It's all a matter of perspective.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

I guess that I need to give my review of the Allman Brother’s concert I went to in Memphis, TN on Sunday night 9/22. This is the set list that someone has posted on their web site:
Statesboro Blues
All Night Train
Ain't Wastin' Time No More
Woman Across The River
Hot 'Lanta
Midnight Rider
The High Cost Of Low Living
Trouble No More
Rocking Horse
Instrumental (untitled)
Black Hearted Woman
The Same Thing
Good Clean Fun
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (with Kofi Burbridge on flute)


It is pretty close. I don’t remember them playing Good Clean Fun, and Dan even made the comment on the way home that they did not play Soulshine. Other than that I think that it is pretty accurate.

The weather was fantastic, even a little chilly. The venue is great: The Mud Island Amphitheater. Our seats were row 18, stage left. The cast was me, my sweet Ms. J, and my bestest buddy Dan. There was a high school couple sitting next to Dan making out.

While Mud Island is a great place to see a show, it does have one major problem. There is seating for 5000, yet only one bathroom each for men and women. The men’s has about eight urinals and four toilettes. I only went once while I was there (I can’t afford many six dollar beers) but I had to stand in line for twenty minutes. I can not imagine why they do not do something about this. This is a problem at every single show. Get a clue, Mud Island.

The Derek Trucks Band opened the show. Our tickets said showtime was at 7:00, they started at 6:50. Only about a third of the crowd was even there. The boys were eager. They were really great too. Kofi Burbridge played amazing keyboard and flute. He is about the funkiest keyboard player since Bernie Worrell. Their drummer was great too, especially when he was spurred on by the ABB’s Mark Quinones who came out and played the damndest solo on the timbales since Tito Puente jammed with Russell Huxtable. Derek Trucks was amazing, and I can not wait to see his group in a club.

After roadies broke down the Trucks band’s stuff and set up the screen and projectors for the famous liquid light display, the Brothers come out and came early with the hits. I won’t bore you with a detailed song-by-song review; I just want to make some general observations.

First of all, Otiel Burbridge is an amazing bass player. He brings a lot to the band and he does not even get to show a tenth of what he is capable of - I have seen him in a bar with his own group. I wish the Brothers would give him a little more room to shine.

I love Warren Haynes’ guitar playing, but for the life of me I can not figure out why he needs to change guitars so much. He is turning into Rick Nielson from Cheap Trick.

During In Memory of Elizabeth Reed they featured the drummers. Everyone else left the stage and the percussion section went off for about fifteen or twenty minutes, maybe longer. The three of them really are amazing and it was a captivating drum solo (trio?) if you can imagine that. But it was obviously nearing the end of the show, so people were taking advantage of the lull in the action to try to get ahead of the traffic. While this was going on I had this vision in my mind that the drummers would keep going and people would keep leaving until finally the drum solo reaches its thunderous conclusion and there are about twenty-five fans left in the stands and all of them have on Zildjian or Pearl or Latin Percussion T-shirts. They are all clacking drum sticks together and yelling “Wooohoo!!” Thank God that is not what happened.

This was my third time to see the band. I am a huge fan (I named my firstborn son Allman) and the last time I saw them it was so amazing that I literally cried at several points in the concert. The first time I saw the Warren Haynes/Allen Woody band. The second time I saw the Otiel/Jack Pearson band, and this time it was Warren Haynes/Derek Trucks/Otiel. Founding member Dickey Betts left the band (was fired) before the tour started this year. My favorite Allman Brother’s Band songs are Dickey Betts songs. I was a little apprehensive about seeing this group. How did they stack up against previous incarnations? Eeehhh, they were OK. I mean by any other standard they were amazing. Warren and Derek gave solo after solo that were technically impressive. Greg Allman was singing and playing better than ever. It is just that the whole group did not seem to have a lot of chemistry. There was no defined leader, and everyone seemed to be going their own way at times. That is not to say that I did not enjoy it, it just never made me cry.

Allman Brother’s concerts always provide plenty of great people watching what with their large following in the hippie and redneck communities. After the show I saw the two greatest hippie moments that I have ever witnessed. When we got out to the Mud Island Parking deck where our car was I noticed that there was a big crowd of hippies standing around holding black balloons to their mouths. Sure enough, through the crowd I could see a big tank of Nitrous Oxide with some dude filling the balloons and passing them out to all comers. I passed on the notion. I don’t think that it was valid laughing gas, because no one was laughing.

But the funniest thing I saw was on the way out of the amphitheater. At a closed nacho stand, the attendant had left behind the large pan that had held the cheese sauce. It was mostly empty and obviously about to be thrown away. Gathered around it were about a half dozen stoned-out, dirty hippies. They were dragging their fingers along the sides and bottom of the pan and eating the cheese furiously, as if it was Soylent Yellow. Hilarious!

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