By: Jeb Gottlieb
For: The Boston Herald
It’s not what Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes can do, it’s what they can do together.
At last night’s Allman Brothers Band show at Bank of America Pavilion, the two guitar phenoms parlayed their telepathic chemistry into a series of Homeric jams that came close to rivaling the collaborations of the band’s original axmen, Duane Allman and Dickie Betts.
Like the legendary Allman-Betts partnership, Trucks and Haynes don’t duel, nor does one guitarist play second fiddle to the other. Think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, not Batman and Robin.
Even on the Allmans’ most mediocre songs, many of which filled the group’s first set including “Every Hungry Woman,” “Soulshine” and “Revival,” the pair’s licks and long solos buoyed the tunes into near masterpieces.
Although Trucks and Haynes have been playing together on and off for more than a decade, it’s been only recently that their alliance has turned Gregg Allman into a sideman in the band he’s fronted for four decades. Ever since last year’s Tweeter Center stop, Trucks and Haynes have honed what makes their tag team smackdown of virtuosity so awesome – their differences.
On “Woman Across the River,” Haynes and his contorted expression stepped out for some scorching, straight blues that Freddie King would dig. On “Statesboro Blues,” Trucks infused the twelve bar with a whiteout of frenzied notes all while standing perfectly still looking like a peaceful Buddha. And then when the two traded riffs or climbed on top of each other and crushed the crowd with their doubled yet distinctive onslaughts, it was even better.
While old guys Allman and founding drummers Jaimoe Johanson and Butch Trucks (Derek’s uncle) still do a decent job of keeping up, it was a night for the young guys – and gal. Derek Trucks’ wife, Boston’s own Susan Tedeschi, joined the band on a couple of songs, singing Derek and the Dominos’ “Anyday” and later adding wickedly cruel telecaster licks. (Yes, the couple have kids, but no word on whether any of them will be the Second Coming of Hendrix.)
The show had a few down moments and could have used more of the Allmans’ marquee songs and more action from underused, superbassist Oteil Burbridge. But that’s why the band’s playing a pair of Boston dates; Every new gig is another chance for Trucks and Haynes, and with luck, Burbridge and Tedeschi, to retrofit Allmans’ standards for the next generation.