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

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