Allman Brothers Band | 03.26.04 | Beacon Theater | New York, NY
Just as New York City got over its St. Patrick's Day haze, it was time for the annual Allman Brothers run at the Beacon Theatre. Strolling into the Big Apple with the added joy of celebrating their 35th year as a band, the Beacon was clearly in for a special night with the Allmans.
Opening the first set with "Can't Lose What You Never Had" started the showcase of Derek Trucks' talent on guitar. Playing off each other note-for-note, Derek and Warren Haynes were a tag team guitar powerhouse throughout show. As these two giants dug in and went outbound, one could clearly feel the genuine musical camaraderie spilling off stage.
Derek Trucks : 3.26.04
The crowd-pleasing staples "No One Left to Run With" (pronounced drums from Butch, Jaimoe, and Marc) and an especially rockin' "Statesboro Blues" came next, with stellar vocals from Gregg Allman. For as much as I enjoy the Allmans' in-your-face guitar work, I always forget that Gregg's voice is one of the main reasons I love this band.
Next up, "Rocking Horse" exhibited Oteil Burbridge's bottom-dropping bass playing. The playful jam between the Brothers on this tune rolled into "Good Clean Fun." The band continued to infuse their collective telepathic energy into each song as we experienced yet another round of musical interplay.
Slowing it down a little, Warren took center stage with the emotional "Old Before My Time." Derek's guitar solo at the end of this song brought us right back up to the Allman-style riff needed to blast into "Good Morning Little School Girl." The triple threat of Oteil's bass, Warren's vocals and Derek's swanky slide brought the audience to their feet.
As if that weren't enough, Leroy Parnell, award winning slide guitar player whose talent was influenced by the Allman Brothers, joined the band for "Leave my Blues at Home" to give yet another triple attack. This time, the threat was all slide, as Leroy, Warren, and Derek answered each other with their own musical slide-riff language. The slide party extended through the crowd-pleasing first set closer, "One Way Out." Excellent set!
Warren Haynes : 3.26.04
As fans scrambled back from refilling drinks and draining bladders, anticipation was peaking as the second set began in fine fashion. Kicking it off with "Mountain Jam" gave band members the leeway to move in and out of solos gracefully throughout this musical masterpiece. Leading into "Walk on Gilded Splinters," they cut "Mountain Jam" a bit short, but were able to work this Dr. John classic into a fierce lather before tying it down to massive applause.
"Ain't Wastin' Time No More" brought its crisp vocals and hip swaying, slower rhythm. "The Same Thing" included the addition of Danny Louis (of Gov't Mule) on keyboards. Gregg looked as if he was enjoying the company, breaking a smile once or twice. Oteil's bass solo coupled with Warren's bluesy vocals made this a set highlight.
The night kept getting better and better as the band brought out one special guest after another. The band welcomed Susan Tedeschi out on the stage--who stood right beside her hubby Derek for an emotional, vocally superb version of "Don't Think Twice it's Alright," which ended up being the song of the night for me. Susan brings that raspy blues vocal tenderness that makes you listen to the lyrics versus the melody of the song.
Love Birds : 3.26.04
Susan closes her eyes, taking in all of Derek's solo as she added an understated little rhythm with her own guitar. Their bond was evident as they were both in awe of each other's contributions to the song.
A wink and a kiss from Derek said goodbye to Susan and brought on "High Cost of Low Living," which gave way to a roller coaster of vocal and instrumental highs throughout. It was as if the band was building anticipation of something big coming up, although it was pretty late in the set. Yes, back into "Mountain Jam," weaving in and out of the main melody for a rockin' second half of the song. I don't need to tell you that the band has this one down to perfection.
Greg Allman : 3.26.04
I could have left the show at this point and been completely satisfied. But for the encore, bringing out B Smith and Rob Somerville from Deep Banana Blackout on horns to accompany an old Otis Redding song, "Dreams to Remember," was the icing on the cake, with Warren Haynes on vocals of course. Clearly determined to end the night on a high note, the band brought out all of the special guests (except Leroy Parnell) for a hell raising "Southbound." Butch Trucks led the drum section into the bottom core of the tune, leaving enough room for the other fine musicians on stage to bring on their layers. With the addition of the horns, an extra guitar including a Susan solo, and an extra keyboard, the band brought down the house with the last solo by Warren. Not only did tonight provide exemplary musical talent, but also showed, through gestures and smiles, the enjoyment the band members still have for each other's musical genius.
Words & Images by: Kim Panzitta
JamBase | New York
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