Founding Gov’t Mule members Warren Haynes (guitar, vocals) and Matt Abts (drums) with now-permanent bandmates Danny Louis (keyboards) and Andy Hess (bass) performed Mule’s monumental 1,000th concert, Friday, April 16, at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco.
The group proved what ten years and a thousand shows sounds like with a seamlessly tune-packed, blues-drenched opening set. The second began with what seemed like a simple appearance by bassist Phil Lesh on “Lay of the Sunflower.” But this soon turned into an unexpected all Dead set as drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann took up the unusual two-kit drum set-up, and guitarist Bob Weir and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti also took the stage. during “Cryptical Envelopment.” Gov’t Dead, so to speak, dealt a powerful serving of “The Other One,” Wang Dang Doodle,” Sugaree,” “Viola Lee Blues” and a “Turn on Your Lovelight” closer.
Only the Mule crew returned for an extraordinarily jammed-out third set, marked by legendary New Orleans funk group the Meter’s Zigaboo Modeliste sat in on Robert Johnson’s “32-20 Blues” and Neville Brothers’ “Fiyo on the Bayou.” The show ended the only way it possibly could — with a rousing version of “Soulshine.”
Gov’t Mule will continue to celebrate with a Tenth Anniversary two-night stand at New Orleans’ Orpheum Theatre on Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1.
While honoring the band’s massive history, Haynes, Abts, Louis and Hess continue to look to the future. The foursome is currently assembling the first Gov’t Mule studio album since the addition of Louis and Hess as permanent band members. It will also be the first release since the extensive guest-gathering Deep End series and the first proper band-based recorded effort since founding bassist Allen Woody’s passing August 26, 2000. The recording is scheduled for an autumn 2004 release on ATO Records.
Meanwhile Warren Haynes’ solo acoustic album, LIVE AT BONNAROO (ATO Records), which documents the entire 16-song set Haynes performed at the 2003 Bonnaroo music festival, will be released June 8, 2004. The release features Mule favorites “Beautifully Broken” and “Fallen Down” and some exciting covers, like the glorious version of Radiohead’s “Lucky” and a redefining interpretation of U2’s “One.”