Gov’t Mule And Oteil & Friends Trade Allmans-y Sit Ins In Boston
Watch collaborations on "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed," "Dreams" and "Sugaree" from Thursday night at Roadrunner.
Gov’t Mule‘s skillet-hot summer run pulled into Boston last night with opener Oteil & Friends. Given the shared history of its various members, cross pollination seemed like a foregone conclusion, and so it was, with Mule frontman Warren Haynes joining Oteil Burbridge‘s crew for an Allmans classic and most of Oteil’s band turning up throughout Gov’t Mule’s headlining set.
Oteil kicked off the evening at Boston’s Roadrunner with a 75-minute set heavy on Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band material, mixing in some soul-psychedelia chestnuts from his solo catalog. The sequence included “Here Comes Sunshine,” “Midnight Moonlight,” a stirring “King Solomon’s Marbles” and a chunky “Estimated Prophet,” giving ample room to flex for Burbridge, guitarists Eric Krasno and Tom Guarna, keyboardist Jason Crosby and drummer/vocalist Pete Lavezzoli.
This core lineup — which occasionally includes Krasno — has gelled into a regular touring unit for Burbridge, perhaps as a band of choice as the beatific-faced bassist contemplates his post-Dead & Company pursuits. It ably straddles the casualness of an “& Friends” jam session with the serious cut-it-up of a jazz combo; it can appear laid-back and even lackadaisical, and then turn in a ferocious workout almost without warning, mining classics of the Dead and other catalogs while never straying from a full expression of its namesake’s personality. Things really turned nice ‘n’ deep when Haynes joined for “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” — a groovalicious version of the Allmans warhorse that featured gnarly solos from Krasno, Crosby and Guarna before yielding to Warren himself to bring things to a fiery peak.
Gov’t Mule took the stage about 30 minutes later for a long single set lasting two and half hours. Haynes and his cohorts — failsafe drummer Matt Abts, whipcrack bassist Jorgen Carlsson and multi-instrumental wonder Danny Louis — loaded the show with Mule bangers and psychedelic jams, from the rib-sticking blues of “I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)” and the rock-fury throttle of “Stone Cold Rage” to the tender “Captured” and expansive jams on “Kind of Bird” and “Revolution Come, Revolution Go.” Haynes was at his most ferocious during “Time to Confess,” which built to a shattering climax of guitar fireworks, and at his most roiling during “Game Face,” a particularly shredding version of that Mule classic that yielded, partway through, to its signature “Mountain Jam” excursion.
More guest sequences felt inevitable, and they didn’t disappoint. Burbridge and Guarna climbed aboard for the Allman Brothers’ “Dreams” — the night’s emotional apex, with gorgeously wrenching solos from Guarna and Haynes both — and then Krasno and Crosby swapped in (still with Burbridge) for the Garcia classic “Sugaree,” with unhurried, loping solos abounding. Gov’t Mule wrapped things up with Al Green’s “I’m A Ram,” and then, for an encore, the pensive “Traveling Tune” as a capper.
Gov’t Mule returns on Saturday at Westville Music Bowl in New Haven, with Oteil & Friends again aboard, and also Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Pressing Strings for a full show benefiting Backline.
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Watch fan-shot video of the collaborations from Mule’s set in Boston below:
Gov’t Mule Setlist (via Gov’t Mule Facebook)
One Set: Thorazine Shuffle, Stone Cold Rage, Temporary Saint, Snatch It Back, Game Face, Time To Confess, Captured, Revolution Come, Revolution Go, Asked Her For Water, She Gave Me Gasoline, Kind Of Bird, Dreams (w/ Oteil Burbridge & Tom Guarna), Sugaree (w/ Oteil Burbridge, Eric Krasno & Jason Crosby), I’m A Ram
Encore: Traveling Tune