Allman Brothers Band Orpheum Shows in Review: Pt. 2

HT’s newest contributor, Stuart Raper, was in attendance at last week’s Allman Brothers Band Orpheum run and will file reports on each show. Yesterday we shared his take on the November 29 run opener and today we’ve got his viewpoints on the second night (November 30).

Having given it their all the night before with At Fillmore East, the Allman Brothers Band had to rally hard to come back and play Eat A Peach in its entirety at the second show of the group’s Orpheum Theatre run. This was no small task but they worked hard to guarantee their fans a special night of music. There was certainly a lot of expectation in the air, much of it over hearing Blue Sky sung for the first time in over five years on an ABB stage. Most of the songs on Eat A Peach are still regularly played in the Allmans setlist, however hearing them all in this particular order, with Blue Sky and Little Martha at the end, was something everyone was looking forward to in the second set.

The band opened up with Revival, which put everyone in a great mood as Gregg and Warren sang “love is everywhere” again and again. Haynes took on much of the lead guitar on this one and played some great solos, while Derek backed him up wonderfully on rhythm. Both of these guitarists are so talented and it’s enthralling seeing them play together. They have a mutual love and respect for one another mixed in, with just a dash of friendly competition. The pair rotate solos and make sure that each other’s riffs get heard, but still push one another to keep things fresh. For this first set, it seemed as though Derek was happy to play a little more rhythm then he had the previous night while Warren stepped up on lead.

Allman Brothers Band – Revival

Haynes ripped a mean solo on Sailing ‘Cross the Devil’s Sea before trading verses with Gregg on Soulshine. Oteil, steady rockin’, picked up the Allen Woody signature bass for this song, both for its great sound and for the memory of its namesake who served this band so well. Warren took on Berry Oakley’s vocal duties for a rockin’ Hoochie Coochie Man, while Derek played some great slide over it. Next, the band stretched out on the instrumental Egypt before easing into a great version of the old blues classic Who’s Been Talking, with Scott Murawski of Max Creek, adding some great guitar licks to the song. Warren sang it great, and all three guitarists seemed to feed of each other. They closed the first set out with Nobody Left To Run With, an abridged version without the extended jam. Gregg lapsed on a few lyrics to this one, but the rest of the band closed it out strong.

Next up was Eat A Peach presented from front to back, though many of these songs are regularly played, it was a special treat to get them in this order. Not to mention hearing Blue Sky sung again. This set had a few bumps in the road, as most often do to one extent or another. But all in all… it was a joy to hear.

Allman sounded good on Ain’t Wastin Time No More, the tune he wrote after he lost his brother. It’s one that fans particularly enjoy hearing and the band did it justice. Next up was the epic instrumental Les Brers In A Minor. The ensemble milked the spacy intro before Oteil fired up its mean, pounding bassline. As a lifelong Allman Brothers fan, I must say that this is one of my favorite basslines that Berry Oakley ever invented. It gives the song a rumbling groove and when hearing it played by someone as gifted as Oteil Burbridge, it’s a true force to be reckoned with.

Burbridge’s work fueled some great guitar interplay between Trucks and Haynes, Gregg had his organ fills here and there, then would lay back and let the guitars have a showdown. Then, Gregg picked up his acoustic guitar and played a sweet version of Melissa. After those gorgeous vocals, it was time for some instrumental jamming.

The Brothers played Mountain Jam all the way through, with each of the song’s movements taking on its own charm. Derek tore into the first solo, playing without his slide, just bare fingers, and made his pickups howl. It’s incredible to see a player like him, with endless chops, who’s never short on inspiration, take on a song like Mountain Jam that lets him stretch out so much. It’s an amazing experience and one that can probably only be equaled by those who saw Duane Allman and Dickey Betts do it 40 years ago. It also showed how foolish anyone is to think of Derek as solely a slide player. Though one of the most amazing slide players ever, he plays equally hard without that glass on his finger. Warren backed him up throwing in some great notes of his own, before taking off on his own fiery solo.

Saxophonist Paul Lieberman emerged to add some jazz flourishes to the tune before Mountain Jam went into drums. When the instrumentalists returned for the next movement of the tune, Derek and Warren continued to duel back and forth. At one point Warren was making bird noises above the guitar’s neck with his slide while Derek hit harmonics. Then, the guitarists came back to the opening theme crescendo and closed it out strong.  All in all, Mountain Jam was a beautiful display of the current version of the Allman Brothers Band taking so many different themes and ideas and blending them all into one legendary song.  One Way Out got the crowd moving next and most in the audience erupted into cheer as Derek took a scorching solo on slide. Stand Back was rocking, they nailed the changes and Gregg sang and played organ well.

The crowd awaited in anticipation as the opening notes to Blue Sky echoed through the Orpheum. They’ve played instrumental jams on this tune numerous times before, but haven’t sung it in years. Gregg sang the opening verse and chorus with his own bluesy drawl, not with the same country twang as Dickey on the original, but still soulful even though you could tell that these performances took a lot of his energy. There was a round of lovely guitar solos but then Gregg had a little mix-up involving the second verse and came in on top of Warren’s solo. He realized what he had done, laid back and gave Warren room for another lovely harmonic lead. When the band went back into the second verse and chorus one more time, Gregg nailed it. Though not flawless, it was still lovely to hear a Blue Sky played with heart. The group broke for the encore and then Derek and Warren came back to play Little Martha, a song of poignant grace and joyful melody. It’s also the only original song that Duane Allman ever wrote, named for a tombstone in Macon’s Rose Hill Cemetery. The two guitarists played it masterfully, exuding honor for the legacy that this record helped to create. Not wanting to end on a soft note, they came back for a rocking Statesboro Blues. Warren took the lead and sounded great.

There may have been a few bumps in the road along the way, but this night was a wonderful musical journey from a band that never stopped believing. Thirty-nine years after Eat A Peach was released, it’s great to see these men still playing their hearts out. Though the lineup may have changed, the Allman Brothers magic is definitely still there.

Set I: Revival, Sailing ‘Cross Devils Sea, Soulshine, Hoochie Coochie Man, Egypt, Who’s Been Talking^, No One Left To Run With Anymore

Set II: Ain’t Wasting Time No More, Les Brers in A Minor, Melissa, Mountain Jam*, One Way Out, Trouble No More, Stand Back, Blue Sky

Encore: Little Martha^^, Statesboro Blues

^ – w/ Scott Murawski on guitar
* – w/ Paul Lieberman on sax
^^ – Just Derek and Warren


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