The Allmans Beat Out the Gators

Seriously, name a band with better dual-lead guitarists over the last 25 years (ever?). Name a current touring band with more history, with a more rich catalog of originals and covers. Go ‘head, name a band with better chemistry, with a more devoted fan base, with a perpetual list of special guests dying to sit in any night they’re allowed. The Allmans are the quintessential taken-for-granted entity in rock, and I almost went the entire Beacon run without seeing them. But thanks to a $50 last second-offering, I made it to the Upper West Side just in time.


Interestingly, a quick side note: a pet adoption agency set up camp right outside the venue, and I could only think they’d have a much better shot to have someone adopt this pet with a younger crowd. The Allmans crowd has no interest in adopting and malnourishing pets the way the Jam Kidz do; next time Bisco and STS9 come to town, that’s when you set up shoppe.


I tried to sit in the loge with my friends. Actually, since I didn’t have a seat up there (and shockingly, EVERYONE was sitting down), the four of us tried to stand in the back of the loge. No harm, no foul, we thought. But then an usher came by and told us to sit down, which we promptly argued. “There’s no standing any more,” he responded politely. “But isn’t this where ‘standing room only’ is?,” I retorted. “There’s no standing here now?”

“Not anymore, man…everyone needs to find a seat now.”
“That’s fucking horrendous. I’m in the second row of this place. I just want to hang with my friends back here, in a WORSE seat, where I’m doing no harm.”
“It’s Cablevision. Since they bought this place, all kinds of rules are flying in.”
“The Fucking Dolans are fucking responsible for this?”
“Exactly, man. I’m a Deadhead myself. This is handed down from above, nothing I can do about it. I’m on your team here.”
“But you’re not. On our team is saying ‘Damn the Man’ and letting us stay right here so we don’t have to sit down and be stuffy. You’re the Man now (dawg).”

A bad sign for the post-renovation Beacon, if you ask me. Long story short, thanks the Dolans I had to find my real seat, which was quite awesome. I was no more than 10 feet away from Oteil, 15 feet away from Derek, 20 feet from Warren and 25 feet from Jon Voight dressed as Willie Nelson for Halloween. Great times.


Ace + Beacon = Jimmy Vivino. For the second time in as many weeks I’ve seen the Max Weinberg 7/Fab Faux guitarist play on the theater’s stage (the other, with Levon Helm’s band). Jimmy sat in on both 44 Blues and Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?, the latter of which really took off in a positive way. I’ve never been a big fan of three guitarists on stage at the same time, but these guys didn’t step all over each other and improvised pretty well together.

Can you call Susan Tedeschi a special guest any more? Is she not basically the Heather Locklear of Melrose Place, always “Guest Starring” but not really? Is this the first review ever to compare Tedeschi to Locklear, or the Allmans to Melrose Place? I’ll take a bow. For the second year in a row I witnessed Trucks’ better half come out and just annihilate the stage, letting everyone know that she comes to play, not just look good (and she does look good). She played an inspired, wonderfully unique take on Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice It’s Allright, then ripped the most unbelievable solo I’ve ever heard a female rip on Feel So Bad. I mean, really, wow, fuck, shit. She NAILED it out there, shredded beyond belief.

Photo Courtesy of DMcCabe on the ABB Forum

Here’s a snippet of the Don’t Think Twice I took from up in the loge (I returned for the second set, sending my friends down in shifts to take my place on the floor — I’m a good guy). If you don’t think I’m hitting that planned Derek and Susan Tour you’re out of your mind. I can’t wait for this thing now…


The other two special guests are currently unidentified — a guitar player on Statesboro Blues and a keyboardist on second-set opener Stormy Monday. The keyboardist was unreal, unfortunately putting Gregg to shame. He was fantastic, tickling a countrified solo that reminded me of a young, cogent Keith Godchaux. Someone find out who that is and report back, because I’m too lazy. But he deserves quite a hand — I remarked to TJ in OH that it’s gonna suck when people listen to the bootleg and not realize that it’s someone else and not Gregg playing that amazing electric piano. “It won’t suck if you’re Gregg Allman,” TJ replied.


Derek and Warren traded lead in a monster In Memory of Elizabeth Reed to close out the second set, and I couldn’t stop applauding for what they did up there. Just brilliance coming out of those two (and I must insert here, Oteil is the unsung hero of this band — good fucking lord, that dude can really play). I could do without the 15 minutes of impassioned, aloof drums in the middle of Liz Reed by some old people with fresh blood, but that’s another story for another time. The Liz was good enough to ignore that sleepy quarter-hour.

This may be our last ABB shows at the Beacon for some time, and I’m content knowing that the last licks of Revival I heard before walking out will stay with me. I can’t think of a strong conclusion to this piece, so I’m gonna end with this thought: Don’t sleep on the Allmans. They really may be the best thing out there.

First Set

End of the Line
Trouble No More
Woman Across The River
Good Clean Fun
44 Blues w/ Jimmy Vivino, guitar
Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad? w/ Vivino

Second Set

Stormy Monday w/unknown keyboard player
Statesboro Blues w/unknown guitar player
Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright w/ Susan Tedeschi
Feel So Bad
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed>
Liz Reed

Encore: Revival 

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