This was my first Allman Brothers concert, two days before my birthday, and to be honest, I hadn’t considered myself a fan until I went — I was convinced no live guitar playing could best the fireworks of Neil Young & Crazy Horse I witnessed in August ’96 at Virginia Beach Ampitheater (the show that started my Neil fanaticism and subsequent inspiration to learn guitar). However, as the friend I went with told me, I was about to be severely shocked. He’d seen them in Denver over the summer and from that experience, convinced me to go, for the guitar interplay, if for nothing else.

I caught Derek Trucks at my college (for free!) a couple weeks before the show, and simply from that showcase I was pumped about the concert … and after seeing his opening set, I was almost as convinced that my money was as well-spent to see him as for the entire concert.

Was I ever mistaken! As impressed as I was with the two sets’ worth of DTB I now had under my belt, the Allman Brothers’ set thoroughly bested them and blew me away. In my limited career as an Allmans’ fan, I only recognized “Soulshine” and “One Way Out” and unless my memory is tricking me, “Blue Sky” … I kept waiting for “Whipping Post” or “Jessica”, just so I’d be on familiar ground, but nevertheless I was thoroughly impressed upon the peerless musicianship of the band, and the encore of “Mountain Jam” with the drum break and Oteil’s bass talkbox tricks nearly nailed my jaw to the floor.

Despite the close quarters of my row that prevented me from fully giving my body over to the music, it was an unforgettable night, an experience stamped as just as much of a shaping experience as the Neil show in my musical life. A conversion experience, to say the least — I spent the next month downloading live shows on Furthurnet and exactly a month later bought myself a copy of THE FILLMORE CONCERTS.

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