by Christopher Blagg
22 August 2004 – The Boston Herald
Torrential downpours aren’t exactly the ideal weather conditions for an outdoor concert. Despite severe thunderstorm warnings and bucketloads of tailgate-dampening rain, the Allman Brothers Band managed to uplift their soggy loyal crowd last night at the Tweeter Center. After more than 35 years of touring, the veteran band undoubtedly has seen worse.
Maybe sensing their fans could use some six-string pyrotechnics to dry off, the Allmans began the night with a torrid rendition of their dual guitar epic “Mountain Jam,” featuring the twin attack of the genetically blessed Derek Trucks (son [sic!] of drummer Butch Trucks) and the gritty veteran Warren Haynes.
Gregg Allman soon took over lead duties, lending his weathered baritone and meaty Hammond organ licks to a stirring cover of “The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down.” The infidelity-laced boogie of “One Way Out” began just as the heavens finally relented their watery onslaught, giving the soaked and inebriated audience another reason to celebrate.
While many of their tunes were fleshed out into winding, stretched-out lengths, there was never a sense of the dreaded aimlessness of their younger jamband followers. All night, the Allmans delivered lean and meaty melodic solos, never once drifting into noodling excursions. Where weeks before The Dead would occasionally hit that transcendent moment onstage amid spacey wanderings, the Allmans displayed a more workmanlike, blue-collar approach, giving the grateful crowd every penny’s worth with a relentless barrage of fat-trimmed psychedelic blues rock.
Possibly a remnant from Haynes’ recent stint with The Dead, one of the night’s highlights was a cover of Jerry Garcia’s “Franklin’s Tower,” the audience’s spirited reaction evincing the crossover appeal of both bands.
Despite the wealth of great original material to work with, the night’s best moment was the swamp-fueled syncopated strut of Dr. John’s voodoo classic “Walk On Gilded Splinters,” with Allman and Haynes sharing thickly textured vocal harmonies.
The hypnotic pulse of “Dreams” combined with the blazing, anthemic instrumental of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” showcased the wonderful contrast between the jazz-tinged fingerings of the fresh- faced Trucks and the greasy powerful slide work of the wizened Haynes. As the tortured howl of “Whipping Post” finally came to a momentous climax in the band’s lengthy encore, the audience once again found itself drenched. This time the skies were clear: The rain had been replaced by joyous, dance-inspired sweat.
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