November 18, 2006
Unveiling a good chunk of their High and Mighty recording was the task at hand for Gov't Mule's November 18 show at Cincinnati's Taft Theatre.
Slamming into "Blind Man in the Dark" to start the evening, Mule founders Warren Haynes on guitar and Matt Abts on drums combined their rhythms in perfect, synchronized solos, adding drama and tension. Bassist Andy Hess' rumblings and Danny Louis' linear keyboard lines provided a skanking flow to Haynes' and Abts' dub grooves on the reggae flavored and politically charged "Unring The Bell." High and Mighty's "Million Miles From Yesterday" proved to be the first set's crown jewel as GM tore through the leisurely paced number with tightly bound reverberation and sound effects.
"So Weak, So Strong" deceptively set a pattern for set two, which soon morphed into a pseudo Phil and friends-like session that had the band ranging from covers of Bob Marley's "Lively Up Yourself" to the Box Tops' "The Letter" and a swirling, rapid paced version of The Grateful Dead's "The Other One," before succumbing to the pounding, percussion laden extended solo of drummer Abts. Haynes, Louis and Hess then took the stage to add final touches to the jam by ripping through a reverential take on The Beatles' "The End" from Abbey Road.
To end the concert, Gov't Mule burned through the hard rocking title track of High and Mighty, "Mr. High and Mighty," enabling the denizens on the floor to revel in Haynes' forceful, stinging guitar leads and booming vocals.
After returning to encore with "Child of the Earth," the group again chose another artist's composition to end one of their best performances in the Queen City by extending their diverse improvisational abilities with surgical skill on Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."