Saturday, August 13, 2005

Allman Brothers Band - live! 8-12-05

Trouble No More
Ain't Wastin' Time No More
Midnight Rider
Hot 'Lanta *
(Call It) Stormy Monday
You Don't Love Me*
Dimples (Vocals: Jack Pearson)
Stand Back
Feel So Bad *
Leave My Blues At Home
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed *
One Way Out *
Encore: No One To Run With

* Ron Holloway, sax

We showed up in at the venue much earlier, as we stayed at the casino just a walk away. I had an opportunity to chat with some folks before the show, including a taper that had been setting up his rig. [I had seen this guy around the Twin Cities before.] He informed me that Warren Haynes was off for the night. Jack Pearson was the guy that would fill Warren's spot on this show. He went on further to explain that the "Instant Live" thing [getting CDs of the show right afterwards] was not happening, perhaps as a result. I asked a soundman later, and it turns out that they would have everything set up for the second night of this leg of the tour. Damn!

They hit the stage right at about 8pm. Right off of the bat, they came out with guns blazing. It was a varied setlist, with some items not worn pages out of the ABB setlist book. They dedicated "Feel So Bad" to LIttle Milton, who recently passed. This was one of the five songs of the evening to feature solos from seasoned jazz tenor sax player Ron Holloway. Ron's solos sound as if he is a veteran member. With a hard tone reminiscent of Trane, and a command of the entire range of the horn, the solos were stories and songs all by themselves.

Jack Pearson was something else. It is funny, he not only looks like Frank Zappa with shorter hair, but he also holds a guitar a bit like Zappa did. JP's chops were huge, and very wide-ranging. Throughout the evening, his solos were wide of dynamic and intense in tone. His black marble-finished strat was just slightly overdriven, moreso at times when he needed a bit more horsepower to cut through the ensemble. Octaves and string bends were some of his weapons, as well as a fleet on the neck that I have not yet witnessed elsewhere. He looked like he was having a great time back up on stage with the band. It turns out he will share the stage for the first week.

Oteil Burbridge, bass, stuck to the Fender jazz bass all night long. He had his six-string behind him, but never once picked it up. Certainly he was to pick it up after the Drums part of the evening, I thought, but he did not. I am gald he did not let the more-stringed instrument cloud his musical judgement. He was on on on.

The band was feeling unusually verbose when it came to solos this night; they came off feeling more jazz-oriented than before. Perhaps it was JP's stylings, or the prescence of Holloway -- whatever the reason we were in for a treat. This was especially evident in what I consider the evening's highlight: "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed." Everyone was nice and loose, and things were going well. Derek Trucks, Gibson SG in hand, took the first solo [if I recall].

His soloing thus far was quite good, but maybe not up to the level of his recent performances with the band. I chalk it up to his inexperience of a playing environment with JP. Many times throughout the night, JP tried to engage Trucks into a "trading phrases" thing, and to these ears, it was not the thing to do. Trucks solos to his fullest when allowed room to breathe. He can summon the most delightful things when given a sympathetic rhythm section and sidemen that know how to comp well. It would be like trading licks with Trane in the middle of My Favorite Things. Trucks puts together solos with a specific trajectory in mind, and it felt like JP wasn't letting it flow.

Anyway, back to that first solo in "In Memory of..." -- Trucks started with a bit more volume than I am accustomed to. I think he may have been anticipating another round of sparring with JP, but this time only he comped in the background. [Superb comping, BTW. Inventive, yet not overpowering or distracting.] He started by playing without slide. This guy gets better and better with each performance. He worked up to a fever pitch and threw on the slide and proceeded to bring the house down. My hairs were on end. The whole band was into it too, taking up the energy in their backing to match Trucks'. When his solo was over the crowd went nuts. It is amazing what happens when he gets into the zone. He has a vocabulary all his own, and he makes it fit in with the band.

The closer of the evening, "No One to Run With" was quite nice, especially with the visuals of Allen Woody and Duane being shown in the background. It was a bit eerie to see the image of Duane super-imposed over Trucks playing slide guitar...

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