The Allman Brothers Band

Allmans jam at New York State Fair

Southern Rock Glory: Allman Brothers Shifts into Jam-Band Gear for More Than 6,000 fans

by Mark Bialczak
Staff writer

28 August 2004 – The Post Standard/Herald-Journal, page A2

The Allman Brothers Band showed a flock of fervid fans at the state fair Grandstand Friday night what happens when Gregg Allman and gang switch into full jam-band mode.

With iconic blues-rock vocalist and keyboardist Allman leading the way with his full-blooded voice and still furious instrumental work, the Brothers led a fast-dancing crowd through more than two hours of Southern rock glory.

With plenty of time to stretch out, the percussion trio of Jaimoe, Butch Trucks and Marc Quinones traded sophisticated, savvy beats for a 17-minute stretch.

Bassist Oteil Burbridge followed that with five minutes of scat singing, matching his voice note-for-note with his carousing bass line.

With Phish gone for good after this summer’s retirement, even more young jam band fans may find their way into The Allman Brothers Band camp. The throng of veterans, obvious by their graying up top and vintage, bought-’em-at-the-’70s shows tie-dyes, are complemented by a swarm of younger converts. You can tell them from their youthful enthusiasm and off-eBay vintage tie-dyes.

Somehow the enthusiasm in the seats, likely fueled by beer or other additives, took a turn toward some non-graceful tumbling. More than a handful of fans went sprawling in front of the sound board, earning no gymnastic medals in this fortnight of the Athens Olympic Games.

On the stage, guitar players Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks earned gold.

Thankfully, the Allmans’ deep vault of songs has plenty of great guitar parts, slide and otherwise, for both of them to sizzle or build suspense.

The set list wound through many of the favorites, including “Ain’t My Cross to Bear,” “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” and “Midnight Rider.”

From the start, it was obvious that the band had the right stuff. They played as if they had all night, taking their time, setting just the right pace and then – wham! – they all took off to the joyful crescendo as if they were trying to win the 100-meter dash.

Haynes, more and more popular on the jam circuit with his own band, Gov’t Mule, took the lead vocals from Allman several times and proved that he’s the true blues deal, too. “Woman Across the River” should become another Allman classic.

Allman’s vocal work stood out on the sweet “Melissa” and silky “Soulshine.”

The classic “Statesboro Blues” was punched up by a hip video screen montage of classic and classy bluesmen from the start of the Delta experience.

An encore of “One Way Out” let Allman hold out the microphone for the crowd to shout the punch line, “There’s a man down there, might be your man, I don’t know.”

Some in the crowd grumbled when the house lights came on without a second encore. With almost 40 years of stockpiling songs, Allman can’t win. What, no “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” “Jessica” or “Whippin’ Post” …?

The Bottle Rockets proved that it’s the best band to come out of Festus, Mo., with a hip opening set of Americana.

“1,000 Dollar Car” was funny and dead-on as they declared that if a car costing that much were any good, nobody would be buying the $10,000 variety.

They got the opening slot when Los Lonely Boys canceled just last week. The connection is that Haynes produced The Bottle Rockets’ latest album, “Blue Sky.”

The title cut sure sounded great, even though most folks in the crowd were schmoozing and hardly noticed.

Copyright (c) 2004 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

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