Beacon night one – an armchair recap

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Forty years.  That’s a long time for a band to play together. 

Sure, it’s not the original line-up.  Sure, they haven’t been forty consecutive years.  But FORTY YEARS?  How many people hold down the same job for ten, much less forty?

The Allman Brothers Band’s Beacon Theatre run kicked off last night in New York city with white text on a black screen, positioned over the stage:


Welcome to the
40th Anniversary of
The Allman Brothers Band ~
Jacksonville 1969 Macon
to The Beacon
New York City 2009

a second screen pops up…

The members of
The Allman Brothers Band
and all their guests
would like to dedicate
these shows
to the man who started it all

and lastly…

Duane Allman
11/20/46 ~ 10/29/71

And with that, it was on.  "Little Martha" poured out of the speakers, done electrically by Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes.  It was a magical moment, homage paid to the guy cut down too early, the guy who did, as the tribute said, start it all.

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And, for the first time in years, I wasn’t there to see it.

Nope, I was 1,095 miles away, watching from my living room couch.  Thanks to Moogis, the brainchild of ABB drummer Butch Trucks, those who can’t make it can still experience it all.

Obviously, it goes without saying that it’s not the same.  Having experienced hundreds of concerts, and multiple Beacon runs, I can say it’s not even close.

But, I’ll take what I can get.  I take small consolation in the fact that the $100 bucks (plus the cost of the cord to connect my laptop to my TV) I paid for Moogis, Trucks’ web company that offers live streaming video of all of the Beacon shows and a ton of archival content, is the same as one ticket to one show.  For my coin, I get the whole run.  I’m telling myself that to dampen the blow, the swift kick to the gut I got each time the band hit the note last night, each time a special guest came onto the stage for a moment of music never before heard.  I mean, at least with their multiple-camera set-up, I get a better view than the folks sitting in the upper balcony, right (said with tongue planted firmly in cheek)?

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Last night the band made a statement.  The hype leading up to this run was unparalleled for any previous Beacon run.  The band came out and said they’d be inviting anyone and everyone that helped to shape the band, and Duane Allman specifically, to the stage.  And last night, things kicked off early.

To close the second set, Taj Mahal came to play.  He sat in on three songs, "Leavin’ Trunk," "44 Blues," and handled all lead vocal duties on "Statesboro Blues."

To open the second set, a third drum kit was set up, and The Band’s Levon Helm came out to join in, along with Teresa Williams, Larry Campbell, and Brian Mitchell.  With the musician count on stage now at eleven, they ran through a few Band tracks, "Ophelia," "I Shall Be Released," and "The Weight," the latter of which also saw Taj Mahal come back out to join in the festivities.  

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This is not to mention the new instrumental tune that surfaced in the first set, the majestic take on Mountain Jam to close the second set, or and of the other sizzling tunes the band played.

You can only glean so much from watching a set on TV.  Sure, the music sounds good, but you don’t get the vibe.  The beer may be cheaper, but there’s no ambiance.  There’s no high-fiving after Derek Trucks rips off another mind-blowing solo.  There’s no vibration in your chest as Oteil thumps away, or the trio of drummers pound their kits so hard you can FEEL it.

So, for you folk that are lucky enough to take in this momentous run, just realize how lucky you are.

And for those of us who just couldn’t make it this year – at least we can watch, which is a small second place trophy, but it’s still a trophy. 

And I’ll take it.

Photos courtesy of The Allman Brothers Band / Derek McCabe

Set I:
Little Martha Duane Tribute (Warren and Derek plus slideshow)
Don’t Want You No More >
It’s Not My Cross To Bear
I Walk On Guilded Splinters
The Same Thing
Midnight Rider
Leave My Blues At Home
Leaving Trunk
(with Taj Mahal)
.44 Blues (with Taj Mahal)
Statesboro Blues (with Taj Mahal)

Set II:
Ophelia (with Levon Helm, Theresa Williams, Larry Campbell and Brian Mitchell)
I Shall Be Released
(with Levon Helm, Theresa Williams, Larry Campbell and Brian Mitchell)
The Weight (with Taj Mahal, Levon Helm, Theresa Williams, Larry Campbell and Brian Mitchell)
Black Hearted Woman
Stormy Monday
Mountain Jam

Encore:
Southbound

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