By: Hisham Salama
For: The Technician
“This concert included more music than any one person could handle for a night, or even an entire weekend. If you missed the Allman Brothers this year, don’t let it happen next fall.”
Friday night marked the 15th year The Allman Brothers Band played at Walnut Creek, and the band has yet to leave a crowd unsatisfied. Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd, who were supposed to open the show, cancelled due to guitarists Johnny Van Zant’s health. The band’s absence left the stage for jam veteran moe..
If you have not heard moe., picture the rock and jam genius of Phish and the catchy sound of Widespread Panic all rolled up into one. The group is typically described at the hybrid of rock and jam. moe. began its 90-minute set at 6:30 p.m. to a more youthful crowd and didnít lose its energy until the final note.
moe. opened the set with the upbeat song “St. Augustine.” This spurred dancing and twirling among the crowd and the youthful voices sang the lyrics back to the band throughout the set. Older members of the audience did not approve of the dancing that occurred and kept requesting the “dancers” to sit down or move. Neither happened. You have to understand, a live moe. concert is going to get you moving.
Midway through the first set, a long segue occurred at the end of “Tailspin” before thwarting into a 25-minute version of “Timmy Tucker” — during which no member of the audience left his seat as it was one of the smoothest jams moe. has performed.
Other highlights from moe. included a vocal jam by guitarist Chuck Garvey, which resembled Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do.” Only Chuck took Peter to school during his vocal jam, which you would have to hear to believe.
After the set it was safe to say the crowd was ready for the mix of blues, country and rock that Allman Brothers fans have enjoyed for more than 30 years.
The Allman Brothers opened with a bluesy version of “Hot ‘Lanta” and while playing the first song, I knew the rest of the night would be a treat. Each member was given a short solo; mind you, the band currently has seven members.
Derek Trucks, who is one of the finest guitar players of our generation, put on a spectacular show for the crowd. He uses no pick and could easily keep pace with Jimi Hendrix or Trey Anastasio — all while making it look easy. Throughout the night, Trucks played his solos gracefully, adding his talent to the already-brilliant Allman Brothers lineup.
The surprise of the night came when bassist Oteil Burbridge began playing the bassline to the Grateful Dead’s “Franklin’s Tower.” The Allman Brothers played the song note-for-note and even added its own twist on the jam.
After “Franklin’s Tower,” Gregg Allman came from behind the keys and picked up a guitar to play “Melissa.” The weather and atmosphere added to the beautiful sound the song already encompasses, and Allman’s voice still sounds superb.
Toward the end of the night, the Allman Brothers also put its own twist on the infamous “Leave My Blues at Home,” which consists of a jam using only percussion. The 20-minute-plus jam consisted of all three Allman percussionists and a rotating tempo style. The video screens were switching on beat between percussionists, while the on-stage video screen was kept in beat, and the images moved to the changing tempo.
The night ended with an encore of “Southbound,” which was no coincidence. After the show the Allman Brothers headed to Atlanta where they played Saturday night.
This concert included more music than any one person could handle for a night, or even an entire weekend. If you missed the Allman Brothers this year, don’t let it happen next fall.