09.06.07 | NYC

Words by: Rich Lieberman :: Images by: Dino Perrucci

Gov't Mule :: 09.06.07 :: Rumsey Playfield :: New York, NY

Warren Haynes - Gov't Mule
09.06 :: NYC
New York's Central Park played host to a fantastic summer of great music. One of the most impressive schedules in recent memory delivered a diverse lineup from Levon Helm to the Beastie Boys. The lush confines of Rumsey Playfield offered up something for all musical tastes as many major acts that came through town made it a stop on their tour schedule. With so many great and historic venues and stages in New York City, there is something very special about performing and attending a show in the park as the sun drops beneath the treetops revealing the lights of the NYC skyline in the background.

As the summer came to a close, Gov't Mule headlined a hot triple bill for this year's version of "Rockin' the Burro" with the help NYC's own power trio Earl Greyhound and Vermont's soulful Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

Gov't Mule has had a stellar year. They've picked up a lot of new fans with the release of their highly acclaimed studio effort High & Mighty, an extremely successful third annual Mountain Jam and an already legendary performance at this year's Bonnaroo. Gov't Mule continues to challenge themselves to deliver a fresh, dynamic live performance night after night - each show different from the last, an abundance of material to pull from, classic covers reworked and the prospect of special guests always looming. All this has contributed to the rise and success of the Mule. Their near constant worldwide tour schedule is exposing their sound to a broader audience all the time.

On this gorgeous evening, Rumsey Playfield opened its doors early for this mini Mule fest. The sun was bright but the hometown crowd thin when Earl Greyhound took the stage to offer up their brand of in-your-face rock & roll. The start time was a bit too early for those just getting off work, but necessary due to the 10 p.m. curfew imposed on live music in the park due to local noise ordinances. Earl Greyhound will rock you to your core with their melodious soul and brawny stage presence. I highly recommend checking out this trio and their new release Soft Targets.

Grace Potter :: 09.06 :: NYC
Next, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals ripped through a tight and extremely soulful set. Potter fronts this band with her incredible voice and sassy, sexy stage presence. She did not disappoint this New York crowd. Sporting an eye-popping mini dress and leather boots, she hooked the audience from note one. Whether behind her Hammond B3 or out front abusing her Gibson Flying V guitar, Potter is a rock star. The Nocturnals lay down an organic, timeless brand of American rock & soul. They are Scott Tournet on guitar, Bryan Dondero on bass and Matt Burr on drums. The now full venue was up and dancing. They played a nice mix of material including crowd favorite "Stop the Bus," as well as new material off of the recently released This Is Somewhere, which marks the coming of age for this relentlessly touring act. This young band, led by the 24-year-old Potter, is fast making a name for themselves, and it's well deserved. On this evening, they laid the perfect groundwork for the main attraction. The crowd was now fully ready for some "Music for your Ass!"

Last year, Gov't Mule hatched the idea of playing a summer outdoor show for its NYC hometown base, and named the show "Rockin the Burro." The inaugural show rocked the Borough of Brooklyn at the McCarren Pool. Wolfmother opened and it was a success. This year, they came back to Central Park where The Mule last played in 2003 with George Porter Jr. taking the bass duties and Robert Randolph opening the show. They returned to this stage four years later as a fearsome foursome with two studio albums under their belt and renewed vigor. Along with the legendary Warren Haynes, Gov't Mule consists of founding member Matt Abts on drums, Danny Louis on keys and Andy Hess on bass.

Gov't Mule :: 09.06 :: NYC
Warren Haynes, with his sweet but powerful voice, sang the first verse of "John the Revelator," a song penned in the 1930s by Blind Willie Johnson, a cappella. The band was locked in through the first part of the set, which included great versions of "Banks of the Deep End" and "Sco-Mule" before really taking off with the assistance of the talented background vocals of Machan and Elaine Caswell for a heartfelt, emotional version of "Million Miles from Yesterday." The lyrics are so very poignant, and with the added punch of the background vocals it took that musical emotion to another level.

Up next was a rollicking version the Steppenwolf classic "Don't Step on the Grass Sam." This song always 'ignites' the crowd. Haynes' guitar work was in top form as they launched into a great selection of songs from High & Mighty and a sprinkling of Mule classics. The new songs sound amazing live. After a killer drum solo by Abts, the band launched into scorching second half of the set with soaring guitar work on "Bad Little Doggie," which gave way to three fierce songs off High & Mighty before ending with "Blind Man in the Dark." Judging from the reaction of the capacity crowd, Gov't Mule had indeed "Rocked The Burro!"

With the curfew approaching, the band walked back on stage quickly with good friend and special guest Jimmy Vivino on guitar. Vivino played Central Park earlier this summer with Levon Helm's band and is guitarist for Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Fab Faux. They had fun with the encore, playing a trifecta of impressive blues songs to close "Rockin the Burro II."

Gov't Mule continues to bring it up a notch each time I see them perform. Warren Haynes is still the hardest working man on the circuit, and the band and its management team keep finding new and innovative ways of keeping it fresh for their fans. Catch you on a NYC Burro next year!

Setlist

09.06.07 :: Rumsey Playfield :: New York, NY
John The Revelator, Slackjaw Jezabel, Banks Of The Deep End, Sco-Mule, A Million Miles From Yesterday with Machan & Elaine Caswell, Don't Step On The Grass Sam, Slow Happy Boys, Brighter Days, Like Flies,Drums, Bad Little Doggie, Mr. High & Mighty, Brand New Angel, Unring The Bell with Machan & Elaine Caswell, Blind Man In The Dark.
Encore: 32/20 Blues, Come On Into My Kitchen, Gonna Send You Back To Georgia (all with Jimmy Vivino)

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[Published on: 9/26/07]

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Comments

beadiamondsomday starstarstarstarstar Wed 9/26/2007 08:12PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

beadiamondsomday

been a while since i was the first. should i say something negative like usctrojens 4 life more than likely will? nope ill just say warren is the man and damn grace, damn!!!! bet it was a good time, like the pics.

Tall starstarstarstarstar Wed 9/26/2007 09:23PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Tall

Great read and great pics. Potter was one of my favourites from Austin City Limits and I can picture her clearly while reading the description here - spot on.

It has indeed been a great summer in NY and Central Park in particular. Wish I had seen more but that's just me being greedy!

Nice work.

whodoyoudo Thu 9/27/2007 12:59AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

whodoyoudo

cant wait for st louis , hope i can make the money come round

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Thu 9/27/2007 03:32AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RothburyWithCheese

Me negative about WarrenHaynes and the Mule? One of the most underrated acts in music of the last 15 years? Obviously the fool that posted that hasnt read some of my comments. Long live the Mule and Warren. Anyone in the allman's extended family is alright by me. Love you Warren!

Dnumde Thu 9/27/2007 05:30AM
+9 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Dnumde

I agree, Gov't Mule is one of the only shows left worth a damn. these guys tear it up night after night! Mountain Jam, prob the best weekend of my summer and it was all warren. His 2 nights of mule rocked so hard i almost lost it both nights. Praise be to warren, and all those in Gov't Mule. ROCK ON WARREN THANK YOU!

beadiamondsomday starstarstarstarstar Thu 9/27/2007 07:21AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

beadiamondsomday

i was just joshin ya spurier fan, its just funny i awlays read your comments b/c some of then are very funy but i always have to hit the hide/show button first. and cpd102291 that goes w/out saying

beadiamondsomday starstarstarstarstar Thu 9/27/2007 07:36AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

beadiamondsomday

yeah, i definately meant carrol, i live in nc so...

Shirls starstarstarstarstar Thu 9/27/2007 08:26AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Shirls

So what do you Mule fans think? Am I correct to assume that the Mule is going to cover Houses of the Holy in its entirety on Halloween during their "Holy Haunted House" show? Audley Freed special guest (who played with the Crowes on their Jimmy Page tour) and the title make me believe. Mule has never done the whole album on Halloween tradition but why not start right? Anyone agree? I'll be there to find out

sunnbear starstarstarstarstar Thu 9/27/2007 09:04AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

sunnbear

Warren could spend three hours tuning up and clearing his throat and I would dig it! Warren is a god!

johnnygoff starstarstarstar Thu 9/27/2007 10:01AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

johnnygoff

this review is great for 3 reasons: 1) Brief and to the point 2) It covered "the hardest working man in jam" and 3) Rick Lieberman dropped on us some of his great words (to those of you not in 'the know' on this, Rich L. was the brains/braun behind the best Realtime festival blog this summer---Mountain Jam. Thanks again and can't wait to see Mule in Binghamton in October.

gmoo Thu 9/27/2007 11:36AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

gmoo

Warren has that face when he pumps gas.

spen4k Thu 9/27/2007 12:51PM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
whodoyoudo Thu 9/27/2007 03:50PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

whodoyoudo

ha ha the face he made at his 06 waka set between set 2 and encore that they froze on the screen during the wait was one of the funniest things i have ever seen they could not have used a worse/better portrait, i lost all control along with the rest of my group, good times

nokin starstarstarstarstar Mon 10/1/2007 12:36PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

nokin

I love Gracie!