They did reappear for an encore, however, with a little help from an ABB friend, guitarist Warren Haynes. They caught the audience off-guard by playing the more laid-back version of the Beatles’ “Revolution” heard on The White Album. A crowd-band sing-along ensued, but it was the musical equivalent of Muhammad Ali’s possum-playing “rope-a-dope” trick.
RatDog cast a very mellow spell before they walked off
the stage. The majority of the audience could very well have been
scared-stiff extras on the set of the Vincent Price spook flick House of Wax,
except the burning joints hanging from the lips of several audience
members too halcyon to inhale luckily melted not a face. It just
collectively thawed the crowd’s physical ambition down to a puddle of
bong-water listlessness, as usual.
The ABB were in on this, as they played
the first two songs sequenced on their eponymous 1970 debut LP. The
swift tempo of the bottleneck-infused “Don’t Want You No More” segued
into the whiskey-soaked blues of “It’s Not My Cross To Bear,” igniting
a euphonic Molotov cocktail that seemed to incinerate every seat in the
house. Hardly anybody sat down the rest of the night after the ABB
landed its first punch.
From there, they went head first into “Statesboro Blues” off their 1971 At Fillmore East,
which often tops lists as the best “live” album of all time, and also
the vinyl that distinguished original ABB guitarist Duane Allman as the
“white Jimi Hendrix.” Unfortunately, Duane met his fate in a motorcycle
accident three months after the album was released. But 29-year-old Derek Trucks, son of original drummer Butch Trucks,
who still bangs with the band, does a better-than-admirable job of
caressing the strings in the slide-guitar style Duane was lauded for
during his many solos on the night.
Three out of the six original ABB members remain. Duane’s brother, bleached-blond, blue-eyed Greg Allman,
still plays the Hammond B-3 organ and sings with as much soul as any
non-ABB brother that’s ever been miked at Stax or Motown studios. The
aforementioned elder Trucks is another original Bro, while second
percussionist and human alliteration, Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson, has kept the time tight and beat funky since the band’s inception.
Oteil Burbridge currently fills in the bottom end
of original bassist Berry Oakley, who, in a strange twist of fate,
perished almost exactly a year to the day in a motorcycle accident
three blocks away from where Duane’s occurred. Marc Quinones
adds a third element of percussion, while the aforementioned Haynes
complements Trucks’ slide guitar with lead and rhythm riffs. Together,
this band is arguably the hardest-working and finest set of musicians
currently touring the United States.
Other highlights from the night included “Les Bres in A-Minor” and the Elmore James blues rollick, “One Way Out,” from Eat a Peach,
the final album that all original ABB members played on. And not to be
outdone by RatDog’s cover of “Revolution,” the ABB responded with a
rendition of The Band’s take-a-load-off number, “The Weight.”
Afterward, Weir joined the ABB on stage for the first time this tour
and led them through a funk-dripping run-through of the 1974 Dead tune
“Franklin’s Tower,” creating a synergism of the past with the present,
leaving the circle unbroken and forever revolving.
Greg Allman: The Allman Brothers Band took on C-Mac last month. MD photo