Watch Gov’t Mule, Billy Gibbons, Slash & Myles Kennedy Cover Lynyrd Skynyrd At Xmas Jam

Warren Haynes hosted the 32nd Christmas Jam benefit concert at Asheville’s Arena.

By Andy Kahn Dec 11, 2023 8:55 am PST

Warren Haynes hosted the 32nd Christmas Jam all-star benefit concert at Arena in the guitarist’s hometown of Asheville on Saturday. Haynes’ band Gov’t Mule headlined the event and were joined by Billy Gibbons, Slash, Myles Kennedy, Jason Bonham, George Porter Jr., John Medeski and others.

Gov’t Mule’s set began with ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons sitting-in with the band on several consecutive ZZ Top covers. Drummer Joe Russo — who earlier in the evening played sets with Tom Hamilton’s American Babies and another with Medeski, Porter and others — was in place of Mule’s Matt Abts for the start of the set. The opening sequence included ZZ Top favorites “Waitin’ for the Bus,” “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers,” “Blue Jean Blues,” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “La Grange.”


After Gibbons’ guest spot, Abts returned to the kit and keyboardist Danny Louis made his first appearance of the set. Gov’t Mule then delivered three originals off their 2023 studio album, Peace… Like A River, dialing into “After the Storm,” “Peace I Need” and “The River Only Flows One Way.” Drummer Jason Bonham was then tasked with taking over for ABts and playing drums on the Mule classic “Stoop So Low.”

With Bonham remaining behind the drum kit, Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash and his frequent collaborator, Alter Bridge guitarist Myles Kennedy, were next to join Gov’t Mule. A string of well-known rock covers followed, with Kennedy singing lead on Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and Slash’s own “Starlight.”

Haynes traded verses with Kennedy on Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike,” which segued in and out of Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” Next up was Slash shredding through Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” The segment with Bonham, Slash and Kennedy ended with Gibbons coming back for a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.”

Abts then returned to play drums and brought with him The Meters bassist George Porter Jr. who replaced Mule bassist Kevin Scott. A bluesy, moody arrangement of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” kicked off Porter’s collaboration and surrounded a performance of Haynes’ reflective “Beautifully Broken.”

Cocktails (See 5 videos)
Gov’t Mule (See 193 videos) , Slash (See 7 videos) , Billy Gibbons (See 8 videos) and Myles Kennedy (See 6 videos)

sgibson818 (See 39 videos)
Gov’t Mule (See 193 videos) and George Porter Jr. (See 65 videos)

John Medeski emerged and joined Louis on keyboards, while guitarist Mike Barnes and saxophonist Bill Evans also came onstage. Porter exited and Scott returned as Haynes announced they were going to “pay tribute to one of the greatest guitar players of all-time, Jeff Beck, who passed away earlier this year.” The assembled musicians then ripped through Jeff Beck’s signature guitar workout “Freeway Jam,” which brought an end to Gov’t Mule’s festive set.

The encore saw Mule joined by Medeski, Slash, Kennedy, Barnes and Evans on Haynes’ heartfelt Allman Brothers favorite “Soulshine.”

sgibson818 (See 39 videos)
Gov’t Mule (See 193 videos) , Slash (See 7 videos) , John Medeski (See 73 videos) , Bill Evans (See 19 videos) and Mike Barnes

Among the other performers at Saturday’s concert, which benefited Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and BeLoved Asheville, included Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening, Clutch, Karina Rykman and Cody Jasper. hosted a livestream of this year’s Christmas Jam. The livestream raised $20,000 for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and BeLoved Asheville.

Photos by Ian Rawn

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Gov’t Mule
  • Waitin' for the Bus
  • Jesus Just Left Chicago
  • Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers
  • Blue Jean Blues
  • Sharp Dressed Man
  • La Grange
  • After the Storm
  • Peace I Need
  • The River Only Flows One Way
  • Stoop So Low
  • Feel Like Makin' Love
  • You Shook Me All Night Long
  • Starlight
  • Hunger Strike / Dear Mr. Fantasy / Hunger Strike
  • Knockin' on Heaven's Door
  • Simple Man
  • When Doves Cry / Beautifully Broken / When Doves Cry
  • Freeway Jam
  • Soulshine
Setlist data
JamBase Collections