When you go see a band like the Allman Brothers, a band that plays with effortless technical proficiency, it is easy to make the assumption that you will hear excellent music. There is no doubt about that. But it would be a wide misconception to believe that the music will not be tinged with passion. Even with several dates at the Beacon Theatre, The Allman Brothers vary set-lists and demonstrate true fervent blues playing, without jeopardizing what made them a great band in the first place, pure talent.
The Beacon Theatre is a perfect venue for the Brothers. It maintains the feel of an old city playhouse with its intricate wall designs and large statues. The venue shoots you back in time. The vintage playhouse juxtaposed wonderfully with the Allman Brothers ode to blues that became a pervasive force in Tuesday night’s set-list.
The concert began with “Statesboro Blues,” a blues staple written by Blind Willie McTell turned into a huge Allman Brothers hit. The band came out immediately on fire with a wall-of-sound that combined Gregg Allman‘s voice with the three-man percussion brigade and Trucks and Haynes’ guitar work.
This was my first time seeing the Allman Brothers and I was unsure how Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes balanced the skill that both have. Haynes played rhythm for most of the night, but shared some solos with Derek on extended jams. Haynes’ voice never tired through the show, which was good because Gregg Allman faded as the show went on.
Allman’s lack of participation in the show was my only complaint. He sat behind the piano/keyboard for the entirety of the show and sang only a few times. Allman does have the best voice of the bunch. When he did call and response with Haynes, Allman won the vocal chops battle. Luckily, Allman picked an excellent band to support him, and they did for the majority of the show.
The band played nine songs during the first set, including a jazzy rendition of “The Weight” which included Steve Molitz on keys and Rich Robinson on guitar. Molitz, for those who don’t remember, was actually featured on this blog before with his side project Headtronics. He is an excellent keyboard player and it was awesome to see him live. (Check out that post here: http://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/open-your-mind-for-headtronics/)
A classic rendition of Dylan’s “Blind Willie McTell” dominated the first set. It was not only an ode to a favorite blues musician, but, it displayed the wide range of musical talent that the band shares. Joining the Allman Brothers on stage was the Juke Horns, a group of talented horn players. They provided a wave of sound that complimented the backbone guitar riff. It was a bluesy rendition that blew the top off the Beacon.
The jams were on target all night and Trucks did an excellent job leading guests into solos and then whipping them at the solo game. During a lengthy jam, Trucks paired himself against Haynes and guest guitarist Tom Guarna in a three-way guitar duel, that Trucks won hands down. He is an astounding slide guitarist and a worthy successor to Duane Allman, who was honored along with Berry Oakley at the closing visual slideshow.
By the way, Derek Trucks totally teased “Norwegian Wood” in his solo for “Jessica” which was hilarious and awesome.