Gov’t Mule Doubles Down On ‘Brown Sugar’ Covers In Delaware

Watch the band debut their take on ZZ Top's "Brown Sugar" and perform The Rolling Stones' tune with the same name at Freeman Arts Pavilion.

By Scott Bernstein Sep 4, 2021 2:31 pm PDT

Gov’t Mule tour resumed on Friday in Shelbyville, Delaware, where the quartet treated fans to a double dose of “Brown Sugar” covers. Warren Haynes and company performed both ZZ Top’s “Brown Sugar” and The Rolling Stones beloved classic with the same name during the second set at Freeman Arts Pavilion.

Mule opened last night’s first set with “Traveling Tune” from their latest studio album, 2017’s Revolution Come…Revolution Go. The band then turned to the previous LP, High & Mighty, for “Mr. High & Mighty” and “Unring The Bell,” with a take on Memphis Slim’s “Mother Earth” played between the two.

Next came the improvisational highlight of the night as Gov’t Mule performed an 18-minute “Kind Of Bird” featuring elements of The Allman Brothers Band’s “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed.” Warren Haynes co-wrote “Kind Of Bird” with Dickey Betts for the ABB’s 1991 album Shades Of Two Worlds. The four-piece went back to Revolution Come…Revolution Go to end the set by pairing the emotional ballad “Dreams & Songs” and hard-hitting “Stone Cold Rage.”

After kicking off Friday’s second set with “Mr. Man,” Gov’t Mule dug in on live staple “Lay Your Burden Down.” Haynes urged the crowd to singalong and the audience accepted the assignment. “That’s beautiful!” Warren exclaimed. The debut of a jam dubbed “Green Grass & High Tides” came within “Lay Your Burden Down.” Another well-played song sandwich followed as Gov’t Mule worked Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” into their own “Endless Parade.”

Gov’t Mule have been honoring The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts and ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, who each recently passed away, by covering at least one song by each band at every show they’ve played so far this summer. As previously mentioned, last night’s concert featured both acts’ “Brown Sugar.” Billy Gibbons wrote ZZ Top’s “Brown Sugar” for inclusion on their debut album, 1971’s ZZ Top’s First Album while The Rolling Stone originally released the Mick Jagger/Keith Richards-credited “Brown Sugar” on Sticky Fingers that same year. Friday marked the Mule debut of the ZZ Top cover and the group’s fifth live version of the Stones cover.

The inspired “Brown Sugar” segment was followed by High & Mighty’s “So Weak, So Strong” and Revolution Come…Revolution Go’s “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground.” Last night’s second set ended “I’m A Ram” by Al Green. A nicely extended “Soulshine” was the evening’s encore. Gov’t Mule co-headlines Rochester’s MLK Jr. Memorial Park with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue tonight.

Watch fan-shot video featuring both “Brown Sugar” covers captured by Tom Libera:

Brown Sugar (ZZ Top)

Tom Libera (See 2 videos)
Gov’t Mule (See 114 videos)

Brown Sugar (Rolling Stones)

Tom Libera (See 2 videos)
Gov’t Mule (See 114 videos)

Setlist (via Gov’t Mule FB)

Set One: Traveling Tune, Mr. High And Mighty, Mother Earth, Unring the Bell, Kind Of Bird, Dreams & Songs, Stone Cold Rage

Set Two: Mr. Man, Lay Your Burden Down > Green Grass and High Tides* > Lay Your Burden Down, Endless Parade > Ain’t No Sunshine > Endless Parade, Brown Sugar#, Brown Sugar, So Weak, So Strong, Dark Was The Night, I’m A Ram

Encore: Soulshine

  • * Jam. First Time Played
  • # ZZ Top song. First Time Played
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