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Author: Subject: The ABB's Current Sound...

Extreme Peach





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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 03:22 PM
Hey everyone! I think this is the first time I've created my own topic here... Anyway, I've been thinking about this for a while now, and I wanted to see what some of you thought. - One thing I've noticed with the band since the return of Warren is that sometimes, live and on live tapes, you can hear the band really cooking but the intensity level seems very low comparatively to previous years. And it's really an oxy-moran in that I'll hear the band building up the intensity, but I don't FEEL it building. This seems apparent a lot more in Warren's solos. (I think because in the 90's his solos got same damn intense) So I started to think that maybe, I'm just a complete idiot. - But then I started noticing when I was actually at the shows that, although the live mix has been better than ever, but I was just not hearing certain things, especially if I'm farther back in the theater (which I usually am). - But now that I hear a beautifully mixed completely live music from the current lineup, I think I figured out what I'm referring to. I think since they brought the overall volume down over the past 3 years, that if you're not in the right spot, although you're hearing every instrument, you're not feeling the band as a whole. - The DVD reveals that the band still has the intesnity of the Warren/Woody 90's era & the groove-based jazz feel of the Pearson/Burbridge era wrapped up with the overall feel of the Duane/Dickey era, while still managing to find room to have it's own feel. This could possibly be the first time the band has been that diverse. Just a thought...
 
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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 03:42 PM
Well, I think some of it has to do with Derek and Otiel replacing Dickey and Woody...

Derek & Otiel, as their own bands show, are jazz players above all else. For them, intricacy and dynamic is important above all else... Dickey and Woody were, first and foremost, rock players, with a penchant for crunch and drive.

You can decide on your own who is better and worse, but the "intensity" issue needn't go any further. When Allen Woody is driving the band, you're damned right it's going to be intense.

 

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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 03:50 PM
Yes, the Woody factor. They will probably never be as consistantly intense as they were with Woody.

Sbowen makes some great points too.

So I guess it might not be a volume issue at all. I don't know. - Either way this particular lineup is astonishing.

 

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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 03:52 PM
quote:
Derek & Otiel, as their own bands show, are jazz players above all else. For them, intricacy and dynamic is important above all else... Dickey and Woody were, first and foremost, rock players, with a penchant for crunch and drive.

You can decide on your own who is better and worse, but the "intensity" issue needn't go any further. When Allen Woody is driving the band, you're damned right it's going to be intense.


I would very much agree with this statement. I would also add that I think that Dickey's style of "building" a solo is more dramatic and woven very carefully, whereas Warren has a tendency to quickly go into an overdrive on his solos. If there is one thing that Dickey did as well as any guitarist I have ever seen, it is that...the dramatic buildup of a solo.

 

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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 03:52 PM
At Atlanta and Charlotte, I was hanging on the lawn with friends and I could not feel the band at all. Went to my seats near the stage and the band enveloped me big time. Amazing the difference.

 

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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 03:59 PM
Goliath! Yes, I guess that's what I mean. I never thought about it from a bigger venue standpoint. I guess that same kind of thing can happen at a theater show. - Thanks, I needed to hear that.
 

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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 04:03 PM
There's no doubt that the party at HI-Fi's is on the lawn. But as far as hearing the music goes, when you're on the lawn you're practically outside of the venue looking in.

 

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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 04:10 PM
No doubt about Dickey, Jonesy... He once described his solos as "mini-instrumentals", and that's definitely in line with what you said...

I think Dickey is at his absolute best on "Shades of Two Worlds"... Just listen to his solos on "Nobody Knows" and "Kind of Bird"... Unreal!

 

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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 04:35 PM
I was just listening to the FILLMORE album and thinking how inspired Dickey sounds on "You Don't Love Me" particularly the end of his little guitar/drum duet thing towards the end...
 

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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 05:02 PM
> The ABB's Current Sound...

I like it!

...Never have been much of a lawn or balcony person. I like to be within 20 rows. I like to hear some instruments "direct" from stage volume...not the PA. Lets face it, the vibe at a show is much better closer up as well. More hard-cores seem to be up front as opposed to the folks in thwe back who think Dickey or even Duane are still in the band.



.

[Edited on 9/24/2003 by EddieP]

 
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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 06:32 PM
quote:
> The ABB's Current Sound...

I like it!

...Never have been muck of a lawn or balcony person. I like to be within 20 rows. I like to hear some instruments "direct" from stage volume...not the PA. Lets face it, the vibe at a show is much better closer up as well. More hard-cores seem to be up front as opposed to the folks who think Dickey or even Duane are still in the band.


That's very funny. There are a lot of those people in back, trust me, I hear that all the time!

 

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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 07:22 PM
Don't we all PauliG...Don't we all!

The cluless (fans) have been talked about often in the forum. There are some funny stories for sure.

 
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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 08:44 PM
Okay, I have to drop my bomb on this thread. First off, Hi Fi Buys in Atl sucks big time. I had 18th row on the right side and it sounded awesome. Made several trips to the lawn and it was completely different....outside the venue is correct, from an earlier statement.

The 8-8-2003 Atl show blew me away so hard that I made a solo trip from Atlanta to catch them in Vegas at the 2,000 capacity Hard Rock. I have never taken a solo trip so far just to see a band......Vegas was not the reason. I was moved by this tour more than any other....there was just a strong cohesiveness (sp?) and it was f'ing awesome. I'm probably the loner on this issue but have seen them live since 1989.

IMHO, the band is smoking now more than ever before. The new album is agreeably the best since Eat A Peach....and the interaction of all the talent live just floored me this round. Warren's intensity is at even a higher level.....IMO. BUT, I was 18th row in Atl on his side and 5 people from stage on Oteil/Warren's side at the Hard Rock. Now as far as Allen Woody being the driving factor, I can't really say b/c I am not a musician. I consider Oteil "the God of bass".......but I am a huge CBH/ARU fan. Yes, I am very biased.

 

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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 10:09 PM
Listening recently to shows from 91. No doubt the band has really toned it down in the last few years. Warren sounds like a completely differant player. Just my opinion, but I liked his style more back then.
 
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  posted on 9/23/2003 at 10:26 PM
After the Red Rocks show, I couldn't agree less bocat. That stage was on fire all night. I DO have some shows that have a different "feel"; KC last year was more... "country" for lack of a better term (a look at the setlist gives some clue), but Dalls had much more of that "edge" I think you're looking for. Certainly 9/19/03 did, THAT'S for sure. Keep in mind that in the middle of July and August it gets goddam HOT under those stage lights, and none of these guys is getting any younger... unless it's Gregg, who sometimes sounds like he is.

 

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  posted on 9/24/2003 at 01:32 PM
"Nothing" has really been toned down...slightly lower volume has nothing really to do with the band being toned-down. The band is slightly Jazzier than they have ever been and thats a good thing. Also much more balanced...go back and listen to some audience tapes from 1997 or 1998 wher Dickey practically drowned out the great Jackie Pearson. Also, the lineup with Warren and Woody was simply LOUDER mainly because Woody was playing with over 3000 watts of power in his bass rig...I know that because I was just reading an old HTN magazine wher the sound guys were talking about that very subject...Oteil uses less than one-half the wattage tha Woody used to use. You simply don't need that much to be effective and be heard. Warren was also louder in the early-mid nineties because they were doing a lot of Mule dates in between and that got them used to playing that way.
The band right now is more intense, better balanced and simply mixed better than ever before. Hey, some of it is due to technology and experience too. Warren plays sweeter today, his riffs are more interesting and varied. His playing transformed some slightly because of playing with Phil Lesh where he had to play with a different feeling, phrasing and tone than ever before. One last point...Warren does play the 335 a lot lately which has a slight mellower and "pointed" tone that a Les Paul... All the changes have been positive ones...just listen to the results!

peace




[Edited on 9/24/2003 by EddieP]

[Edited on 9/24/2003 by EddieP]

 
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  posted on 9/24/2003 at 04:51 PM
Great thread and interesting observations by all. Interpretation of the music is subjective, of course, so it's not a matter of right and wrong. Based on 27 ABB shows since '92 in a variety of venues (Red Rocks, Shoreline, The Joint, Ogden Theatre, Greek Theatre, Starlight Bowl, Hospitality Point, etc etc) my observations are as follows:

1. The volume does seem to be turned down a bit these days. But just a bit. Unless I'm losing my hearing, which is entirely likely.

2. The instrumental segments can get very intense but they are not built the same as when Dickey was in the lineup. The soloing of the Betts era was more melodic, slower to develop, created more tension and reached higher heights in my opinion. That was Dickey's style and he rubbed off on his counterparts. These days, Haynes has a tendency to launch into rapid-fire solos more often than not. Trucks seems a bit more reserved and takes his time.

3. I have noticed on this tour that Haynes is repeating very similar riffs in multiple songs when his solos are hitting the peak - has anyone else observed this??

4. The current lineup is much more consistent and generous with respect to guest slots, and the tension is at its peak during these segments where they go "around the horn" with the soloing until everyone ends up going off at once.

5. From day one of joining the band, the most consistent inconsistency (!!) regarding Derek Trucks is his volume level - sometimes you hear him when he's soloing, sometimes you don't. What gives?

6. Oteil is one unbelievable bass player. If you listen to what this cat is pulling off throughout the shows it will twist your head around. Super bad. Now bring back some of that funky scat, please.

7. The one constant with this band is the percussion section. Amazing talent. Consummate professionals. What a tight unit. They really propel the rest of the band forward during the instrumentals. And any guitarist will tell you how important that is when you are trying to reach for the sky during solos. They are far and away the best in the business.

8. What a different overall animal this band is today versus last decade. Everyone has their personal preference regarding the lineup and sound, but no one can deny that the present lineup is composed of the some of the best musicians in the business and that they are really cooking now. Probably the best live act on the road today. I can't wait for next year!!

Peace,

Counselor

 

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  posted on 9/24/2003 at 06:29 PM
Great points counceler! Very great post. And very much my point. -
Incidentally, they did consciously say on several occasions that they took the volume down a couple decibles because Gregg (and Jaimoe & really all of them) felt they were too loud.

And for the record, in no means do I think the volume change has effected their playing. I was nearly stating that it's effected the way I hear them, which I think the DVD proves. I've just had really crappy seats the last few years! hee hee...

 

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  posted on 9/24/2003 at 06:46 PM
Yes PauliG you're right my friend, better seats is the answer! That will take care of any sound deficiencies you might be hearing. Hey great seats are cool anyway...you can see better too.
Woo Hoo! Really nice thread though...

peace friends..

 
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  posted on 9/24/2003 at 11:41 PM
Seats do make a difference. I sat first row, left of the stage, in front of 12 Marshall amps, in Sept '95 at the World Music Theatre, Tinley Park, IL. and lost my hearing for two days. They were loud. This summer at the Chicago Theatre I sat first row, first balcony and the sound was fantastic. I've seen the ABB since 1980, many different line ups, always a great concert wanting more. The current sound is the best. Is it because I'm older and don't take them for granted? Could be. Right now, they are the best live show on the road. Thanks to all who share the music.
 

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  posted on 9/25/2003 at 02:16 PM
Yeah, Eddie, you are right. I know. I used to work for Tower Records. I was a manager and I'd get hooked up with great seats to everything. And for that long period when the ABB weren't making records, so they didn't have a label really doing anything promotional with their concerts, I'd wrig ticketmaster so I would get great seats. Now I'm paying, I can't EVER seem to get decent seats, which I don't mind so much, but I do tape the shows, so I'm never happy with what I get! Oh well...
 
 


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