Apparently Spring Training in March isn’t exclusive to Florida and Arizona.
I made the seven-block trek to see the Allman Brothers Band‘s first gig of 2007 at the Beacon Theater. The annual run is really one of the few long-lasting traditions we have left in our scene, though I’m curious to watch what happens when the Beacon closes for renovations next year. I thought the show last night could go one of two ways: We could get the scorching opener with a ton of bustouts, or they could play a straightforward warmup jobber. Unfortunately the latter happened, as the Allman’s spent the night getting into playing shape.
I try to see a couple of ABB shows a year, and I’ve never really left saying “These guys are getting old.” But these guys are getting old. Jaimoe looked pained at times and didn’t add too much to the sound. Gregg Allman’s voice sounded great, but he didn’t contribute to the improvisations. And speaking of improv, there wasn’t too much group improvisation at all. Tons of solos, yes, but there were few moments of true improvisation where the group contributed to the whole sound instead of one guy ripping a solo. At the beginning of Jessica, the rest of the band added brilliant soundscapes and layers as Derek Trucks started his solo, reminding me of what these musicians are capable of. But as Derek progressed it once again turned into a game of who could play the most notes.
The second set’s opener of Midnight Rider was of the most disappointing re-workings of a song I’ve ever heard. What the fuck was that? How can you take one of the best riffs ever written out of that song? Weak sauce. I don’t mean to completely bash the show, and I’m usually a big fluffer, so I’ll admit the night did have moments. Besides Jessica, the other highlights were Stormy Monday, which featured twin creative heady solos from the guitar players and the bass playing of Oteil Burbridge. Oteil holds it down and even showed his drumming skillz during drumz. The encore was the fun pairing of Into The Mystic and One Way Out.
Overall, the song selection just wasn’t what I personally was looking for. I had a good enough time at the show but I left unsatisfied. There are still 179 shows left at the Beacon this year, so I’m sure once the special guests start appearing the band and the crowd will both start feeling it.
I: Hot ‘Lanta, Don’t Keep Me Wondering, Trouble No More, Firing Line, Stormy Monday, Maydell, Instrumental Illness
II: Midnight Rider (GAF Version), Hoochie Coochie Man, End of The Line, Just Before The Bullets Fly, Statesboro Blues, Leave My Blues At Home> JaBuMa(Oteil on drums, Butch on Tympani) > Leave My Blues At Home, Jessica
Encore: Into The Mystic, One Way Out
The band wasn’t the only subdued factor at the show — once again the Beacon balcony let me down. Hardly anyone stood and hardly anyone applauded after the solos and after they finished each song. Remind me to pay the extra $20 for orchestra seats next time. Another thing I’m realizing is that the Beacon Theater has gotten dirty and outdated. I’m starting to get excited for MSG’s renovation.