I haven't been able to find a setlist yet so I'll make this more of a highlights review instead of a play by play. In general Warren lead the band with Derek as the featured player. They never took a break, just played all out for 2:45. The show opened with LAYLA! Has it always been the encore the few other times they played it? Excuse me for crowing a bit but I felt like I had some kind of psychic influence over the band as I predicted a Layla opener in a wish list post last week, yelled it out in the bathroom before the show (to scoffs from the drunks around me) and called it again as the lights went down. Like the Whipping post opener of a couple years ago, hearing that opening coda to Layla was one of my most thrilling concert moments ever. It was perfect, not an interpretation, just a dead on textbook rendition with Derek soaring on the slide and Gregg very impressive and polished on the keys. After such a monster opener, Trouble No More could have been a song to gather back our wits but they didn't give us the chance. A fairly standard yet always welcome Aint Wasting Time took the tempo down but offered Warrens first big solo of the night. Songs from the new album included Woman Across the River and Firing Line. The word that comes to mind on these is "ferocious". They also did Desdemona and apparently the "controversy" from Toronto might have caused a change. I was very surprised to hear Warren take the only solo of the song. I'm guessing Gregg doesn't want it to be a big jam tune like it was originally with a monster solo from both Derek and Warren. The ending jam in Black Hearted Woman was as frenzied as I can ever remember although I really wish they'd lose the cheesy video of the evil looking chick. Keep the psychedelic kaleidoscope but drop the girl. Every Hungry Woman featured one of the most extended call and response sessions I've ever seen. Warren and Derek must have went back and forth 20 times before locking in as twins. I also (again pardon me) predicted last week and called Into The Mystic which they played for only the third time ever. It's hard for me to describe how subtle and beautiful it was. The song washed over the crowd like an opium laced tide, gently catching us in it's blissful undertow and drawing us toward the band. Absolutely captivating. Another highlight was Good Mornin Lil School Girl. I hadn't heard the ABB do it before and I was expecting an up tempo Mule rendition. Instead we got a plodding, lewd, chunky Pigpen style version. Sweet! We got an industrial strength Dreams with Derek and Warren both playing for distance. I found Instrumental Illness a little bit disjointed and hard to follow but it's not really fair of me to say because I missed a few minutes of it. The drums solo was outstanding with a significant revisit of the Black Hearted Woman finale. The drums solo came to a dead stop, in fact I think they might have even taken a bow while waiting for Oteil to take the stage. I've gotta say that the bass solo has become almost obligatory. It seemed forced to me making me wish they would give Oteil his much deserved space within other songs throughout the show instead of in the same spot at the end of whatever late show instrumental they do. The lights went down briefly around 10:40 which told us we wouldn't get a hurried One Way Out, Revival or NOTRW tonight, there was time for a full blown Whippin Post. The band followed Derek through his wailing solo then locked in behind Warren actually driving HIM to kick it up. It was like Warren was being chased by a train. They relentlessly ratcheted it up over and over as if trying to whip the poor man into submission. It was a sight and sound to behold.
This was the best concert of any band I've seen in two years. The ABB are on a serious roll.
Added: Monday, July 14, 2003
Reviewer: BuminBoston (Chris R