Allman Brothers rocks it in NYC
By Rebecca Shields – Johns Hopkins Newsletter
March 21, 2003
Thirty-four years later and still jamming like the 1970s, the Allman Brothers hit the stage Saturday night at the Beacon Theatre in New York City ready to recreate the musical magic of years before. The Brothers have often been referred to as the ultimate 1970s Southern rock band, combining blues, folk and rock. Best known for their 1973 album Brothers and Sisters — fodder for their hit single, “Ramblin’ Man” — the band was back in full force Saturday night.
Perhaps the audience itself is evidence of the fusion of musical genres found in the Allman Brothers songs. The band has been able to reach across generations and encompass a musical genre that appeals to all audiences. High school freshmen and nursing home residents stood shoulder to shoulder in the audience. Sure, it may be embarrassing to see your best friend’s father hit on a young girl and then proceed to offer you a joint, but that’s exactly what the Brothers were going for — connecting all types of people through their music. If anything, the variety of characters at Saturday’s show, stemming from lawyers and doctors to bikers and hippies to frat boys, demonstrates the Allman Brothers’ power to connect with America through music.
The Brothers were on fire; already into their third show of 13 that week, the musicians were ready to jam for hours. The band’s intensity was at a peak throughout the entire first set; Gregg Allman’s voice was just as strong, soulful and powerful as on original recordings. The audience jumped, danced and whistled as Warren Haynes sang the famous “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” with incredible intensity and energy.
The second set was calmer than the fiery beginning, but again the Brothers wowed the audience by bringing in Bela Fleck for a jam-session during “Liz Reed” which somehow morphed into the encore of “Whipping Post.” The Brothers showed their awesome talent in the second set, beginning with three acoustic songs and then transferring over to their mind-blowing electric sounds. The band’s ability to mix blues, rock, jazz and country was outrageous in the long improvisational sections and guitar riffs. The chemistry between the band members was at a pinnacle Saturday night, as each member really “played off” the other.
After three shows, the Brothers have proven that they still have as much soul as they did in the 70s. The set list and performance made the entire audience feel as if they had traveled back 30 years. If the band can keep the intensity for 10 more shows, they are truly kings of rock.