Allman Brothers a respite from the blues at Bluesville

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Allman Brothers Band
Bluesville
Tunica, Mississippi
Septembe 27, 2008

The Allman Brothers have made a career out of perseverance, and when they rolled through the casino-town of Tunica, they showed once again that they can make the best out of any situation.  

abb-b.jpgTunica casino shows can be rough – generally, they’re short, as the main point of a casino is for patrons to lose their money, not spend time watching music.  The average time of a Tunica concert has got to be around an hour and a half.

The Allman Brothers show at Bluesville, housed inside the Horseshoe Casino, wasn’t much different – probably 100 minutes from start to finish.  However, in that span, the Brothers packed their performance with massive guitar solos, stellar drumming, and soul – everything they’ve been putting out for nearly 40 years.

The show started with a roaring version of the instrumental "Don’t Want You No More," weaved into it’s counterpart, "It’s Not My Cross To Bear." The latter had a slight misstep, as Gregg Allman forgot the opening lyrics to "Not My Cross."  No matter, though, as after one extra measure of thundering Oteil Burbridge bass, Allman came back in on cue. 

The band blazed through a growling version of "Walk On Gilded Splinters" and "Done Somebody Wrong" before Warren Haynes took the lead on one of the stand-outs of the night, "Forty-Four Blues." The bluesy number featured everything that makes the Allman Brothers (past and present) great – road-weary vocals and searing dual-lead guitar that they’re known for.  As the band approaches it’s 40th anniversary, it’s still cranking out music that’s as fresh as it was in the 60s, and that’s a feat in itself.

Later in the night, the Allman Brothers’ "Leave My Blues At Home" made anyone in attendance do just that.  Music has always been a cathartic vehicle for many – a way to forget about everything that’s going on in your life. In a time when the stock market plummets daily and the country teeters on uncertainty with a war both abroad and between two Presidential candidates, as Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes traded blistering guitar solos, the blues were set aside by everyone in the room. 

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Each ridiculous guitar lick from one guitarist was matched by the other, and the two went back and forth, helping each other build the song up to a peak before it was brought back down to Earth.  "Leave My Blues At Home" was definitely the song of the night in a show packed with memorable moments.

abb-c.jpgAfter a solid rendition of Van Morrison’s "And It Stoned Me," the band went to work on "Rocking Horse."  After Haynes unleashed yet another monstrous solo and passed the spotlight to Trucks, the song slowed down to a much more leisurely, deliberate pace that sounded very un-"Rocking Horse"-like.  After the Trucks section of the song, it abrubtly picked up speed and the band finished up the tune before the familiar opening notes of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed."

The instrumental masterpiece was quintessential Allman Brothers – syncronous electric guitar, walloping bass lines, and a rhythm section that’s locked.  As the band left the stage for the drum solo, the face of the rhythm section changed as bassist Burbridge sat down behind Butch Trucks’ drum kit and went to work.  The band’s encore way typical – "One Way Out."

As the lights of Bluesville were raised and the patrons filed out to lose their paychecks at the craps table, dump the spare change into the slot machines, and get back to the unsure world of reality, one thing was a certainty:  The Allman Brothers are playing as hot as any band in the land. 

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