Photos by: Ian Rawn
Hampton 70: A Celebration Of Col. Bruce Hampton
5.1.17 :: Fox Theatre :: Atlanta
5.1.17 :: Fox Theatre :: Atlanta
The old saying in regards to Abraham Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre goes, “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”
While the story to come out of the all-star Hampton 70: A Celebration Of Col. Bruce Hampton was the death of the iconic man who was being honored, there were four hours of spectacular music preceding Hampton’s collapse at the end of what was planned to be the final song of the evening – “Turn On Your Lovelight.” The benefit featured one memorable highlight after another played by an impressive array of the Colonel’s closest associates. Full show audio has surfaced and can be streamed towards the bottom of this post, which also includes photos from Ian Rawn, the setlist, a handful of videos and scans from the concert’s program.
Hampton 70 began with Col. Bruce Hampton fronting a large house band on “There Was A Time.” The Wood Brothers frontman Oliver Wood was the first guest of the night and led the house band on three songs including a beautiful “Postcards From Hell” featuring contributions from pedal steel wiz Darick Campbell and a tender “Sing About It” with Susan Tedeschi among the backing vocalists. Up next was a take on Albert King’s “Oh Pretty Woman” led by Cy Young award winner and badass guitarist Jake Peavy. Guitarists Brandon “Taz” Niederauer and Ben Jernigan, keyboardist Ike Stubblefield drummer Yonrico Scott and former Zappa band member Denny Walley were among those who backed Peavy. Walley had the honors of fronting the same group of musicians on “Shake Your Hips.”
The evening continued on with three songs featuring longtime Hampton collaborator Rev. Jeff Mosier, John Popper of Blues Traveler, Leftover Salmon’s Drew Emmitt and Vince Herman, bassist Kevin Scott, keyboardist Matt Slocum and the double drummer attack of Duane Trucks and Jeff Sipe. First up was Taj Mahal’s “She Caught The Katy” sung by Popper, followed by Emmitt leading “Working On A Building” and Rev. Jeff belting out “Be Proud Of The Grey In Your Hair.”
After the stage was cleared, a band of Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, his Hard Working Americans band mate Todd Snider on vocals, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and drummer Duane Trucks treated fans to Snider’s “Play A Train Song.” T. Hardy Morris then emerged to replace Snider and front the Athens all-star troupe on Vic Chesnutt’s “Stupid Preoccupations.” Both Morris and Snider were on-stage for Kevn Kinney’s contribution of “When You Come Back” from his Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ band.
The next segment of the concert saw Allman Brothers Band/Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell step into the spotlight. Leavell was joined by Phish drummer Jon Fishman, KDTU/Rolling Stones saxophonist Karl Denson, Schools, Buck and Sipe on “Rip This Joint.” Warren Haynes then was added to the mix as well as Stubblefield for a rollicking “Compared To What” and a blistering “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.” One of the many highlights of the evening came next as Haynes led Fishman, Denson, Schools, Leavell, Duane Trucks and the horn section on Frank Zappa’s “Trouble Every Day.” Fishman and Duane Trucks engaged in a drum duet that was so powerful, the two men couldn’t help but embrace each other after the Zappa cover concluded.
Speaking of highlights, Leavell’s biggest contribution to The Allman Brothers Band is the iconic piano solo at the heart of “Jessica.” Derek Trucks came out for a “Jessica” that saw him trade licks with his old ABB band mate Warren Haynes, featured Leavell performing his signature solo and included a brief foray into “Mountain Jam.” The show rolled on when Widespread Panic’s John Bell and Jimmy Herring emerged for a well-jammed “Time Is Free” that also featured the Trucks brothers (Fishman stepped off at this point), Sipe, Schools, Leavell and Slocum. Bell then took it down a notch leading the same ensemble on “Trondossa” before Tedeschi entered the fray to sing “Smokestack Lightning.”
Tedeschi stuck around to sing Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Don’t Cry No More” backed by the Trucks brothers, a horn section, TTB drummer Tyler Greenwell, Bell, Herring, Schools, Leavell and Slocum. Col. Bruce Hampton then returned to the stage and wouldn’t depart until the tragic moments during the finale. Hampton was in fine form on a number of songs that were staples of his live sets: “Basically Frightened,” “Fixin’ To Die,” “Space Is The Place” and “I’m So Glad.” Col. Bruce brought 88-year-old pianist Johnny Knapp with him and Knapp took an impressive solo during “Basically Frightened” that included a round of “Happy Birthday To You.”
Hampton’s “I’m So Glad” featured Duane Trucks and Fishman on drums, Haynes on lead guitar and Rev. Jeff Mosier on banjo. Bruce seemed so happy and incredibly honored to be surrounded by so many loved ones. The stage was cleared to get ready for the evening’s finale. Nearly all of the concert’s performers emerged for an encore that started with Sipe leading some Zambi madness including the use of cue cards to direct the ensemble. The final cue card he used said “Turn On Your Lovelight” and with that the assembled musicians began the Bobby “Blue” Bland tune the Col. enjoyed performing so much. The final moments were documented here and soon Col. Bruce Hampton would depart this physical world. However, his death came at the end of a night that contained a bevy of incredible moments. Let us not forget what a magical concert Hampton 70 was.
Full Show Audio (Taped by Dillon Fries)
Videos (Captured by Pat Hatcher)
Set: There Was A Time, Postcards From Hell, Sing About It, Feelin’ Good, Oh Pretty Woman, Shake Your Hips, She Caught The Katy, Working On A Building, Be Proud Of The Grey In Your Hair, Play A Train Song, Stupid Preoccupations, When You Come Back, Rip This Joint, Compared To What, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl > Trouble Every Day, Jessica, Time Is Free, Trondossa, Smokestack Lightning > Don’t Cry No More, Basically Frightened, Fixin’ To Die, Space Is The Place, I’m So Glad
Encore: Zambi > Turn On Your Lovelight