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

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