Dave Grohl & Eric Church Help Warren Haynes Close Out Christmas Jam 30 In Asheville
Asheville, North Carolina usually averages 12 inches of snow a year, which gives an idea of how unusual it is that one storm alone could bring over eight inches of snow to the area. Yet for the second year in a row, a major snowstorm came through Asheville during Warren Haynes’ Christmas Jam that left the city a beautiful but treacherous mess. However, the show went on at the U.S. Cellular Center on Saturday for the second of two nights (first night recap here) that formed the 30th Annual Warren Haynes Presents The Christmas Jam to benefit the Asheville area Habitat For Humanity.
The tradition started when Warren rounded up a group of his musical friends to play the long-defunct Asheville club 45 Cherry in late-1988 just weeks before he received a call to join The Allman Brothers Band. Haynes opened the action on Saturday by performing with a number of those musicians who took part in the first Christmas Jam. The guitarist noted the group would simply be called the 45 Cherry Band. Warren, Mike Barnes, Rocky Lindsley, Jim Mascari and Johnny Jump went with “Just Before The Bullets Fly” to kick off the brief set. Haynes co-wrote the song for Gregg Allman’s 1988 album of the same name. Next, Jeff Anders swapped in for Mike Barnes on a gorgeous cover of U2’s “One.” Philip Ashley then came aboard for one of Warren Haynes’ signature songs, “Soulshine.”
Warren moved over to the side of the stage while the main portion was changed over for Joe Bonamassa’s set. The host performed a solo electric rendition of “The Real Thing.” Haynes stuck around to accompany Bonamassa on Joe’s “If Heartaches Were Nickels.” Joe Bonamassa then headed over to the main stage where his band was waiting for him. The blues-rock guitarist and his talented ensemble reeled off one cover after another including Jeff Beck’s “Beck’s Bolero”/“Rice Pudding,” Cream’s “SWLABR” and Led Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times.” Bonamassa noted how happy he was to participate after having to miss the 2016 event due to illness. He also mentioned it was the band’s 112th and last performance of 2018.
Christmas Jam regular Edwin McCain kept the music going by starting up his own “I’ve Seen A Love” on the side stage just after the conclusion of Bonamassa’s set. Kevn Kinney came out to perform Drivin’ N Cryin’ staple “Friend Song” before Haynes returned to augment the pair on “I Shall Be Released.” Warren explained that Kevn and Edwin have played the event more than anyone else besides him. The guitarist noted that while they’ve often performed “I Shall Be Released,” they just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to cover the song together at the 30th annual Christmas Jam. Asheville’s own Tyler Ramsey continued the music on the side stage while the main stage was turned over. Ramsey performed the pretty “1000 Blackbirds” and then teamed with Jimmy Vivino for George Harrison’s “Isn’t It A Pity.” The former Band Of Horses guitarist seemed pleasantly surprised to see Vivino emerge from the wings to join him and had a huge smile when Jimmy added a portion of “Hey Jude” to the end of “Isn’t It A Pity.”
My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James was up next on the main stage. While Jim has been focusing on solo shows over the past few months, he reunited his solo band for the Christmas Jam set. The group put its attention on numbers from Uniform Distortion including “Just A Fool,” “You Get To Rome,” “No Secrets” and “No Use Waiting” and “Over & Over.” James ended the set with the pairing of “A New Life” and “State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.) from 2013’s Regions Of Light And Sound Of God.
British blues-rock guitarist/vocalist Joanne Shaw Taylor fronted a band featuring drummer Rocky Lindsley and bassist Johnny Jump on her own “No Reason To Stay” back on the side stage. The trio then slayed Joanne’s “Time Has Come.” Shaw Taylor’s fretboard theatrics were on display over the course of both songs as well as the “Goin’ Down” (Freddie King) finale.
One of the more unusual sets in Christmas Jam history came next, as Dave Grohl led the debut performance of his “Play” suite. Grohl was on drums, while producer Greg Kurstin was on keys, Foo Fighters collaborator Chris Chaney played bass, Drew Hester handled percussion duties and Barrett Jones, Jason Falkner and Alain Johannes gave the song its triple-guitar attack. The newly-formed band nailed Dave’s complex composition and expanded it ever so slightly before vacating the stage.
Gov’t Mule drummer Matt Abts led a rare Planet of the Abts set with guitarist T-Bone Anderson and Mule bassist Jorgen Carlsson on the side stage next. North Carolina’s own Eric Church continued the action on the main stage. Church performed a few songs solo acoustic including “Desparate Man” and “Record Year” before he was backed by a band that featured Warren Haynes and Audley Freed on guitar. Eric focused on covers for the full band portion of the set such as The Allman Brothers Band’s “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City,” the blues standard “Diddy Wah Diddy” and “The Weight” by The Band.
A surprise moment followed on the side stage as Dave Grohl teamed with Warren Haynes for a duet on the Foo Fighters classic “Times Like These.” Grohl then performed perhaps his signature song, “Everlong.” After a few minutes, the side stage was reset for Vivino and Freed to lead the Xmas Jam House Band on Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home.” Kevn Kinney then emerged for a rendition of “Underground Umbrella” that featured a few The Who teases within.
Gov’t Mule brought the 30th annual Christmas Jam to a conclusion with a guest-filled set. The quartet took the stage with Grohl for a triumphant cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” featuring a bit of Band Of Gypsys’ “Machine Gun” in the middle. Mule then went at it alone for “Thorazine Shuffle” and “Revolution Come, Revolution Go.” Vocalists Machan Taylor and Mini Carlsson contributed to “Million Mile From Yesterday” and “Dreams & Songs.” The night ended with Barnes and Ron Holloway adding to “Red Baron” and Freed and Holloway assisting on “Mule.”
Gov’t Mule w/ Dave Grohl – Rockin’ In The Free World
Eric Church – Desperate Man
Jim James – Just A Fool
Joe Bonamassa – Beck’s Bolero/Rice Pudding
Warren Haynes & 45 Cherry Band – Just Before The Bullets Fly
Warren Hayes – The Real Thing captured by rohbear1
Warren Haynes & Joe Bonamassa – If Heartaches Were Nickels captured by rohbear1
Joe Bonamassa – Spanish Boots captured by rohbear1
Gov’t Mule – Thorazine Shuffle captured by rohbear1
Warren Haynes & 45 Cherry Band
Set: Just Before The Bullets Fly (Mike Barnes, Rocky Lindsley, Jim Mascari, Johnny Jump), One (Rocky Lindsley, Jim Mascari, Jeff Anders, Johnny Jump), Soulshine (Rocky Lindsley, Jim Mascari, Jack Mascari, Philip Ashley)
Set: The Real Thing, If Heartaches Were Nickels (w/ Joe Bonamassa)
Set: Beck’s Bolero > Rice Pudding, Spanish Boots, SWLABR, I Can’t Quit You Baby > How Many More Times
Set: I’ve Seen A Love, Friend Song (w/ Kevn Kinney), I Shall Be Released (w/ Kevn Kinney & Warren Haynes)
Set: 1000 Blackbirds, Isn’t It A Pity (w/ Jimmy Vivino)
Set: Just A Fool, Throwback, You Get To Rome, Here In Spirit, Over & Over, No Use Waiting, No Secrets, A New Life > State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.)
Joanne Shaw Taylor, Rocky Lindsley & Johnny Jump
Set: No Reason To Stay, Time Has Come, Going Down
Planet Of The Abts
Set: Off The Hook, I’m Telling You, Children Of The Revolution
Set: Desperate Man, Record Year, Carolina, Smoke A Little Smoke, Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More, Atlantic City, Diddy Wah Diddy, The Weight
Set: Times Like These (w/ Warren Haynes), Everlong
Xmas Jam House Band
Set: Can’t Find My Way Home, Underground Umbrella,
Set: Rockin’ In The Free World (w/ Dave Grohl) > Machine Gun Jam (w/ Dave Grohl) > Rockin’ In The Free World (w/ Dave Grohl), Thorazine Shuffle, Revolution Come Revolution Go, Million Miles From Yesterday (w/ Machan Taylor & Mini Carlsson), Dreams & Songs (w/ Machan Taylor & Mini Carlsson), Red Baron (w/ Mike Barnes & Ron Holloway), Mule (w/ Audley Freed & Ron Holloway)