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Sublime Peach





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  posted on 8/15/2007 at 07:43 PM
I attended a classic rock concert and
lived to tell about it
By Chris Cooper
for the Smoky Mountain News


So, answer me this: how many people, artists especially, can maintain a vital career for 38 years and counting? Musically speaking, how many of them could possibly continue performing material from their first few albums and still manage to find new places to go with it, new colors and interpretations even after countless lineup changes, deaths, drug debacles and all manner of inner turmoil, let alone the multitude of cultural climate shifts that inevitably come with doing anything for nearly 40 years?

OK, before you guys engage in hours of pointless bickering over these questions, here’s the answer we’re looking for — the Allman Brothers Band. Lauded (blamed?) as the creators of “southern rock,” inspiration to countless Les Paul wielding, slide-bearing noodlers, keepers of the “10-minute guitar solos really ARE cool as long as they go somewhere” flame. Gregg Allman and band have staked a claim so deep into the heart of southern consciousness that I’d bet some of us were born with the melody to “Jessica” flitting around in our minds. Either that or we were merely subjected to copious amounts of classic rock radio in our formative years. Probably both.

So on the hottest day of the year — or what felt like it — I hitched a ride to Verizon Amphitheater in Charlotte for the first of a little two-night caravan to catch the Brothers live and up close. At least, as up close as lawn seats will allow. Stumbling tie-dyed college kids, aging hippies with little soon-to-be hippies in tow, yuppies and rednecks were all well represented — a veritable cornucopia of down-home culture.

Expensive beer, sweltering heat and bad fried foods are all good reasons to stay away from summer shows like this, I know. But since it had been nearly nine years since I witnessed the band, combined with the fact that all those reasons mentioned above could be construed as good things with a little nudging (an ice cream sandwich, a funnel cake and a giant vat of Sierra Nevada for $20? Sounds like a deal to me!), I was more than happy to make my way through the dusty parking lot, the giant inflatable WRFX fox and overzealous ticket checkers to find a nice spot in the grass for a few hours.

Having seen the Allmans three times in the mid- to late-90’s, it wasn’t until now that it became clear just what a shaky period it must’ve been for the band. One year had original member Dickey Betts joined by Warren Haynes, with Allen Woody on bass. The next time Haynes was noticeably absent, replaced by Jack Pearson. Bass wonder Oteil Burbridge took permanent residence on the low end after the death of Woody, but then the next year had Betts (soon to be ousted for good) sharing the stage with a fire-breathing young slide virtuoso named Derek Trucks, who wasted no time in revitalizing the guitar section with revelatory slide playing second to only one person — Duane Allman.

This little history lesson has a point: the band was obviously going through some serious changes, and though the performances were often stunning, the future was a tad fuzzy for many fans, and possibly the group itself.

No longer. Haynes and Trucks now have control over the jams, the rhythm section is solid and Gregg Allman actually seems to be having a good time, with a voice that easily gives away his years, but in a good, good way. The Charlotte show, though still early in the summer tour itinerary, could be summed up in one word: furious. I dare any musician to leave a show like this in any state but a little stunned and immensely inspired. Haynes and Trucks have the uncanny ability to ignite a conflagration of six-stringed lunacy at the drop of a hat, both are immediately identifiable soloists in their own right, and they know how to raise the intensity level even when, as a listener, you’re sure it just couldn’t possibly get any more... well, intense.

Sharing vocal duties with Allman, Haynes positively ripped a new hole in “Rocking Horse,” and “I Walk On Gilded Splinters” rocked with a funk and swagger that can only come from a band that knows itself inside and out. Haynes especially upped his personal ante time and again, singing and playing with deep soul and a gorgeous tone on every tune, sometimes even out-shining the always-striking fretboard histrionics of Derek Trucks — no easy feat.

And yes, the Drive By Truckers opened both shows. That’s all I really have to say about that.

With temperatures a good 15 degrees cooler than the previous night’s, the concert at Walnut Creek Amphitheater in Raleigh was much calmer overall, possibly because of a rather subdued audience and the fact that you just can’t play with the abandon of Charlotte’s performance every single night. This time Trucks grabbed the wheel for the most part, and took songs like “Dreams” and “Mountain Jam” to the kinds of places only he can go. Summoning equal parts Duane, Coltrane and India into his soloing, Trucks has crafted one of the most singular and powerful new voices in slide guitar — and the guy’s only 28 years old.

Even the prerequisite guests invited to “sit in” sometimes had a hard time figuring out how to add to the situation, as evidenced by JJ Grey’s gracious and head-shaking stage exit in “Smokestack Lightning” when he realized Trucks and Haynes both stomped the song’s gas pedal halfway through and were fearlessly heading into parts known only by their fingers, hearts and ears.

The rhythm section? Brilliant. The song choices? Great — and you’ve got to expect them to launch into a few staples every now and again, like “Midnight Rider” and “Melissa,” even if only to appease fans whose heads they flew over with the meltdown level jams that made up the larger part of the set. The venues? Well, they’re big. Yep.

But the music? I don’t want to hear any whining ... and I know what kind it will be. “Oh, those tunes are old and so is the band,” or “Aaaargh! Southern rock! Oh, the agony of it all!” and so on. Bull. You can’t blame the Allman Brothers for Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special and the rest of the classic rock dreck polluting the airwaves out there. From the start, the Allmans put the music at the forefront with impeccably crafted dual guitar harmonies, expansive arrangements and deep roots in the best parts of southern music — be it blues, N’awlins strut, country tinged balladry or straight from the gut rock and roll. And all these years later these are the elements that keep fans coming back and continue turning new ears by the minute, not nostalgia or the milking of the “reunion tour” cow — because these guys never went away.

So you’ll have to pardon me while I go dig out a copy of Live At Fillmore East and enjoy it with freshly inspired (though still gently ringing) ears. I’d encourage you all to do the same.

Smoky Mountain News, Western North Carolina's source for News, Arts and Outdoor Information

http://www.smokymountainnews.com/issues/08_07/08_15_07/art_ inreview.html

 

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Sublime Peach



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  posted on 8/15/2007 at 07:44 PM
Virtuosos Trucks, Haynes reignite Allman Bros. fire
By Jed Gottlieb
Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - Updated: 12:17 AM EST

http://theedge.bostonherald.com/musicNews/view.bg?articleid=1015903


It’s not what Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes can do, it’s what they can do together.
At last night’s Allman Brothers Band show at Bank of America Pavilion, the two guitar phenoms parlayed their telepathic chemistry into a series of Homeric jams that came close to rivaling the collaborations of the band’s original axmen, Duane Allman and Dickie Betts.

Like the legendary Allman-Bettspartnership, Trucks and Haynes don’t duel, nor does one guitarist play second fiddle to the other. Think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, not Batman and Robin.

Even on the Allmans’ most mediocre songs, many of which filled the group’s first set including “Every Hungry Woman,” “Soulshine” and “Revival,” the pair’s licks and long solos buoyed the tunes into near masterpieces.

Although Trucks and Haynes have been playing together on and off for more than a decade, it’s been only recently that their alliance has turned Gregg Allman into a sideman in the band he’s fronted for four decades. Even since last year’s Tweeter Center stop, Trucks and Haynes have honed what makes their tag team smackdown of virtuosity so awesome - their differences.

On “Woman Across the River,” Haynes and his contorted expression stepped out for some scorching, straight blues that Freddie King would dig. On “Statesboro Blues,” Trucks infused the twelve bar with a whiteout of frenzied notes all while standing perfectly still looking like a peaceful Buddha. And then when the two traded riffs or climbed on top of each other and crushed the crowd with their doubled yet distinctive onslaughts, it was even better.

While old guys Allman and founding drummers Jaimoe Johanson and Butch Trucks (Derek’s uncle) still do a decent job of keeping up, it was a night for the young guys - and gal. Derek Trucks’ wife, Boston’s own Susan Tedeschi, joined the band on a couple of songs, singing Derek and the Dominos’ “Anyday” and later adding wickedly cruel telecaster licks. (Yes, the couple have kids, but no word on whether any of them will be the Second Coming of Hendrix.)

The show had a few down moments and could have used more of the Allmans’ marquee songs and more action from underused, superbassist Oteil Burbridge. But that’s why the band’s playing a pair of Boston dates; Every new gig is another chance for Trucks and Haynes, and with luck, Burbridge and Tedeschi, to retrofit Allmans’ standards for the next generation.


Photo by Marge http://yarmarge.typepad.com/yarmarge/




[Edited on 8/16/2007 by Angelemerald]

 

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  posted on 8/15/2007 at 07:48 PM
thanks for posting

[Edited on 8/16/2007 by dadof2boys]

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 8/15/2007 at 07:51 PM
That first article was awesome. thanks for posting.
 

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  posted on 8/15/2007 at 07:54 PM
You're welcome. I think the one about the Boston show was posted already. If there are others, please feel free to add them to the thread. Ang

 

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  posted on 8/15/2007 at 08:03 PM
Great stuff, especially the 1st article.
 

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  posted on 8/15/2007 at 08:40 PM
Finally someone who "GETS IT" [Chris Cooper]
 

Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 8/15/2007 at 08:44 PM
you notice derek has been sporting the plaid the past few monthes
 

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  posted on 8/15/2007 at 08:49 PM
Thanks for the articles. Great to hear.

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 06:58 AM
Thanks a lot for posting these! I too enjoy the first one. The guy got basically everything right on (from my perspective). I'm so glad he recognizes the talent today. I also like his description of Warren and Derek, a nice use of adjectives.
 

True Peach



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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 07:21 AM
Great reads, thanks Angela!!

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 07:34 AM
We've been saying this stuff for years.

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 07:49 AM
Great read. Something tells me Chris Cooper will be attending a few more shows soon.............does this sound familiar to anyone?
 

Peach Master



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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 07:58 AM
DON'T FORGET TO CHECK MY MINI-REVIEW OF THE ABB IN BOSTON: PEOPLE CAN YOU FEEL IT http://www.yarmarge.com
(That image used in The Herald article is mine! )

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 09:22 AM
Music Review: Vintage jams from the Allman Brothers and Ratdog
Thursday, August 16, 2007

By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh doesn't have its own summer jam-band festival where the hippies can congregate like All Good or Jerry Fest.

Instead, we skimmed the cream off the top with a pair of artists who invented the genre: the Allman Brothers Band and Bob Weir & Ratdog. If Jerry Garcia were still alive, the bill would have been flipped for sure, but there was Weir in the opening slot at the Post-Gazette Pavilion Wednesday night, going on at the dinner hour of 6:30 p.m.

It's been long enough for most of the T-shirts on the fans to reflect the post-Garcia era. There were plenty of tie-dyed shirts of Ratdog or just The Dead twirling on the lawn. Weir, sporting a grey beard and Wilfred Brimley moustache, drew most of his set from the Grateful Dead's heyday. In fact, with "Casey Jones" on board, along with "Uncle John's Band" and "Touch of Grey," it was practically a greatest hits show.

They started with "The Music Never Stopped," an endlessly funky jam that grooved along on a loop for guitarist Steve Kimock to take off on spidery, Garcia-like flights. The wah-wah funk of "Estimated Prophet" provided a similar launching point for a spirited free-form jam.

Weir mixed it up with "Mama Tried" in the cowboy slot, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" in the Dylan slot and a slow, pretty "Peggy-O" that could make you shed a tear for Jerry. When they got to "Throwing Stones," around sunset, and around the time the drugs and alcohol seemed to kicking in, there was a glow over the entire scene, with people dancing and spinning all over the lawn. One of those perfect moments.

The Allmans have much more of a presence on classic rock radio, but chose not to indulge that aspect of the band. They spent a lot of years in the latter Dickie Betts days playing the same set night after night. Now, the Allmans are spontaneous and unpredictable, with a vast repertoire that Wednesday night include lesser-known gems like "Rocking Horse" and "Desdemona."

Of course, with guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks at center stage, they could make something out of the Wiggles catalog. The song is just there to set up the dueling guitar jam, driven by Gregg Allman's funky organ work and the three powerhouse drummers in the back. The band's m.o. is an intricately constructed solo by the little dog, Trucks, usually with a slide in there somewhere, followed by the big dog, Haynes, grinding on the strings with tremendous fury. On every solo, every song. When handed the ball, they make the most of it.

As if two of the best guitarists in the world weren't enough, the Allmans brought out a third weapon in blues slinger Susan Tedeschi. The highlight of the set may have been her dead-perfect duet with bassist Oteil Burbridge on the Derek and the Dominoes' classic "Anyday." She also took the reins and showed what a girl can do with a savage solo on her own blues song.

Gregg faded into the background somewhat in this show, and even sounded a bit frail on the acoustic Melissa. From the greatest hits, the Allmans threw in "Midnight Rider" and "One Way Out," but the centerpiece proved to be "Mountain Jam," which set up the bass and drum solos and boogied out of it.

In all, it was four solid hours of vintage jam from the some of the guys (and girls) who do it best.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07228/809976-388.stm

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 09:24 AM
quote:
DON'T FORGET TO CHECK MY MINI-REVIEW OF THE ABB IN BOSTON: PEOPLE CAN YOU FEEL IT http://www.yarmarge.com

(That image used in The Herald article is mine! )


Thanks Marge. I'll put your info near it. BTW, your reviews are always great. :-)

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 09:49 AM
Thanks for posting, Angela.....good stuff
 
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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 09:55 AM
I love it all. great reviews.

I will add, the most under mentioned member. Marc Quinones. He is one of the best too.

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 10:06 AM
"Of course, with guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks at center stage, they could make something out of the Wiggles catalog."

My favorite new quote!!!!!

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 10:22 AM
Thanks for sharing these, Angela! Great reviews! Love this quote:

quote:
Even the prerequisite guests invited to “sit in” sometimes had a hard time figuring out how to add to the situation, as evidenced by JJ Grey’s gracious and head-shaking stage exit in “Smokestack Lightning” when he realized Trucks and Haynes both stomped the song’s gas pedal halfway through and were fearlessly heading into parts known only by their fingers, hearts and ears.
Look out!

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 10:56 AM
great stuff, angel, and thanks for posting. I already forwarded to some friends. I thought Chris Cooper's writing really captured the excitement and fire that the current lineup generates onstage.

 

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