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

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