Allman Brothers & RatDog | 08.23 | NJ

Words by: Bobby Coleman | Images by: Rod Snyder

The Allman Brothers Band and Bob Weir & RatDog
08.23.08 :: Susquehanna Bank Center :: Camden, NJ

Gregg Allman :: 08.23 :: New Jersey
There were about 11,000 fans out on a hot summer night in a sea of tie-dye shirts blending in with the evening light on the open field next to the Delaware River. Bob Weir & RatDog was the opening act for the Allman Brothers Band and fans of all ages had funneled into the grounds.

Weir, looking like a jolly rock & roll Santa Claus, and RatDog started the show slowly with a nice jam. As the reefer smoke ascended to the ceiling along with the balloons that fans were batting around, everyone around me began dancing and cheering as they went into "Shakedown Street." Abandoning the structures of conventional music, the band – Weir (vocals, guitar), Mark Karan (guitar), Kenny Brooks (sax), Jeff Chimenti (keys), Jay Lane (drums) and Robin Sylvester (bass) improvised the jams by rearranging pitches, harmonies, frequencies, resonance and duration in a creative chaos. As these guys "noodled" with their instruments, easing into a wandering cosmic exploration, it was somewhat like being dropped into the middle of a new galaxy where things look familiar but nothing is in the same place and we are left to ponder the relationship of their meaning. In short, music for music's sake.

Dylan's "Queen Jane Approximately" was performed very peacefully and melodically with a pleasant keyboard and sax interlude. Chimenti played the grand piano becoming more apparent during "Money For Gasoline," where he soloed, banging away accompanied by sax flourishes and slapping cymbals. Tempos would race before being calmed by rhythm guitar set amongst rising bright, blue notes. "Eyes of the World" was full of great solo instrumental runs, the kind that no doubt have inspired many bands to improvise and jam in hopeful imitation

Bob Weir :: 08.23 :: New Jersey
Then, another Dylan song, "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." Everyone stood and sang for the three-guitar lineup. Bobby Weir is exceptionally good at interpreting Dylan's music and everyone seemed greatly pleased at this timeless standard done RatDog style. Having given ourselves to the music, fans were now ready for "Bird Song," "The Other One" and "Morning Dew," with the music creating a kaleidoscope of sounds and harmony. To close their set, Warren Haynes joined RatDog to perform a "Bird Song" reprise and the traditional Saturday night staple, "One More Saturday Night." Holding the crowd spellbound, these wizards invited fans to join in on the chorus by pausing and slowing down the tempo as the set concluded.

It was good to see Gregg Allman at the keyboard ready to perform after a very serious illness scare which had kept him away for too long. He was smiling and happy. Digging right into "Hot Lanta," the heat started to rise as the unmistakable Hammond organ and Allman's distinctly Southern voice blended with the guitars of Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. Haynes and Trucks are two of the all time greats, and both are mean with a slide, and it is a great privilege to see and hear them play side by side in this archetypical band. Pushing the energy level way up, "Done Somebody Wrong" featured a little boogie woogie blues accent that wowed the crowd. These guys - Jamie Johanson (percussion), Marc Quinones (percussion), Butch Trucks (drums), Gregg Allman (vocals, keys), Derek Trucks, Oteil Burbridge (bass) and Warren Haynes (guitar, vocals) - are obviously remarkably talented, but it's their history, having helped define the Southern Rock genre, that makes them so truly special.

Derek Trucks :: 08.23 :: New Jersey
The perennial classic "Midnight Rider" contained a phantom rebel spirit, a shadowy figure that lingers in all of us, an aimless and displaced figure who owns nothing except one more silver dollar and keeps on searching for freedom. The music on "Rider" was reminiscent of a train - the clanging bell, the hissing steam, the squealing rails and the squeaks of the timber on the stone bed all contained in the introduction. Overlaid with vocal harmonies, blue tones, driving repeated rhythms and incredible bottleneck slide that never stopped, this was the highlight of the evening.

They also covered Van Morrison's "And It Stoned Me" and Dr. John's "I Walk On Guilded Splinters." Both were remarkable feasts of guitar and drums. "Dreams" featured Kenny Brooks on sax, who blew a little of Rogers and Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things" in the intro. This was truly an amazing show! To explain it is next to impossible - the long solo runs, the triple drummers, kettle drums - since there was so much happening. If all of that wasn't enough, Haynes, Weir and Trucks performed Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" on acoustic guitars.

"Mountain Jam" > "Dazed and Confused" > "Mountain Jam" was a delicious sandwich and proved that the masterful musicians of this band will carry this music well into the future. The Allman Brothers Band exemplifies and embodies the spirit of Southern rock and it's good to know one of America's great musical traditions is in safe hands.

Continue reading for more images of the Allman Brothers and RatDog...

The Allman Brothers Band

Continue reading for more images of RatDog...

Bob Weir & RatDog

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johnnygoff starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/5/2008 04:47PM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Bobby and Ratdog sounded so much better this tour than last. Have seen nearly every Ratdog and ABB stop in Upstate NY for the past 11 years. Maybe it's the outdoors ampitheatres and/or weather, but Ratdog did not drain energy this year. Also, it was nice to have Ratdog first and Allmans go second. GO SEE ALLMANS W/ WARREN AND TRUCKS WHILE YOU STILL CAN! you will be kicking yourself later if you don't. HISTORICAL grouping of musicians/guitarists. Great tour this year!

phish728 Fri 9/5/2008 04:56PM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Was at this show. had a great time, but sometimes feel like seein allmans is like talking a trip down memory lane, no body really rages that hard at these shows, kind of mellow. guess thats what its all about though. The and it stoned me, and Guilded splinters were my highlights for sure, and the whole ratdog set... dont know what the reviewer is talking about pot smoke filled the air, i had to ask someone if it was chill to puff cause i didnt see anyone smokin. cept this dude bout 3 seats down w/ some blueberry chronaron. ha. DTrucks RIPS , oh yea DREAMS was ridiculous. THey should chill out on the trippy ass backdrops, its cool for a while but gets old.

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/5/2008 06:07PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Great writeup. Fantastic photos. I wish they would tour Texas. Cant wait for DeadTour 09.

brooklynite84 Fri 9/5/2008 09:19PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I think it's an awesome thing to have these two groups sucks they don't do a national tour that goes to more than just a few main states, but still is exciting. i can't wait for the Dead to come back next year, maybe they should team up with the Allmans for a few shows, shit all of them would be sweet, it would be a great gathering of the tribes, either way it's still gonna be rockin!

minutes Sat 9/6/2008 05:54AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I got two words for you: Mark Karan.

the guy is rediculous and probably the most under rated guitarist in the scene right now. here here.

z man starstarstarstarstar Sat 9/6/2008 07:06AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Now this sounds like a show. I saw Ratdog with rusted root and Keller some years ago and I thought that was one of my best concert experiences ever. I saw Steal your face logo beaming off Kellers guitar everyweir that night. Rusted Root of course was no joke as I just chilled out in the grass and watched their energy, a big blowing orange ball as this kid was doing sumersaults down the hill. I got like 4/5 rows during ratdog without disrupting many people and it was awesome. Anyways, Sorry but are these guys touring this fall together?

kaiserbun starstarstarstar Sat 9/6/2008 07:27AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

sounds like a great show, good to see the allmans playing some random covers. i'd have to guess that's warren throwing those in there. don't talk about history and defining southern rock with this lineup though. derek and warren are incredible, but this is not the band that was genre changing, that lineup has been gone for a long time. still love the shows though!

njed starstarstarstar Sat 9/6/2008 04:00PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I was at this show had a great time..Not a big Ratdog fan I much more like Phil + friends..But it was ok...I think the Allmans are great I don't see where the people say the slowed down..I mean Warren an Derek kill on the Jams on Guitar.Derek is the best slide player in the world he is just awesome..Gregg is a bit under the weather so its understandable he may be a bit slower..But still a treat for me...These 2 bands contrast a lot.very different..Ratdog is much more melodic an trippy more into the Dead kinda jams.. Where the ABB with there backing drums an percussion are like high powered machine with there jams..All in all had a blast..Warren always does a fine job on the cover songs..And Bob weir give you the Dead feeling..The show at Penn State should be a blast..

Sixmilliondollarman starstarstarstarstar Sat 9/6/2008 04:59PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Much better than last year..highlight...MORNING DEW and then during ABB acoustic Weir, Warren, Derek= spine tingling. A wonderful night. Wait, Jay's drum solo was fargin sick too. Did Jay ever get arrested that night?

iwantstogetfunkedup Sat 9/6/2008 11:12PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I would have no idea if Jay Lane got arrested, but check out his drumming with Alphabet Soup!!

durazno Sun 9/7/2008 06:31AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


DEREK playing a les paul? SINCE WHEN??

jimmyjetski Sun 9/7/2008 10:59AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Canadaigua NY show for both was far below average,extremly dissapointing. I am getting a little discouraged. Best shows all summer were WSP and Mark Knopfler.

RambleOnShelbyRose starstarstarstar Sun 9/7/2008 11:54AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I saw these two pair up in upstate NY at SPAC, and i must say that everyone i talked to and i agree with these people, the general consensus was that ratdog tore down the house and the allman bros were the snooze fest, they just seem to individually solo, and that just isn't that interesting to me, while the scarlet begonias to sugaree from spac was amazing, and had the whole 25000 people shakin like sugaree. Ratdog and Bobby rock, and so will the dead in 09

irtimed starstarstarstarstar Sun 9/7/2008 02:11PM
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Woah. never seen derek play a les paul.

_Sugaree_ starstarstarstarstar Mon 9/8/2008 07:15AM
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This was such a great show!!! I was excited for it all summer! I want to thank the guy who gave me the front row ticket/wristband...seriously made my whole month! Being able to be that close to see the sweet sweet music being made by Gregg, Warren, and Derek was just amazing!!

Minnasoda starstarstarstar Mon 9/8/2008 07:01PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Great pics Rod!

reuben25 Tue 9/9/2008 01:16PM
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i accidently gave myself food poisoning the night before (tainted meatballs) literally i barfed the entire time for four hours i couldn't stop great show tho.....

2channelguy starstarstarstar Tue 9/9/2008 01:48PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I thought this show was very nice also. Interesting comment on Bob's interpretation of Dylan. "Hard Rain" was fantastic I agree, considering the number of verses and lines. Too bad he didn't know the words to "Highway 61 Revisited" in Hershey a couple of nights later.

It was really great to have the Allmans back Have to say in my opinion only Ratdog blew them off the stage. I saw 5 shows and was blown away with Ratdog. They were like Dead shows. Hope the planned 2009 band show are as good. See you all out there.

gr8fldude starstarstarstar Wed 9/10/2008 12:58AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This was one of the finest shows I have seen in a while! My first time seeing Gregg and Mark since overcoming their respective health issues. Glad to see such professionalism and camaraderie between the bands.

BTW - Kenny wasn't the sax player with the Allman Brothers on Dreams, I think it was Jay Collins.

jewadamandtheisraelites starstarstarstarstar Wed 9/10/2008 11:07AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I was at this show... great show all around, but Bobby and the boys were much better on the 19th at SPAC

BlowsAgainsttheEmpire starstarstar Wed 9/10/2008 11:50AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


That is not the first time Derek Trucks has played a Gibson Les Paul live onstage in public before. But it is a rare experience. He has played a Les Paul that was supposedly Duane Allman's in the recent past live onstage in public. I've seen him play a Washburn, Paul Reed Smith, & a D'Angelico(a guitar made by a relative of Michael Barbiero producer of GMule & ABB albums) before. Susan Tedeshi Trucks plays the D'Angelico quite a bit. And of course theres the SG that is pretty much his siggie.

sirrickthegreat starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/12/2008 09:46AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Jesus I wish I coulda been there... If only I could make enough money playing my guitar at shows to stay on tour, but alas- the old dogs would sooner eat me alive than see me "slacking off" playing guitar...

As if playing guitar is slacking off...

reuben25 starstarstarstar Wed 9/17/2008 11:57AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


ratdog definately should have headlined...they were pretty frickin awesome