Sunday, March 27, 2011

Allman Brothers Band Beacon Theatre New York 25 March 2011

In the normal run of things I could well have been tempted to spend more than an hour and a half in the garden this Sunday morning, but Moogis considerations overruled my personal aversion to the political guest on ABC-TV's Insiders program. Moogis factors may well have come into play with the newly established Last Sunday of the Month lunchtime gathering, but one of the other participants came to the rescue and that little gathering has been reshuffled into the following week.

The normal Sunday routine around the Little House of Concrete (weather permitting, which hasn't always been the case over the past two months as the Big Wet proves to be bigger and longer lasting than usual) involves an hour and a half to two hours' gardening, followed by a shower and pasta carbonara while the TV runs through Insiders and its sporting equivalent, Offsiders

Today, given the amount of unfinished business in the yard and the political guest on Insiders I could easily have extended the session towards the three hour mark, but that would have raised severe timing issues for the thirteenth and final night of what has been a thoroughly enjoyable Beacon run, which will hopefully, include Blind Willie McTellAin't Wastin' Time No MoreOld Before My Time and Walk On Gilded Splinters with a Whipping Post to round things off nicely.

I've also seen a suggestion that today marks the band's 42nd birthday, so maybe there's another something special in the offing. To some, something special would be a reunion of the current ABB with one Richard Forrest Betts, and while you'd possibly hope that bygones could effectively be rendered bygones I'm hoping things don't work out that way due to the restrictions it might place on the setlist.

As we pass 10:30 it must be getting close to starting time, and rising audience prompts a switch to full screen mode.

ABB logo, off-mic comments. Rattle of percussion. Given some piano tinkling I'm tipping Ain't Wastin' Time No More as the opener.

10:31 There's no place like home on screen. Then 200th show, so I guess that's official. ABB logo. No reference to any 42nd anniversary. 

10:32 Hot 'Lanta

10:38 No visitors, but Madam's decided to watch the first set since it's the last show of the run.

Ain't Wastin' Time No More, which I reckoned was just about due.

10:45 Midnight Rider

10:50 Every Hungry Woman. That's the three Gregg vocals opening salvo, so next? Warren vocal or instrumental? Actually, Gregg's looking really on the ball tonight. Hope I haven't put the mocker on proceedings by mentioning it.

10:56 Derek and Warren firing off each other quite magnificently. By the expression I just spotted Butch likes it as well.

10:59 Walking bass intro, swinging drum patterns. Instrumental time? Or Rockin' Horse again? I'm inclined to dismiss the latter possibility due to inclusion in yesterday's show, but you can never tell with ABBs.

11:08 Was that an And I Love Her tease?

11:15 So that's the long instrumental out of the way. No idea which one it was. Hopefully by this time next year I'll have remedied the inability to spot which one's which. 

11:16 "Well, how ya doin' out there?" precedes the introduction of a number of guests, including Hook Herrera on harp, Bruce Katz on piano and Hubert Sumlin on guitar. Smokestack Lightnin'. Hubert's on oxygen, obviously frail, but he's pushing eighty after a life of doing it hard, so it's good to see him, even if he's starting to fade.  Subsequent research reveals he's operating on one lung, so I guess he’s doing rather well to be there at all.

11:23 Key to the Highway

11:26 Signal drops out. Out and back in. Getting back always takes a bit of time, and while I'm waiting I pause to ponder this sort of guest spot. There's a substantial drop in intensity, which is understandable under the circumstances, but it's good to see influences and predecessors being acknowledged, and this spot is better placed in relation to the whole show than last Saturday's Cowboy interlude.

The Cowboy bit came after Melissa, which isn't the greatest restarter in the ABB canon despite its regular appearance as such, and was followed by a Dreams with a Warren rather than Derek solo, which probably explains Hughesy's view of the sequence. Here, you've got twenty minutes to the break, with the possibility of a storming finish after a slight respite.

That, of course, depends on what comes next. Hubert gets two name-checks on his way off stage, which confirms the respect, and Warren introduces Dr John, which, predictably, has Hughesy anticipating Walk On Gilded Splinters.

11:28 Walk On Gilded Splinters it is, but the Dr John Gris Gris percussive version rather the pounding driving version we usually get. As a result there's a hesitancy, sort of like a shirt that doesn't quite fit, but if you're going to have Dr John sit in and do his song you're more or less obliged to do it his way, n'est ce pas?

11:35 Come On Part 1 or Let The Good Times Roll or whatever title you want to use for this New Orleans classic. Works slightly better since everybody's on the same playing field (here's one we all know, rather than one where there's two different approaches). That's my take on things anyway.

11:42 In the Right Place. Susan and another backing vocalist on stage, Derek's side, and obviously having a ball. Young Mr van deer Bogert's managed to sneak in there on drums as well.

11:50 Break time. Drop the feed for twenty minutes or so, faced with polite restraint in bandwidth consumption and the expectation that we'd be getting the interview segments over again. Think about a snack at (more or less) lunch time, but had a substantial brunch and decide against it.

11:22 Dreams. Two nights in a row as the restart. I'm not complaining about this at all, particularly if we get the usual scorching Derek solo.

12:33 Black Hearted Woman. Gregg mangles the first verse, but things proceed reasonably well thereafter.

12:48 Hook Herrera and Bruce Katz back. Who's Been Talkin'? Dunno, but whoever it was, and whatever they've said, Derek's absolutely on fire. 

1:00 "We'd like to say thank you everybody for coming to our party. This is David Grissom on guitar here."

It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry. Nice reading.

1:07 One Way Out.

1:14 Note the second set of keyboards still in place over on stage left.

1:15 And there's the reason why. Bruce Katz back for Jessica.

1:25 There are those Mountain Jam teases again.

1:31 Well, I guess that's it for the second set. OK, so what's the finale? I figure we've got around twenty-five minutes, so I've got my fingers crosses, hoping for an epic Whipping Post, which probably means we'll get You Don't Love Me.

1:35 Electric exploration of the Little Martha theme, with Derek and Warren, drums sneak in, and then that familiar twisting, turning and churning bass line. Whipping Post.

1:53 "Thank you." Is that it? Looks that way, with seven minutes to go till midnight. "thank y'all so much. Good luck. God bless ya."

Little Martha

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Allman Brothers Band Beacon Theatre New York 25 March 2011

Eight minutes past ten would, on the surface, seem a little early for the getting ready bangs and thumps, and the revised operating procedures would've had me logging in at least seven minutes later, were it not for some confusion as to whether yesterday's show was actually #200 for the ABBeacon Experience.

And when somebody on the Allman mailing list drew attention to an email suggesting an 8 p.m. start I put two and two together and decided it was better to be safe than sorry. After all, if this one is #200 they could well be planning on going on a little longer than usual, so they'd be looking at an early start, wouldn't they?

Then again, they're all apparently a notional eight o'clock start, though actual blast off time can be up to three-quarters of an hour late.

But you can never tell, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

The possibility that today's (or tonight's, or whatever's) show is yer actual #200 again raise the possibility of the rumoured Fillmore East run through in order, but as noted yesterday they've already done that during the run. Mind you, they could repeat it with a different guest on each track, or, say Jack Pearson on guitar for the whole show.

Personally, while that Jack idea would be a definite blast, I hope this rumour proves to be a total furphy, because doing that would remove one opportunity for a Blind Willie McTellAin't Wastin' Time No MoreOld Before My Time or a Walk On Gilded Splinters.

10:17 Very strong bass line that seems to be coming from the stage has me switching to full screen mode, and taking a quick check of the horizon for visitors.A phone call from Byrnesy suggested he was likely to lob, so we've got to keep our eyes peeled.

The Fillmore East scenario would, of course, deliver a Whipping Post, which must be just about due to reappear. Personally, he said, taking a glance at the 2009 run stats I'd be holding out hopes for something different. Perhaps a Franklin's TowerI Shall Be ReleasedLoan Me A Dime or Please Call Home. Wouldn't mind Afro Blue either.

The reflection of a car pulling up outside has me checking the horizon again, and a few minutes later I'm ushering Byrnesy into the office and answering predictable questions about what's in store. With a visitor on the premises and wide-ranging discussions on musical matters as events unfold, there's a significant reduction in notes jotted.

10:34 ABB logo. 

10:35 Trouble No More. Immediate loss of feed, get out and log back in. Hope this will not turn out to be par for the course.

10:41 Midnight Rider

10:45 Who To Believe. Byrnesy's impressed, as I expected he would be. 

10:54 Long instrumental time? There's something familiar about this little jam, which turns out to be the intro to Rockin' Horse.

11:04 Broach the sunbelt of Long Instrumental again, though I suspect we're in the quiet bit that's often inserted in the middle of Rockin' Horse.

11:09 > the Rockin' Horse theme.

11:11 Statesboro Blues

11:17 Sailin' 'Cross The Devil's Sea

11:23 Now it's Long Instrumental time. Remain clueless as to identity but kind of suspect avian title. Probably wrong, but there you go.

11:31 Movement from Butch, which may be taking him to the tympani or making way for a guest. Warren introduces Duane Trucks on drums and Col. Bruce Hampton. Turn On Your Lovelight. Rather tasty, despite an 11:37 freeze.

11:41 Leave My Blues At Home

11:48 As we head into the break, Byrnesy makes his escape, pleading other things to do. 

12:23 ABB logo as PA cuts out. Shadowy movement on stage. I have a sneaking suspicion we're in for a Spanish Key restart.

12:27 No, Dreams

12:37 Feed drops out. Out and back in.

12:40 Come & Go Blues.

12:48 Worried Down With The Blues. 

12:57 There's a Guitar-less Susan. Anyday. Oteil takes the first verse, Susan the second.

1:03 > Blue Sky? Momentary glitch, but definitely sounds that way. Missed the bit inserted into No One Left To Run With the other day due to half a mind preoccupied with bandwidth calculations, but don't think I missed this one, though the sound and vision cut out frequently over the next couple of minutes.

1:06 > Anyday

1:07 Liz Reed with unannounced guest on guitar. 

1:25 > Bass

1:29 > Drums

1:35 Oteil heads back

1:36 > Liz Reed

1:39 Freeze prompts the old out and back in manoeuvre, which concludes as Warren announces "on guitar". If we'd been back fifteen seconds earlier we'd have had a name, though subsequent email identifies him as one Oz Noy.

1:40 That's it for the second set.

1:42 "All right. What a great bunch y'all are."

1:43 Into the Mystic

1:53 "Thank y'all so much. We'll be here tomorrow night. It'll be our last night. Come back and see us. Goodnight and God bless."

1:54 Little Martha

Friday, March 25, 2011

Allman Brothers Band Beacon Theatre New York 24 March 2011

"Have a lovely weekend," said the girl up at the butcher's shop on the corner (with a big smile). 

Faced with a third weekend of Beacon shows, I'd have to admit I like my chances, though I've probably just torpedoed those prospects by saying so. 

Not that I would've come out with a comment along those lines, you understand. 

The fact that Hughesy's setting to watch all thirteen shows liveas they happenin their entirety, has caused a fair bit of head-scratching among the friends and acquaintances, none of whom have lobbed on the doorstep with a view to seeing what the fuss is all about. 

That may change this weekend, assuming Christian has finished cleaning up mould and mildew, and Byrnesy takes up the invitation extended when he answered a message left while he was on the annual surfathon to Byron Bay.

Neither, however, is likely to lob for today's show which will, according to speculation, feature Leslie West from Mountain (info courtesy of his FaceBook page, so probably accurate) and a run through the Fillmore East album in honour of the band's 200th appearance at the Beacon, which seems less likely given the fact that they've already done something very similar earlier in the run.

Hmmm. Still, all will be revealed in the fullness of time.

10:15 In line with revised operating procedures, log on to Moogis, hit the Live Webcast button and switch from High Res to Standard, refraining from going to full screen mode just yet. That's probably not going to make a great deal of actual difference (at least that's what I thought at the time, as it turns out at the time of writing we're down about 450MB from Tuesday) but like tomorrow night's Earth Hour there's some comfort in the feeling that you're doing something, even if something equates to three-fifths of five-eighths of stuff all.

The PA soundtrack seems to be favouring the hard rock end of the spectrum rather than the blues, which leaves me wondering whether this is a portent of things to come. 

Of course, as is the way of such things, as soon as I've made a note to that effect on comes Howlin' Wolf. 

10:39 Swirl of organ temporarily swamps the PA, followed by piano, which I take as the signal to switch to full screen mode. That's getting close to half an hour since the original log in without a start, but if I hadn't logged in back then they'd have started right on the dot of 10:15, wouldn't they?

Murphy's Law and all that.

10:40 Rising crowd noise. Tapping percussion. According to the Fillmore East In sequence theory we should be close to getting the One. Two. One, two, three, four count in, but at present there's just the swish of cymbals.

10:43 ABB logo.

10:44 This definitely doesn't sound like we're headed for Statesboro, but you can never tell with ABBs. Rattling percussion. There's no place like home. Chunks of organ, tinkling piano. ABB logo.

10:46 Don't Want You No More. Mental image of theory descending in flames.

10:48 > It's Not My Cross To Bear

10:54 Don't Keep Me Wonderin'

10:58 The band seems to be firing on all cylinders as they head into a driving percussive beat with Warren in wah wah mode. Sounds like The River's Gonna Rise, which it does.

11:08 Done Somebody Wrong

11:11 First major dropout of the night. Predictably it occurs in the middle of a stinging Derek solo.

11:13 Crashing introduction, and here we are, presumably headed into the First Set Long Instrumental, which I'm guessing, based on the rotation, will be Bag End. A severe case of lost speed and spinning beach ball prompts a Force Quit from Safari and by the time I'm back in at 11:17 we're well into a Warren solo with not much chance of picking up on riffs or distinctive themes even if we knew them by heart, which we don't.

11:25 Must be about Guest Time, close to forty minutes into the set. "How you feline' this evening?" from Warren as he introduces Danny Louis on keys, Sean Pelton on drums and, as expected Leslie West on guitar.

11:27 Crossroads. Reflect that Me West isn't quite the man-Mountain I'd expected, but then he's standing beside Mr Haynes, who's quite substantial in his own right.

11:31 Warren takes over the vocal after a rather tasty challenge-response bit with Mr West.

11:33 Derek's turn.

11:35 Another verse from LW, then more tasty interplay between Derek and guest.

11:36 Goin' Down. Jamie van der Bogert on drums.

11:45 As Warren name checks the guests and Leslie West departs, Hughesy muses that was nowhere near the train wreck that some had predicted.

11:46 You Don't Love Me

11:53 "Thank you. We're gonna take a lil' short break. Don't go away."

Despite those instructions I quit out of Safari and head off to lunch. Since the break's usually around the half hour mark we should be right if we're back in, say twenty minutes. Note emphasis on the should.

12:23 The more or less regulation half-hour break finishes with the familiar bangs, thumps, guitar chords and off-mic conversation. Presumably, given an acoustic guitar strum, we'll be opening with Melissa.

12:25 Melissa it is. Not my favourite way to start the set, but someone obviously likes it.

12:31 "Welcome my friend John Kadlecik from Furthur on guitar." Come On In My Kitchen. Note Derek doesn't seem to be spending as much time beside the keys tonight (or have I just stopped noticing?)

12:40 Maydell. To be followed by Manic Depression?

12:44 Sure enough, there's the Oteil vocal.

12:50 No One Left To Run With. Well, at least we know it won't be turning up as the encore. Actually, I'm starting to warm to it. Maybe the NOLTRW as the encore again factor is wearing off.

1:04 More guests from the Gregg Allman Band. Would note names but can't write fast enough. 

1:06 What's this? That's What Love Can Do For You. Lost signal, but back in much more easily than usual.

1:10 When Warren was running through the list of guests I don't recall him mentioning the drum tech sub on Jaimoe's kit. Maybe he didn't notice.

1:17 Warren runs down the roll call of guests over the rolling tympani over the rolling tympani that indicate a Mountain Jam.

1:32 Warren departs at the start of what I expect to develop into > Bass > JaBuMaOt.

1:36 > Drums

1:43 Oteil heads back. They'll be pushing to finish the encore by two.

1:52 "Thank you so much. Thank y'all. Thank you so much. What a great bunch," as everyone bar Jaimoe departs.

1:55 "We'll see how many people we can get out here," Warren says, and in the crush there's no room for Derek. Southbound.

2:05 "Thank y'all so much. God bless ya. We'll be here tomorrow night, and the next."

2:06 Little Martha.

1st Set
Don’t Want You No More> It’s Not My Cross to Bear
Please Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
River's Gonna Rise
Done Somebody Wrong
Bag End
Crossroads (Leslie West, Guitar & Vocals, Sean Pelton, Drums, Danny Louis, Piano)
Goin’ Down (Leslie West, Guitar & Vocals, Sean Pelton, Drums, Danny Louis, Piano, James van der Bogert, Drums)
You Don't Love Me

2nd Set
Come On In My Kitchen (John Kadlecik, Guitar)
Maydell> Manic Depression
No One Left to Run With
That’s What Love Will Make You Do (Jay Collins, Sax, Scott Sharrard, Guitar, Reggie Pittman, Trumpet, Brian Mitchell, Piano, James van der Bogert, Drums)
Mountain Jam> Oteil> JaBuMaOt> Mountain Jam

Southbound (Jay Collins, Sax, Scott Sharrard, Guitar, Reggie Pittman, Trumpet, Brian Mitchell, Piano, Tom Guarna, Guitar)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Allman Brothers Band Beacon Theatre New York 22 March 2011

Well, nine down, four to go, and judging by an email that turned in the inbox getting through to the end of the monthly billing period might be a bit tricky. 

But more of that little blot on the horizon later.

With various matters that needed attending to before I sat down to start scribbling it was well after ten-fifteen before I got as far as logging in, and I was absorbed by other sundry issues until

10:23 Crowd noise swells, prompting the full screen button to be hit, and the seat taken, notebook at the ready, pen in hand. A version of Sweet Little Angel over the PA, and about a minute later someone's giving somebody's drum kit a solid going over with what sounds like little rolling patterns on the kick drum, another round around the snares and it seems reasonable to assumer we're right on the verge of starting. A little run on the cymbals, another run around the kit and you'd reckon all we need is the ABB logo.

10:28 I should, by now, know not to go making those rash suggestions. Somehow I suspect that the crowd in the theatre aren't in a much better position than I am as to what's going on. The noise rises again, then falls to a relative hush as the final getting ready noises kick in.

Or I hope they're the final getting ready noises.

10:31 Another upswell as the ABB logo appears.

10:32 There's no place like home. "One, two." Then the familiar One, two, one two three four intro that's almost guaranteed to be followed by Statesboro Blues.

10:35 Gregg fluffs a vocal line, self corrects.

10:38 Warren counts down into Come & Go Blues. Gregg seems a bit vague. Thought he looked pretty sharp yesterday, but he seems a bit weary today. I guess medical issues make these things a day by day proposition.

10:46 Hot 'Lanta

10:53 High Cost of Low Living

11:03 Walking bass line and high hat cymbal action suggests we're on the way into an instrumental. Given the fact that we've had Bag End and Egypt over the previous two nights I'd guess either Instrumental Illness or, more likely Kind of Bird, since I don't think it's Instrumental Illness. Subsequent checking suggests I'm right.

11:09 Lost the feed. Out and back in.

While I have difficulty telling them apart I really like these long instrumentals, and would be much happier with an uninterrupted feed.

11:19 Blind Willie McTell with horns! Great stuff! Figure the horn lines will work well here, and they do. Looks like we're going to be spending a bit of time in horn-driven (or at least horn riffing) R&B territory, so what's next?

11:29 Soulshine. Natural fit for the horn treatment. Looks like young Mr van der Bogert sitting in on the drums. What does an ability to recognise a band's drum tech signify?

11:36 There goes the feed again. Out and back to no avail, repeat the dose, repeat again and get back in on the third attempt. We're between songs, and the off-mic conversation I thought was leaking through the stage mics seems to be an audience conversation. An attempt to give you the feeling you're in the crowd? 

11:38 More guests on the way. Who've we got this time? Rich Robinson from the Black Crowes on guitar, Steve Molitz from Phil Lesh and Friends and Particle on piano. Horns still there, so things are getting crowded. The Weight.

11:49 You'd guess that'd be the half way break, or very close to it, but no one seems to be leaving. Lights iup reveals the horns have slipped away under cover of darkness, and Gregg's swapped to piano with Molitz on B3. There's some one else (not Mr van deer Bogert) on Jaimoe's kit now. No introduction or acknowledgement, but later check suggests it's Jukes drummer Joe Bellia.

One Way Out

11:57 "Thank y'all so much. We're gonna be taken' a short break. Be right back."

So it's off to the living room as the interview segments get another airing. While they're reasonably interesting the first time around, you have to question whether they warrant a second airing, and anything beyond that…

12:25 I'm back in the office as End of the Line starts without a great deal of warning. 

12:33 Gambler's Roll

12:40 Black Hearted Woman. Particularly extended workout on the playout that had me thinking it might be the vessel for the bass and drums bit, but that'll probably come latter in the set.

12:56 Butch moving to the tympani? Well, someone's moving around back there. I've Been Loving You Too Long. Horns? Yep, present, correct but possibly a bit low in the mix. 

1:02 Horns still on deck as The Same Thing kicks off. Tom Guarna on guitar, and the previously noted unacknowledged drummer's back on Jaimoe's kit. Issues with the ink flow from the Indian Pacific pen impede note taking. There must be another pen here somewhere. Know there's one on the floor of the car, but I'm not going anywhere while this is on. Great stuff.

1:09 > Bass. Drums from here? Probably not. Everyone's staying put at the moment.

1:18 Horns make their way off stage. Hint of acoustic guitar as I head into the living room in search of a pen. Melissa? Surely not.

1:19 Jessica, which will presumably be the avenue for the > Bass > Drums bit, but if it was there it was either very short or I missed it in the following confusion.

Major disruption to feed AGAIN and a failed out and back has me quitting Safari and restarting. In the process note there's email in the in tray. We'll be in the small window when we get back so take a quick squiz at what's there. Alarmingly, a friendly note from the ISP to inform me we've used 70% of our monthly allowance has me calculating when I should be digging this rather tasty Jessica

1:31 Norwegian Wood teases. 

1:36 "Thank y'all so much." Thanks also to the Jukes Horns and the Black Crowes to wind up the set. 

Continue feverish calculations to check whether we'll get through the rest of the run. Ten shows, seventy per cent of the bandwidth. Should be OK provided I stay in Standard rather than High Res, hold off logging on till twenty past ten and give it a twenty minute break at lunch.

1:40 Figures moving on stage.

1:42 This one has to be No One Left To Run With. The setlist suggests a bit of Blue Sky in there, but with certain preoccupations I fail to notice. Wouldn’t have this problem if the feed had stayed up, would we?

1:50 Thanks so much. We're not here tomorrow night but we'll be here Thursday, Friday, Saturday."

And so will I, remaining bandwidth permitting.

Little Martha

The setlist:

1st Set:
Statesboro Blues
Come and Go Blues
Hot 'Lanta
High Cost of Low Living
Kind of Bird
Blind Willie McTell (Jukes Horns)
Soulshine (Jukes Horns, James van der Bogert, Drums)
The Weight (Jukes Horns, Rich Robinson, Guitar, Steve Molitz, Piano)
One Way Out (Rich Robinson, Guitar, Steve Molitz, Organ, Joe Bellia, Drums)

2nd Set
End of the Line
Gamblers Roll
Blackhearted Woman
I've Been loving You to Long (Jukes Horns)
The Same Thing (Jukes Horns, Joe Bellia, Drums, Tom Guarna, Guitar)

No One Left to Run With> Blue Sky> No One Left to Run With

And, as far as the identity of the Jukes Horns is concerned:
Chris Anderson, Trumpet
Don Harris, Trumpet
Neal Pawley, Trombone
Joey Stann, Tenor Sax
Ed Manion, Baritone Sax

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Allman Brothers Band Beacon Theatre New York 21 March 2011

Moogis related circumstances delivered a timely warning against complacency yesterday. While I'm not a pessimist per se, one of the principles I've lived by is asuspicion that while things seem to be going well at the moment there's a fair chance Fate is lurking around a nearby corner, quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove.

I spent the morning quietly taking my time musing on the passing of Pinetop Perkins, widely acknowledged as one of the few remaining links to the classic era of the Delta blues, and headed down to the other end of the building to consult Madam about intended kitchen renovation related movements after the show was over.

Those discussions could well have gone into some detail and given the recent tendency towards later starts (with the last two shows starting after the half hour) I could well have got myself mired down in renovation detail, but just after ten-twenty I headed back to the office with a view to saving the Pinetop musings and setting things up for a relaxed couple of hours grooving and scribbling. 

Evidence on offer when I arrived prompted an immediate switch to full screen mode, with pen poised above the note pad. Three and a bit hours later I was suggesting a visit to the tile shop, putting the task of typing up the notes I'd scrawled into the not just now basket in the interests of domestic harmony.

We'd concluded our inquiries and were headed towards the door when the power went off, presumably all over town, and made it back to the Little House of Concrete to learn that surmise was correct, unloaded two and a half cases of wine that had turned up at the Post Office, and quietly waited for the power to come back, passing the time watching the antics of three furry feral (well, not actually feral, but they're enjoying the overgrown post-wet season garden) felines a.k.a. LikLik, Tawny Tigger and NinjaKit.

When, eventually, the power deigned to make a reappearance, I headed back to the office, planning to reopen the morning's file and start typing the notes after 10:24. After all, what I'd tapped out this morning would have been autosaved, wouldn't it? TextEdit does things like that for you.

But only after you've saved your Untitled document and called it something like Moogis 9

Still, it could have been worse. 

Detailed discussion of kitchen plans could well have taken me past the actual opening (out of consideration I keep the volume down until the show starts) but more particularly, had the power gone off an hour earlier than it actually did I could have missed a large chunk of a show that made up for all the disappointments of Saturday/Sunday's effort.

I was thinking that, had I shelled out for trans-Pacific flights etc and managed to pick up tickets I'd have wanted to get to the Gin Mill night's show, and had I managed to wangle that I'd have been hoping for something truly awesome for all that money.

That last show, while still pretty damn good, wasn't quite in that truly awesome bracket. Had I been in the house for this one, on the other hand, I would have walked out a very happy camper.


10:24 ABB logo's up.

10:25 And we're into a steady groove that's beyond mere tuning, banging and thumping.

10:26 Lights come up and we're on, with a mid-tempo blues shuffle, Warren tastefully subdued on lead.

10:27 Now Derek's in on the action, though there's no indication what the tune's going to be, but all will doubtless be revealed. As I scrawl notes he kicks up the intensity and I start to harbour suspicions about where we're heading, though from here they could possibly veer off in any of a number of possible directions, but it's increasingly looking like

10:29 Done Somebody Wrong. Yeah, it was almost the most likely. Hopefully my Jukes horns prediction will turn out to be on the money as well.A line of micas could also, of course, indicate a vocal chorus (Blind Boys of Alabama or the Fairfield Four would be interesting, Bonnie Bramlett and a few others more likely).

10:33 Midnight Rider

10:34 What was that gesture from Gregg just then? I thought it was down to Warren and Derek to be directing traffic, but after recent Mailing List discussions, it may well be a good sign. Actually, I think Gregg looks better than he has over the preceding couple of nights.

10:35 Feed drops out completely. Out and back in at the start of Trouble No More. That's three from Gregg. Next up Warren or an instrumental, methinks.

10:40 Understated groove that I suspect may evolve into Who's Been Talking? Warren edges towards the mic, but there's no surprise about that after three Gregg vocals. My baby caught the train. Amazing! Got another one right.

10:44 Glitches and drop outs are far more frequent than I'd like and are getting to the point where continuity (or lack thereof) is a significant issue.

10:52 Sailin' 'Cross the Devil's Sea. A favourite that's getting the exposure it deserves.

11:01 Lost in the groove, fail to note the transition until we're well into the long instrumental, which I thought could be either Egypt or Bag End, but given my track record was probably something else entirely. Later scrutiny of the previous show's setlist reveals Bag End in that slot, so it won't be there two nights in a row. Apart from those thoughts I'm too rapt in what's going on to take appropriate notes.

11:10 The Sky Is Crying

11:21 There's someone moving around those micas. Yep.

"We'd like to welcome the Juke horns."

11:22 Ain't No Love In The Heart of the City

11:28 Stand Back.

11:36 "Thank you so much. We're gonna take a short break. Don't go away. We'll be right back."

Head to the kitchen for lunch, forgoing the accompanying glass of wine. The sacrifices we make when we'll be enlisted for kitchen renovation planning after the show.

12:01 Looks like we're not far off a restart as the drums go into a rolling beat with bits of trumpet and guitar thrown in. Spanish Key or something similar, one suspects. Though I'm not familiar with the piece, you get the impression from the light show that they might be suggesting something along the lines of Space Is the Place. There's a single bearded trumpet player rather than the full Jukes horn section.

12:13 I get the suspicion that they're not a million miles away from Rockin' Horse territory, but they did that last show, eh? Then, predictably, the feed goes. Out and back in.

12:15 They're still in Miles territory when I get back, but rather than Rockin' Horse, at

12:16 Desdemona

12:22 Back down to earth after a shredding Derek solo, then off to Miles-style trumpet which works rather well in this setting.

12:24 and over to Warren.

12:29 Another complete drop out as Gregg goes into the last verse. This one's so complete I have no choice but to restart the modem, which takes a couple of minutes meaning we're not back until

12:33 where they're into Liz Reed with trumpet.

12:39 Great interplay between Derek and Trumpet Dude (who may well have been named between Desdemona and Liz Reed, but I was restarting the modem, wasn't I?). This bloke is fairly smoking though.

12:46 Back to the Liz Reed theme.

"Randy Brecker on trumpet." So there's that mystery solved…

12:48 And the Jukes Horns are back for The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

12:54 Looks like the horns are still there, so what's next? Into the Mystic.

1:00 Farewell waves suggest that may well be the last of the horns.

1:02 Leave My Blues at Home. The one for the Bass > JaBuMaOt bit?

1:04 Well, there's the bass.

1:07 Another complete drop out. Out and back in.

> Drums

11:16 You Don't Love Me

1:18 Another complete drop out. Wonder if everyone else is experiencing the same repeated issues.

1:23 Well, an hour and twenty minutes after they came back we'd have to be close to the end of the set.

"Thank y'all so much. Good night and God bless," had a sense of finality to it as the stage lights fade and the ABB logo materialises. Well if it was over, we'd have Little Martha and pictures of Duane, wouldn't we?

1:26 They're bringing back the Jukes Horns. You little beauty!

1:27 Southbound

"We'll be here tomorrow night. Hope to see ya."

1:37 Little Martha

And the setlist:

1st Set:
Done Somebody Wrong
Midnight Rider
Trouble No More
Who’s Been Talking
Sailin’ ‘Cross The Devil’s Sea
The Sky  is Crying
Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City (Jukes Horns)
Stand Back (Jukes Horns)

2nd Set:
Spanish Key (Randy Brecker, Trumpet, Rolando Morales, Percussion)
Desdemona (Randy Brecker, Trumpet )
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (Randy Brecker, Trumpet )
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Jukes Horns)
Into The Mystic (Jukes Horns)
Leave My Blues At Home
You Don’t Love Me
Southbound (Randy Brecker, Trumpet, Jukes Horns, Rolando Morales, Percussion)

And, as far as the identity of the Jukes Horns is concerned:
Chris Anderson, Trumpet
Don Harris, Trumpet
Neal Pawley, Trombone
Joey Stann, Tenor Sax
Ed Manion, Baritone Sax

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Allman Brothers Band Beacon Theatre New York 19 March 2011

10:25 Well, here we are, a tad past the half way mark through the run, comfortably settled into the pre-show routine, iMac switched to full screen mode, not holding the breath in expectation of visitors since, if they don't materialise it's their loss not mine. With another two and a half hours of prime ABB, including the odd surprise in the setlist and a guest or three I'm ready for whatever gets thrown up, and if I'm the only one in these parts who's inclined to check these things out, so be it.

10:29 The PA's dropped down a notch, the familiar pre-show getting ready elements do their thing in the background as I sit back, notebook in hand, waiting for the show to start. In such circumstances you need to do something, and, as usual, the something involves jotting down things that can later be expounded upon while I wait for the upswell of crowd noise that suggests an imminent start. Must be just about due…

10:31 There it is as the PA cuts out. It drops back as various item from Marc's kit rattle, bit it's a good four minutes until the house lights go down, suggesting that blast off is imminent.

10:36 ABB logo. Now all we need is There's no place like home.

10:37 There it is. Back to the ABB logo. Sounds like Gregg on piano, which has me thinking a Statesboro opener, but then there's a chunky bit of organ and we're off…

10:38 Hot 'Lanta. That's, what, eight? nine minutes since it looked like we were about ready to get started. We're obviously looking to run right up to any curfew without lengthening the performance too much. At least that's the way it looks to me when you look at the finishing times. On Night Eight there shouldn't be too many setting up issues, should there?

Nice opening though. I'm upbeat about the prospects down this evening's road.

10:44 Statesboro Blues. Thought it'd be in there, just a song later than expected.

10:47 There's Gregg trying to cut in on Derek's solo. Derek sticks to his script.

10:49 A couple of chuckles from Gregg as Statesboro finishes. Don't Keep Me Wonderin'. Well that's three usual suspects in a row. Hopefully we're in for a surprise or three.

10:56 Oteil and the percussion brigade lead off into a jaunty little groove that's obviously going to develop into something as Warren draws out long groaning slide notes. I'm tipping Rockin' Horse, not that this would be a major departure from disclosed form. Yep, there it is.

11:07 Freeze, out and back in as Rockin' Horse reaches a climax. The back in takes a minute or so and lands in a quiet instrumental passage that seems to owe a fair bit to Miles Davis' In A Silent Way, which got a guernsey in the 2009 run, so that would be no surprise, but by

11:11 we're back with the Rockin' Horse theme as Warren hits the verse again and Hughesy wonders why these glitches have to materialise when they do…

11:13 > Stormy Monday

11:23 Instrumental time, I guess. Les Brers? No, unless I'm mistaken it's Instrumental Illness. Actually (now that I've seen the setlist it's actually Bag End)

11:37 > The River's Gonna Rise

11:44 Every Hungry Woman. At this point I want to find something to write, but I suspect I've used most of the obvious comments, so it's a matter of grooving away until c\something attracts my attention.

11:53 "Thank y'all. We're gonna take a lil' short break. Don't go away. The night is young."

Now, in these parts the expression would be "The night is but a pup", and with the prospect of second set excitement is store I pottered around the office, disdaining lunch after a substantial breakfast which had in turn followed a solid workout in the garden. 

A glance out the window revealed what looked like a touch football team progressing down the street. That assumption was shaped by the fact that the local football grounds were a matter of a few hundred metres behind them, and there seemed to be team uniforms involved.As it turned out it was a bunch of High School students doorknocking for the Relay For Life, and a tap on the front door resulted in a donation and a chance to pay out on a couple of ex-students from around eight years ago.

Once they'd departed I had time to ponder what might have happened if they'd arrived with Derek in full shred mode. Your old Year Four teacher probably shouldn't be into music like that, though at the time I was lugging a fair chunk of my CD collection around on the iBook and they might have been familiar with my tastes (or lack thereof) from listening to the local community radio.

12:29 ABB logo back on screen. Crowd noise swells.

12:34 Off-mic comments as the PA cuts out after a delay that was longer than I would've liked. Acoustic strums. Melissa? Sounds that way.

12:40 Melissa mightn't be my preferred option, but things are back underway. "We're gonna have a little picking' party." OK, a bit of bluegrass or something. So who's on board? Multiple off-mic comments suggest something substantial's going on in the gloom.

12:42 Lights come up, regular personnel with Gregg on electric. I Can't Be Satisfied, very much in the traditional blues mode. Something else from Low Country Blues to follow?

12:45 Derek's solo isn't exactly traditional blues territory.

12:48 "We'd like to welcome Cowboy. Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton." Please Be With Me. Hmmm. It might have a place in the annals of Southern Rock but I could happily go through the rest of my life without hearing this again.

12:53 Another Cowboy song, which I assume to be All My Friends. Don't recall hearing this before and won't be in a hurry to hear it again. By the time it finishes around seven minutes later I'm glad I didn't shell out for trans-Pacific air fares to be there tonight.

1:00 With about an hour to go, this is more like it. Gutbucket slide from Warren. Half of Cowboy still on stage. I presume it's Tommy Talton. Hoochie Coochie Man.

1:08 "Tommy Talton on the guitar," so I got that one right.

1:09 Dreams. Twice in two nights. Not that I'm objecting or anything.

1:12 Lose the feed just when Warren's solo is developing nicely. Out and back in, hoping I haven't missed the start of Derek's solo which duly fails to materialise.

1:19 Was that Susan sitting stage left on the other side of Oteil?

1:21 Revival

1:34 > Oteil

1:37 > Drums. Oteil on tympani at first.

1:38 Butch and Oteil switch over. These drums passages are starting to sound rather samey.

1:45 "Thank y'all." That's obviously it for the second set.

1:48 Whipping Post.

1:54 Derek's solo makes up for a lot, but overall this would have to be the weakest show of the run so far. Still, they can't all be stellar, and one relative dud out of eight shows ain't too shabby.

Finish right on the hour, it's actually a little past when the final drum rolls are done.

"Thank you so much. We're off tomorrow night but we'll be back Monday. Thank you for coming."

Little Martha

And the setlist:
Set 1:
Hot 'Lanta
Statesboro Blues
Don't Keep Me Wondering
Rockin' Horse
Stormy Monday
Bag End
River's Gonna Rise
Every Hungry Woman

Set 2:
I Can't Be Satisfied
Please Be With Me (Scott Boyer, Guitar & Vocals, Tommy Talton, Guitar)
All My Friends (Scott Boyer, Guitar & Vocals, Tommy Talton, Guitar)
Hoochie Coochie Man (Tommy Talton, Guitar)
Revival > Bass > JaBuMaOt > Revival

Whipping Post