Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, August 2
The concert in August of 2005 at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, Ontario proved to me once again that the Allman Brothers Band rate right up there as one of the greatest live bands in the world today! I cannot begin to explain to you how together and harmonious these guys were on stage. There were times that it seemed like utter chaos for a few seconds before perfectly rejoining their rhythmic grooves together in the sphere of sound that washed across the shores of Lake Ontario with forceful precision.
Three percussionists, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe on 2 full sets of drums and Marc Quinones on a wide array of percussion instruments at the rear of center stage. Two guitarists, Derek Trucks and Jack Pearson (who filled in for Warren Haynes), both of whom switched between rhythm and lead. The indispensable bass player, Oteil Burbridge laid down a thick vessel of sound that transported the rest of the band through song after song with his lead-like bass work. The band was also adorned with a saxophone player and a keyboard player on the right side of the stage to accent Gregg Allman's piano and keyboard artistry stage left.
The band was inundated with the constant barrage of sweet smelling smoke wafting up from the main floor as if to hug them in adoration. There were visions of Duane and Dickey in the lush harmonies pouring toward us as well as in the duo's resemblance to those that once were the basis of the ABB of old.
I'm glad I stumbled across that announcement in the news paper or I would have missed this event. Do not allow the opportunity to pass you if you get the chance to see the Allman Brothers Band. I wasn't timing it, but the drum trio took at least 30 minutes before Oteil joined in for his spanking solo. The four of them engaged in a trading off of leads that resembled an audio version of hot potato. As this spectacle was reaching the 40 minute mark they were joined by the clean sounds of the sassy shuffle strum on the Gibson, compliments of Mr. Pearson. Derek Trucks on the Fender Stratocaster, slid in from on high to allow everyone witnessing this angelic free-for-all to float aimlessly above our seats. That's when Gregg brought it all together with his Rhodes rhythm to musically call us gently back to earth. Everyone was looking around at their neighbors in amazement with what was just shared with us.
In all honesty, I have never witnessed a show like this before and I've seen quite a few excellent shows. It was a spiritual event that will stay with me as the template of greatness that all other entertainment activities will be measured. In a matter of that handful of words that speaks volumes, it doesn't get any better than this.
Added: Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Reviewer: Rick Kollar