Hittin' The Beach
Allman Brothers Band - June 26, 2003 - Jones Beach Theater - Wantagh, NY
It was a scorcher of a day, but the evening air cooled down a bit and the ocean breeze aided to provide a comfortable night.
I arrived early at the beach, so I was not surprised to find the parking area only half filled. I was expecting to meet my photographer near the VIP entrance and waited outside for nearly an hour before he called to tell me he wasn’t going to make it. It was just as well, because of an apparent mix up; there was no photo pass for him anyhow.
I went inside in time to catch the last bit of the opening act, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, and got some pretty good shots of them with my little pocket sized Cannon. After developing all the film from this night I realized why those shots came out so good and the ones I took of The Allman Brothers Band came out so bad. The place was near empty during their performance and I was able to hold the camera steady. From what I heard of Tiny Universe, I think a lot of people missed out on some good stuff. I’ll have to check them out again in the future.
After they left the stage the crowd started to emerge. I sat off to the side talking to one of the security staff and greeted the two guitarists, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks as they entered from the bus area. It was about 8:45 when the lights went down and took me by surprise, because I expected to see more fans and less empty seats. However, the band had just completed a long local stint and there is only so much money one can spend on concert tickets, I guessed. That, and the fact that this was a midweek show, would explain the less then sold out audience.
Despite the numbers, the band got the crowd into it, opening up with “Revival,” and filling the air with love. Then came a song written back in the 1960s by Elmore James that is included in their latest release, Hittin’ The Note called “Done Somebody Wrong”, that gave everyone a taste of what was to come from Warren and Derek (Hittin’ The Note is 11 tracks of pure, good old, rockin’ Allman Brothers without a lemon among them.) One of my personal favorites, “Stand Back”, followed and then they treated us to another tune on their new album called “Woman Across The River” that gave everyone a larger helping of the Haynes, Trucks duo’s masterful guitar work, but they had yet to dish out the whole pie.
The instrumental, “Hot ‘Lanta,” displayed the tightness of the band as a whole and served well as a prelude to “Every Hungry Woman.” Following that was my favorite new song, “Desdemona,” that seemed to please the crowd as well, perhaps giving them a new favorite. Derek and Warren really took the front on this one!
The boys closed out the first set with two sing-a-longs in “Midnight Rider” and “Soulshine” that had everyone on their feet, where they remained for a standing ovation as the band left the stage.
The second set came alive with a little jam session that bled smoothly into yet another new tune “Rocking Horse” and then transformed into a rockin’ “Trouble No More.” The dynamic duo dished out a little more of the good guitar stuff on “Leave My Blues At Home.” Pianist Danny Louis came on stage to show off his keyboard proficiency on “Good Morning Little School Girl.” He stayed on board but behind Gregg Allman for “The High Cost Of Low Living” before walking off to a standing ovation. “Statesboro Blues” afforded Derek and Warren another opportunity to hand out almost the rest of that delicious guitar pie.
It was at this time that I realized I haven’t sat down since the “Brothers” opened the first set. Partly because I was really into it and partly because I was still snapping off some shots every now and then. But the main reason was that everyone else in my section had stood the whole time, too.
Now Gregg brought out the aforementioned Karl Denson to accompany the band on sax during a beautifully done “Dreams”. Karl waved as he left the stage and the band went into another cut off there new album titled “Instrumental Illness” that gave the percussionists - which includes Derek’s uncle Butch Trucks - an opening to demonstrate their personal prowess. The ending of which brought on an enormous ovation from the fans, but then there was a sense of disbelief among us as we heard the words “good night.” Surely it can’t be over, there must be a third set coming up. But why would they say good night?
Well, it wasn’t over but you knew the end was near. They returned to the stage, but before going into their encore, they thanked us all for coming out and told us how they loved play at the beach. Then they set into an energized version of “One Way Out” where the Haynes/Trucks guitar wizards went back and forth on slide that only placed an emphasis on what the fans have learned tonight. The band is tight and hot and with Warren and the fast rising star, Derek, you can only hope that we don’t have to wait another nine years for their next recording.
Oh yea, as far as my pictures of the ABB, they all came out fuzzy due to the place rocking and the fact that I’m not a photographer. Also, the film speed was to slow, I think?
John A. Mulvaney
Added: Saturday, June 28, 2003
Reviewer: John Mulvaney