accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

The Allman Brothers keep it mellow and cool

Gregg Allman and Derek Trucks at a benefit concert last summer. Photo credit: Getty Images

Gregg Allman and Derek Trucks at a benefit concert last summer. Photo credit: Getty Images

A few minutes before 9 p.m., The Allman Brothers Band sauntered onstage, immediately headed into a group huddle to confer over the set list, then noodled around with their instruments for a few minutes before sliding into “One Way Out.”

The vibe never changes at an ABB show, which loyal fans, like the sold out mass at Chastain Park Amphitheatre, can attest, is exactly the way they want it.

It’s mellow, designed for absorbing more than shouting along – though there was some of that – and the crowd always ranges from teens to seniors, with motorcycle muscle T-shirts happily sharing space with Jimmy Buffett-like straw hats.

At Wednesday’s show, within minutes of finding his zone in “One Way Out,” Gregg Allman worked his way from whispering vocals to a guttural, emphatic delivery, while Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson beat out the first of many complex drum breakdowns and Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks wielded their guitars in a thrilling musical duel.

The band is just off a touring bout with Santana, so they’re well-rehearsed, which showed during their taut, two-hour set.

Though the music is always the centerpiece at an ABB show, the video screen behind the drumming unit – which also includes percussionist Marc Quiñones –  flashed old photos of the band as Haynes’ slide guitar ushered in the boogie bounce of  “Statesboro Blues.”

Both Haynes and the multi-faceted Derek Trucks are refreshingly unfussy players – they simply get the job done magnificently well.

It’s almost amusing watching Trucks – who sports an identical blonde ponytail with Allman – tear out a graceful, yet monstrous riff, then casually tuck a piece of stray hair behind his ear. It always looks easy coming from those with innate talent.

Allman, meanwhile, seemed to grow stronger throughout the set. As he injected church organ and sung the heavy-lidded “It’s Not My Cross to Bear” – which shares part of its title with his recent autobiography – Allman seemed to feel every note he played and sang.

On occasion he left the stage and turned his duties to other musicians, such as on the barn burner “That’s What Love Will Make You Do,” sung with robust aplomb by Haynes. But he was a regular sight behind his stack of instruments, rolling through “Leave My Blues at Home” and the psychedelic shuffle of “Dreams.”

Haynes had a surprise for the audience when he introduced William Bell, the longtime Atlanta-based songwriter/musician, who popped out to sing his blues classic, “Born Under a Bad Sign.”

Though the more prominent members of ABB receive the most attention, the value of Oteil Burbridge, a member since 1997, cannot be overstated. His anchoring of songs while staying locked in a groove with two drummers and a percussionist is a tricky accomplishment, which he pulls off effortlessly.

Warren Haynes (right, at a benefit show last summer) is a double threat of amazing guitarist and strong singer. Photo credit: Getty Images

Warren Haynes (right, at a benefit show last summer) is a double threat of amazing guitarist and strong singer. Photo credit: Getty Images

The bassist stepped forward later in the show to sing “Franklin’s Tower,” the Grateful Dead song performed in honor of Jerry Garcia’s 70th birthday; this time, Burbridge played alongside Al Schnier, the guitarist from show openers moe., who handled lead duties on the song, which worked into a feverish explosion of sound.

ABB’s love of their blues roots was fully realized during “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” a song with ties to Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, the band’s headquarters for many years, and also where Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are buried.

In a recent interview with the AJC, Butch Trucks noted that if any member of ABB could no longer tour, then that would be it for the band.

Let’s hope everyone stays hearty, because these guys have a lot more bite left in them.

(For more Allman coolness, check out this video of Gregg performing with fellow Georgians in the Zac Brown Band last month.)

Follow me on Twitter |Facebook

By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

59 comments Add your comment

ABB

August 2nd, 2012
1:53 am

The show was sick…

[...] News here – Atlanta Music Scene ← Wednesday Night Webcast Cancel [...]

Really?

August 2nd, 2012
7:29 am

Keep it mellow? Really?.. I was there.. mellow would be the last word I would use. It was hot hot hot… Trucks was on fire throughout as was Haynes.
Mellow? Really?

EchoReally

August 2nd, 2012
8:08 am

I echo really. Mellow ??? I heard the show from my house and they were smokin.

urban redneck

August 2nd, 2012
8:08 am

guess it depends on what you were on.

that's the way I feel

August 2nd, 2012
8:31 am

Franklin’s Tower was great, but That’s What Love Will Make You Do really said happy birthday to uncle Jerry for me! I was worried about the sound of ABB at Chastain, but thought it was right on the money…thanks Allman Bros! And thanks Chastain for running out of beer so I’m not hung over this morning!

JimboWhit

August 2nd, 2012
8:43 am

They sure were mellow at Merriweather in Baltimore on Monday. No Dreams, No Eliz Reed (I know its Dickie’s song), Gregg was about a 1/2 a second behind on all of his lyrics. I usually time the events but I think that since it was the last day for ABB and Santana to be touring together, ABB yeilded to Santana to close and they were pretty damn good. I’m a HUGE ABB fan but I walked away saying “well, I’ve still got my ipod”. Would I go again? Sure would, its the ABB and Santana.

StottsEra

August 2nd, 2012
9:12 am

good review! i agree with mellow….it depends what your definition of mellow is, i thought this was quite

Midnight Rider

August 2nd, 2012
9:47 am

musical legends …

good show

August 2nd, 2012
10:02 am

It was a good show. There were a few great moments with Warren and Derrick jamming together. Age and drugs have definitely taken their toll on Greg – but he is still doing it. Hope he does it for many more years.

Melissa Ruggieri

August 2nd, 2012
10:14 am

Ah, “mellow.” Yes, I did mean it more in the sense that there is always a relaxed vibe at an ABB show. No flashy stunts, no pyro, just good, solid music that you want to sit back and absorb.
No insult implied, believe me!

Cheers,
Melissa

Smarty

August 2nd, 2012
10:17 am

What a great show!! Like a fine bottle of wine that gets better with age and of course gigs.

AtlantaSteve

August 2nd, 2012
10:30 am

This is my 9th or 10th ABB show, and I must say that I think it is time to retire the band. At times, it felt like a tribute show. I will have great memories of the vibe and comaraderie between band and fans. I am glad my two children saw them, too. The road does go on forever.

Paul in South GA

August 2nd, 2012
10:40 am

This show was GREAT! There cannot be better guitarists in the known universe than Trucks and Haynes. And I saw dozens of apparently parent/child attendees- it is so great that in my mid-fifties my 20-something kids are obsessed with ABB and Government Mule. I love how these guys bridge the generation gap.

jeffrey

August 2nd, 2012
10:47 am

I was there. Might be the last time for these guys. You never know. Derek and warren are unreal and the rest of the band too. Greg is old and not quite as lovable as Levon helm but still a great musician. I really enjoyed when Derek would start with Greg and then kind of tell the band what was up. My running joke with my buddy last nite was for Derek it was so easy because he’s so amazing.

Don

August 2nd, 2012
11:15 am

AtlantaSteve:

Retire the band?
Please tell us who does a better job that you would prefer?

\

PMC

August 2nd, 2012
11:16 am

My first Allman Brother show. Was really excited to hear Trucks and Haynes, wow those guys can play. What a treat to hear Born Under A Bad Sign and The Sky is Crying.

Solid Review Melissa. I was struck by the broad range of people in the audience as well. Certainly all walks of life in attendance.

PMC

August 2nd, 2012
11:17 am

Gregg sounded great too!

Tyler Sanders

August 2nd, 2012
11:18 am

There was a great moment when Gregg came back onstage in the middle of a song, and Derek walked over, looked at Gregg, and made a “C” with his hand to tell Gregg what key they were in. I just found that cool.

LG

August 2nd, 2012
11:23 am

“Mellow” and “Cool” are two words I would NOT use to describe the show from last night. It was a dance party and super HOT HOT HOT! Great show! No better way to spend JG’s 70th birthday! The Franklin’s Tower was right on time! Front row doesn’t suck either ;)

AtlantaSteve

August 2nd, 2012
11:28 am

There are no comparisons to ABB. My point is that there comes a time that the quality of the product suffers more than the enjoyment it offers. When Gregg cannot sit at his organ for a less than 2 hour show, when Jaimoe watches from the sidelines for several songs, when “guests” fill in for the band members, things look more like a tribute show than a rock concert.

shaggy

August 2nd, 2012
11:29 am

Right Melissa…mellow, because there were no thrashing guitars or unintelligible lyrics, just great playing that defines ABB…that makes the “vibe” mellow….Sheeeesh!

Mcdonough Dawg

August 2nd, 2012
11:39 am

AWESOME,and HOTTTT the Brothers bring us together. Especially us that grew up around Macon in the 70’s…..they keep jammin, we keep commin’…….rock on….great article….as far as Chastain, get some more BEER and add food, they missed the boat on that. Of course at $11 a beer they can buy a boat.

steve whitmire

August 2nd, 2012
11:40 am

I didn’t get to go, alas, we live way up in the Georgia mountains and it’s just too long a haul all the way downtown. But I enjoyed your review very much, good work Melissa. Love, love, love this band and really enjoyed Greg’s book which was awesome, he was great on Colbert’s show, maybe I’ll catch them next time, I hope.

KW

August 2nd, 2012
12:00 pm

I am sorry I have to agree Atlanta Stever… There comes a time when things must end. For me it was the second show I saw after they kicked Dickey Betts out. I saws about 16 or 17 shows for 89′ to 2001 and haven’t been back since. It’s not the same sorry people it’s just not. As much as I respect Warren and Derek it is just a tribute band now. Just the same as I won’t go see the Who play my favorite Who album Quadrophenia. I saw it with Entwistle in 97′ and I don’t want to ruin the memories it’s just not the same. All good things…..

fenderman

August 2nd, 2012
12:21 pm

Ilove ABB and everyone in it. I missed last night’s show but did see them at Chastain about 4 year ago and it was good but I left a little disappointed. Just like some of the reviewers today, I’m bummed I missed last night’s show to form my own opinion. It is a different band without Dickey.

ramsey

August 2nd, 2012
12:49 pm

Melissa,

It sounds like you should’ve said, “HOT, HOT, HOT” instead…
Don’t want to offend the old dudes by calling their favorite band “mellow!”
(I tell ya… The gall of these whippersnappers today!)

hornblowermg

August 2nd, 2012
12:50 pm

i have always loved any version of our Allman Bros., and i always will. i could go to hear them at Piedmont, and in Athens, and semi-free at the Memorial; but i just can’t afford music anymore, and even our Bros. don’t sing for free. yes, music ain’t free is it? $42? where do ya’ll get that kind of cash?

DB

August 2nd, 2012
12:51 pm

I was there in Piedmont Park in 1969 and the band was better witth Duane and Berry but this group has had to move on…..the ABB is still the best live band ever!!!!

JasonK

August 2nd, 2012
1:05 pm

Loved it! The band was ON last night. You could tell from the smiles, eye contact, musical dynamics. I’ve seen a lot of ABB shows and you could tell they were having a great time and the crowd picked up on it. Gregg sounded great too. “Not My Cross To Bear” and “Dreams” were classic Gregg. He’s still got if folks. Warren and Derek left it all out there. Sorry haters, I love this band and always will! Now if only they could solve the parking problem around Chastain…Oh well.

urban redneck

August 2nd, 2012
1:26 pm

of course the shows are not the same as the old days. dude’s gettin old. there is no way in hell they should stop playing, though. the main reason to keep on with it is to get new fans……..not for money but just for the joy of teachin old music to new kids. PNC above stated it was his/her first show. if they stopped now just because gregg is old, PNC never would have had that experience. somehow, seeing it on youtube just isn’t the same.

wanna see old? look at aerosmith. Jesus Christ. at least ABB gets some fresh blood every now and then.

Melissa Ruggieri

August 2nd, 2012
1:27 pm

Ramsey – I wish I still fell under the “whippersnapper” category :)

Mike

August 2nd, 2012
1:37 pm

I’m someone who saw Duane four times and those who think they are now a tribute band I think they are missing the boat. The Allman’s are one of the three legendary live bands along with the Dead and the Who. Have they aged of course but is it still good. yes it is. If they were going through the motions then I would agree that it is a tribute band but I for one think they are still feeling it and making it happen. As far as the Who I probably will take my kids to see them. They will put on a great show and have pride in their performances. These bands love to play live and know how to do it.
I did see the Who pre Tommy and the Fillmore east and was at the closing of the Fillmore east with ABB. Sorry Springsteen fan I’ve seen him too and I walked away feeling it was a totally rehearsed act. The Dead and allman’s make it happen that night and because of that shows can be ok to unbelievable. last night was really good.

Fun Size

August 2nd, 2012
1:49 pm

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Allman Bros, sorry to miss the show sounds like it was great!! Hope they stay healthy and come back again soon….

Fun Size

August 2nd, 2012
1:49 pm

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Allman Bros, sorry to miss the show, sounds like it was great!! Hope they stay healthy and come back again soon….

Don

August 2nd, 2012
2:49 pm

AtlantaSteve,
As for having guest up to play, I like it. I don`t see it as the band slacking, but a rare opportunity for us to hear William Bell.

One day, 15 years from now, you will be riding in the car with your kids and Born Under A Bad Sign will come on the radio (XM) and your kids will ask, was that the guy we heard that night?
It`s not like he brought up this years American Idol winner!

All - Man

August 2nd, 2012
2:54 pm

Where is Rose Hill Cemetary located in Macon? Do they allow you to visit the grave sites?

All - Man

August 2nd, 2012
2:55 pm

Oh, and also the Big House Museum?

Don

August 2nd, 2012
2:58 pm

KW,
What current bands should we look for that do as good or a better live performance than ABB?
Not a trick question, just a fan looking for the good stuff.
The only performances I have seen recently that come close to last night are Los Lobos, Trombone Shorty, Little Feat, and The Radiators. (The Rads recently hung it up after 33 years.)

Mitch Kumstein

August 2nd, 2012
3:16 pm

Remember… Derek Trucks was one of the “Guests” asked to come up and play. I saw him sit in for Whippin Post when he was 16.

Don

August 2nd, 2012
3:56 pm

The Bros played the Albany(Ga) Jr. College spring fling in 1970. They let us in early and we sat on the floor at the foot of the stage. Duane came out for a final sound check and looked around the gym and asked, who all those cats were in coats and ties lining the gym walls?

We told him that was the college faculty/chaperones/ refer police.
He said, Watch this and reached back and cranked his amp to 10 and proceeded to play slide.

The faculty was last seen running towards Leesburg, not to return.

JimmyJack

August 2nd, 2012
4:21 pm

Whar’s Dicky?

Don

August 2nd, 2012
4:25 pm

Drinking in some crosstown bar.

HHM

August 2nd, 2012
4:31 pm

I was there and WOW! Pure southern rock and roll baby—–in my 50’s—–never had seen them live—now I can check one off the bucket list——loved it!!

Tom

August 2nd, 2012
4:48 pm

Good one, Don. I’m from Albany and chose not to go to that concert in 1970. Big mistake.

Tom

August 2nd, 2012
4:48 pm

Actually, I think it was 1971.

shaggy

August 2nd, 2012
4:53 pm

Sometimes I feeeel…….(Sky Dog walking his guitar through the clouds)…SomeTIMES I feeeeeeel. (More Duane explosion) ..like goin DOWWWN TO THE WHIPPING Poooost …DOWWWN TO THE WHIPPING Poooost…..
Sometimes I feel like I’m Dyinnnnnn………..

Anybody here ever see/hear Frank Zappa do his Whipping Post cover tribute live? It wasn’t necessarily Frank’s style, but he knew a masterpiece when he heard one.

Tyler Sanders

August 2nd, 2012
4:58 pm

They need to work on the crowd control at Chastain though. They have a serious bottleneck problem at the entrance where you have people coming down, people coming up, and people stepping off to the side to buy beer or go the restroom. Security is basically non-existent though, thankfully so I just cut through the hippie lawn and jumped the railing.

Question

August 2nd, 2012
5:11 pm

Was anyone smoking some devil’s lettuce?

Former Capricorn Records Employee

August 2nd, 2012
5:50 pm

I did the publishing on many of the Allman Brothers Band Albums.

Gregg was FINE.

Gregg was GOURGEOUS.

Gregg was SWEET.

Gregg was so Talented.

I am happy that he is getting the respect and kudos he desires.

Luv ya

B. J.