Friday, March 18, 2011

Allman Brothers Band Beacon Theatre New York 17 March 2011

In many ways the time difference between New York and eastern Australia works nicely when it comes to catching a show around lunchtime (assuming you're not in the work force, of course) but there are issues.

For a start, with the time difference bringing each show into the next day (I'll be watching Thursday night's show on Friday) there are issues when it comes to rustling up the grocery supplies that'll keep us going over the weekend.

I could head out after today's show, but it'll need to be reviewed, and while I could probably have inveigled Madam into delivering me to the supermarket and the butcher, the demise of the vacuum cleaner formerly known as Darth Vader means she's doing the cleaning on Friday rather than Thursday, and won't be finished much before show time.

Due to reluctance to deal with the breathalyser I never quite got around to learning to drive, so there was no alternative but to hoof it around town on a morning when the humidity has lifted the actual current temperature (28.1C) three degrees higher. Could be worse, of course, but I'd be happy to skip the exercise if that had been possible.

That meant fifty minutes musing on something, and I found something to ponder in a recent posting to the Allman list suggesting that there were a mere 2500 subscribers to the Moogis service, a figure that I find alarmingly tiny.

Now, I'm the first to admit that I'm hardly an unbiased observer when it comes to these matters.

The $A 233.05 I paid for the Beacon and Wanee option looks like remarkably good value compared to the cost of getting to even one of the Beacon shows, assuming a bloke was able to secure tickets. If you're looking at $250 or thereabouts as steep, then trans-Pacific airfares, accommodation and associated expenses are going to be heading towards arm and a leg territory.

No, regardless of dropouts, the chance to watch things unfold as they happen over thirteen nights comes out costing around twenty bucks, which is, coincidentally, only slightly more than the cost of the average bottle of wine that finds its way into the Little House of Concrete these days.

Of course, add the cost of a glass or two over lunch, and the cost of lunch itself, and we're heading up towards thirty, which stacks up pretty nicely against the thousand or so it's going to cost me to get to Sydney next month to catch Derek and Susan with Robert Randolph two days after I see Elvis Costello.

I guess it all depends where you are, but I reckon as long as Moogis is on the table I'll be paying, because in my case, with my interests, I'd be silly not to. The problem is that if the take up rate is as poor as was suggested, you'd wonder how much longer it can last.

The reader's mileage may, of course, vary, but tapping those thoughts out has taken me comfortably up towards show time, and a single blast of guitar has me saving, quitting Text Edit along with everything else that's currently running and heading over to Safari, switching to full screen mode on arrival.

10:25 PA drops out and crowd noise rises in waves, with off-mic comments as the ABB logo looms over the stage. Percussive rattles and guitar notes. Prepare for blast off.

"One, two. Check. One, two." (Gregg, I think)

Screen informs us There's no place like home. A more or less indistinguishable comment from Gregg. Call and response type guitar work from Derek and Warren as the lights come up.

10:28 We're up and running into You Don't Love Me.

10:30 Hello, Gregg's forgotten the words again. That's hardly earth-shattering news as Derek sets off into solo mode. Gregg tries to sneak back in but Derek ain't finished.

10:32 And Warren's off. Looking back over the notes after the fact I've noted that I tend to ignore the Warren solos as far as the comments go, but then I probably miss more of Derek's contributions than I comment on, too.  Two of the very best guitarists going around as far as I'm concerned, though I think Derek tends to get out there a bit more regularly than his guitar-slinging compadre does, and there's a little bit from Derek around 10:34 that underlines what I'm talking about.

10:35 I've got a good feeling about today's show, but then I have a good feeling about most days' shows.

10:36 Midnight Rider. A minute later, there's the first drop out of the day.

10:40 Who To Believe, with a couple of drop outs through proceedings.

10:50 "How ya doin' out there?" Woman Across the River

10:57 Total freeze. Out and back in.

11:03 Old Before My Time. A favourite that doesn't turn up anywhere near often enough IMHO.

11:09 "How we doin' out there?" from Gregg over splashes of cymbal. Launch into mid-tempo groove with Warren heavy on the wah-wah. The penny doesn't drop right away, but eventually I decide it's probably The River's Gonna Rise and that's the way it turns out.

11:19 Into instrumental mode, but which one? Suspect either Bag End or Kind Of Bird, and it turns out to be the latter. Need to buy some Instant Lives with both titles.

11:35 "How about a big Beacon New York City welcome for Donald Fagen?" So what are we going to get. This uptempo bit might well reincarnate itself as Bodhisattva, and I wouldn't have minded if it did, but it morphs into Down Along the Cove.

Donald appears to be intent on channelling Ray Charles.

11:39 Derek on what may well be Duane's gold top Les Paul. Saw a reference to said axe somewhere over the past week, probably re. the Fillmore East anniversary show.

11:43 Oteil skips off and is replaced by a silver headed dude on bass, who turns out to be one Lincoln Schleifer. Another bloke I've never heard of, though I suspect that I should have. Antipodean isolation and all that.

10:45 Off into something that I don't recognise at first, but eventually identify Shakedown Street.

11:50 Two name checks for Mr. Fagen, none for the to-then anonymous bass player. Somehow don't think this would be seen as startling news by the International Bass Players' Union.

That's half time, so it's off to rustle up something that'll go with the glass of Fermoy Estate Sauvignon Blanc that's left over from last night. There's a similar amount of Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling for Ron (Later Ron) that comes with me as I make my way back into the office.

12:20 Back from lunch with Riesling and Taj Mahal accompanied by the Pointer Sisters. Taj certainly seems to get his share of time over the PA.

12:22 Ready for the resumption.

12:24 Ain't Wastin' Time No More. Nice solid opener. I could possibly describe it as a Tubby Taylor rather than Michael Slater or Matthew Hayden type opener, but cricket references will probably fly straight over the heads of Stateside redress. What the hell, do it anyway.

12:32 So what's next? A voice just off-mic says "That's the damnedest thing I ever heard?" Must be some dude picking up the cricket analogy.

12:33 Statesboro Blues.

12:38 Gregg chimes in with Paddy's Day wishes. "Hope ya had a good one. Hope you're still having a good one."

Probably wouldn't be if they'd sighted the green hot dogs in a snack bar in a Townsville shopping centre many years ago. Greenish bread rolls were bad enough, and the murky green hot dog was truly off-putting, but the green orange juic was truly obscene


12:51 Total freeze as the song finishes prompts an out and back in on the second attempt, and the process takes long enough to see us into Born Under A Bad Sign.

There's a bloke in a hat sitting in on guitar, sort of facially like an eighties John Mayall, but it's almost certainly someone else. Hard to tell under that hat.

Subsequent information around 12:58 identifies him as Brad Whitford from Aerosmith.

There's also a young bloke who's much more ostentatiously physical than the regular resident on Butch's kit (Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers), and we're subsequently advised of Bobby Allende on Marc's percussive devices. Didn't notice him at the time.

1:06 The Same Thing, with the same three guests sitting in.

1:06 > Oteil, thinking we might be in for the percussive switcheroo, but then that can't happen with this young bloke on Butch's kit. Or can it?

1:07 > Band. Brad Whitford solo.

1:13 Butch is on his way back, which is when I pick up on the presence of the other percussionist.

1:15 No One Left To Run With. Hmmm.

1:20 > Drums switcheroo. No bass solo, but Oteil had his turn just back there. He lurks with intent behind Butch's kit, then pops into the driver's seat.

1:28 Oteil vacates, Butch heads back.

1:37 "Thank y'all so much. Y'all been a great bunch. We'll be here tomorrow night and the next." So I guess that's it for the second set.

1:41 Well, that's getting on for five minutes. Can't be over, because if it was over we'd be getting Little Martha, wouldn't we? So what's the delay? Some particularly tricky guest setup? Movement on stage, but no action.

1:43 Stage announcements introduce Leo Nocentelli and Brad Whitford on guitar, and Lincoln Schleifer on bass. No Derek.


1:53 Is that it? Two drop outs at the end. Out and back in to Little Martha. Another good show, but it didn't quite hit the same heights that the end of the previous show did, but then there ain't too many things that do!

Set 1
You Don't Love Me
Midnight Rider
Who To Believe
Woman Across The River
Old Before My Time
River's Gonna Rise
Kind Of Bird
Down Along The Cove (Donald Fagen, Piano, Melodica & Vocals)
Shakedown Street (Donald Fagen, Piano & Vocals, Lincoln Schleifer, Bass)

Set 2
Ain't Wastin' Time No More
Statesboro Blues
Born Under A Bad Sign (Chad Smith, Drums, Bobby Allende, Persussion, Brad Whitford, Guitar)
The Same Thing (Chad Smith, Drums, Bobby Allende, Persussion, Brad Whitford, Guitar)
No One To Run With> Drums> No One To Run With

Southbound (Leo Nocentelli, Guitar, Lincoln Schleifer, Bass, Brad Whitford, Guitar)

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