The Allman Brothers bring it home in the Peach State

Written by Sean Hughes / Photos by Lisa Keel / Peachtree Images

August 14, 2012

The Allman Brothers Band (w/ moe.)
Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Atlanta, GA
August 1, 2012

 

 

In what many coined a “hometown show,” the band that once called the Peach State “home” and the undeniable heroes of southern jam-rock, The Allman Brothers Band, stopped in Atlanta for for a foray at Chastain Park Amphitheatre for the first time in four years. In tow was a group of five guys, also known as moe., who served as the opening act for the evening. 

Early in the evening, fans knew that things would be special when Allman guitarist, Warren Haynes, stepped out during moe.’s set for a not-so-subtle sit-in during “Opium,”  the band’s opus from 2001′s Dither. Penned by bassist and vocalist, Rob Derhak, the tune is a spiraling ode to the poppy nectar, and on this night, it served as the highlight (courtesy of an all parts equal six-stringed assault from Haynes and moe.’s Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey) of what was an otherwise lackluster but nicely lubricating set.

By the time that The Allman Brothers took the stage, the mid-sized outdoor Chastain venue was filled to the brim with the uniquely cross-sectioned ABB faithful.

Opening the evening with “One Way Out,” the band landed in “Statesboro Blues” and from there, it was one hit after the next, leaving jaw-dropping fans of both old and new in the wake.

As is par, the summer night’s humid Atlanta air was as thick as grits and as damp as an otter’s pocket. Oddly enough though, it was perfect; each note, whether those sliding from the guitar of Derek Trucks or an elongated A7 from Gregg, seemingly taking just a bit longer to break the barrier between amp to soul. It was as though that smidgen of time allowed for more anticipation and therefore, more satisfaction once tasted.

Much ado has been made over Gregg’s health recently and rightfully so. With the all too unfortunate autopen-gate in May, Allman was forced to admit that much of the recent speculation has been true. But judging by the performance in Atlanta alone, one would clearly call any talk of health problems “shenanigans” or merely attribute it all to the natural issues that come with getting older. His ivory-tickling was completely audible and clean, his voice was clear and his posture was erect as he watched over bassist, Oteil Burbridge, and guitarists, Trucks and Haynes, with the commanding eye of a statesman and the glimmering pride of a father.

As noted above, the majority of the night could have very well served as a very well played “greatest hits” outing, interspersed with truly grand covers. It all come complete with “Whipping Post,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” “Dreams” and “Born Under a Bad Sign”(ft. William Bell) and “That’s What Love Will Make You Do” (ft. Ike Stubblefield) amongst others. The only thing missing was a bit of bit of “Melissa” under a “Blue Sky,” as Derek and Warren played off of each other as an ongoing Duane Allman montage was projected behind them, causing those who saw Duane play both miss him and appreciate the two before them in an incongruous series of emotional back and forth –  while those that never did wondered what it was like.

As the night was clearly drawing to a close, something that many had predicted but none were too sure of happened when moe. guitarist, Al Schnier, and percussionist Jim Loughlin rejoined the stage for a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Franklin’s Tower” that was vocally led by Oteil and made every deadhead in the crowd beam as they celebrated Jerry Garcia’s birthday in style with The Allman Brothers Band and guests from a band with much stature unto itself. History buffs recalled the time that something similar happened — when moe.’s Garvey, Loughlin and drummer, Vinnie Amico joined up with ABB for the same song at the annual “Another one for Woody” gig in late 2010 — while the rest simple basked in the glory of the gift they were being given.  With Schnier taking the first solo and ABB’s Trucks and Haynes taking the second and third, the adoring Chastain throng fell victim to an onslaught that superseded face melting… it was mind ripping.

After serving up the aforementioned serving of “Liz Reed” and the encored “Whipping Post,” fans began that walk out into the night. It was clear, from the drenched shirts and wide eyes of the souls that trudged the stairs and traversed the aisles, that the evening had been one that will be recalled for quite some time and possibly for as many different reasons as there were patrons in the house.

Night in and night out, one doesn’t necessarily know what he will get from ABB. With Gregg and even Jaimoe, age and health cannot help but cause the occasional flare-up. However, when this band is on, they are as on as any band currently out there, if not markedly better. In many ways, time has served to age the Allman blend in the way in which it does wine. For those who can appreciate that, they know that when the taste is sweet, it erases any memory of bitterness.

 


Setlist

 

One Way Out, Statesboro Blues, Don’t Want You No More >It’s Not My Cross To Bear, That’s What Love Will Make You Do*, Hot Lanta, Leave My Blues At Home, Born Under A Bad Sign**, Dreams, The Sky Is Crying, Franklin’s Tower^, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

Encore: Whipping Post

Notes: *w/ Ike Stubblefield **w/ William Bell  #Al Schnier  & Jim Loughlin (moe.)

 

To buy a soundboard copy (CD) of this show, hit up our friends at Hittin’ The Note.


 

Click the thumbnail(s) for more photos from the show by Lisa Keel

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