You Don’t Love Me
Firing Line
Statesboro Blues
Who’s Been Talkin’
Come and Go Blues
Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
Hoochie Coochie Man
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
Hot ‘Lanta

Standback
Done Somebody Wrong
Dreams to Remember (horns)
Leave My Blues at Home
Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad? >
Franklin’s Tower (Barraco on both)
Whipping Post > Circle > Whipping Post

Southbound (horns)

Before the show I complain to Warren. “You’re not supposed to be that good
opening night,” I tell him. “Don’t worry,” he assures me as he gets on the
backstage elevator. “We’ll get better. I promise.” His word is good
enough for me.

Not a single song repeated from the night before. I wonder when the last
time was the band did that. Not a one. And except for the obvious
surprises, tonight the band stuck closer to home, playing– again, with
notable exceptions– a more familiar Allman Brothers set.

The lights go off, the curtain comes up. Derek begins peeling off lines
over the percussive bed that presages “You Don’t Love Me.” Warren joins in,
then Gregg. They vamp on this riff a good long time before turning over and
kicking into the song. It is a solid, upbeat opening. At song’s end the
band cools down but Butch keeps it going, his pounding eventually becoming
the foundation for “Firing Line.” Derek soars over tight ensemble playing,
then Warren plays a pure vintage Allman Brothers solo for this still-new
song. Warren is more front and center tonight than he had been on Thursday.
His slide work highlights “Statesboro Blues,” with Gregg’s keyboards also in
the mix over the three-man drum shuffle. Warren’s slide solo is solid and
familiar.

The drummers again lay down the rhythm track, this time to “Who’s Been
Talking.” Warren shines on the intro, then Derek on the solo, with Warren
pushing him until the band is swinging behind them. Then a long, ringing
note pulls us back to the verse. Jaimoe steps to the fore, his deft touch
grounding the song as the band brings it way down. There is a sublime, soft
bluesy jam, anchored by Jaimoe’s sparse accents, with lots of room; Derek
peels off jazzy lines as the band touches down to a soft, sweet ending.
Early highlight.

Derek and Gregg weave their talents together on “Come and Go Blues.” Then
Marc leaves the stage for “Desdemona,” a vocal tour de force for Gregg.
During the jazzy interlude Derek hints at teases of “My Favorite Things.”
Indeed, for fans wishing the band would play that song, you should listen
very, very carefully to the jazzy interlude of “Desdemona,” because maybe
they’re playing it every other night, sort of, and you’re missing it.
Derek’s solo builds and builds. Then Warren starts, slowly, before bringing
the energy up. Gregg grabs the song by the throat back from the guitarists
and sings the hell out of it, bringing it home.

“Don’t Keep Me Wonderin” is a blast of it all coming together– heavy Oteil
bottom, Gregg’s organ adding texture, spot-on guitars, propulsive drums.
All crushed down to four minutes or so. It is as dense as a white star.
Next Warren goes into that neck-choking blues intro thing that heralds
“Hoochie Coochie Man.” When it sounds like his guitar is finally dead Derek
steps up and lays waste to his own ax. Back and forth they go, building the
tension, until Oteil releases it with the thundering Oakley bassline that
brings on the song. Oteil grounds the song while Derek soars; it is, like
the entire first set, very “meat and potatoes.”

Next up, the first surprise of the night– a faithful rendition of “The
Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Gregg’s organ and vocals are front and
center; the harmonies are, as on last night’s “Gilded Splinters,” a surprise
and delight. Derek plays short, aching lines over the vocals, then his solo
gives voice to the song’s protagonist. Then– and if this didn’t get to
you, you just weren’t paying attention– the na-na-nas.

“Hot ‘Lanta” closes the set. Marc lends a Latin tinge to the song, Gregg’s
organ is pronounced. Derek solos, but then Warren does one of his “pull you
out of your seat” jobs to close the song.

The first set was solid and stayed close to home, save for “Dixie.” But on
the whole the band did not reach the heights of the night before.

Yet.

The second set opens with “Standback.” It is a full frontal assault. Oteil,
as always, is driving the song; Derek totally throws down. Then “Done
Somebody Wrong,” featuring a Warren solo. Derek plays a brief solo at
song’s end, comprised mostly of a single extended note.

Next is where things begin to get interesting. With (I believe) the Deep
Banana Blackout horns, Warren rips into the soulful “Dreams to Remember,” an
Otis Redding song that is in a similar vein to “Loving You Too Long.” It is
slow, soulful, and Warren sings the hell out of it. The horns play their
charts, and Derek responds, almost echoes, as if from off in the distance;
it is a beautiful dynamic.

“Leave My Blues at Home” is a rock-solid groove. The band is playing mostly
catalog songs, but they are inhabiting them in a solid, aggressive fashion.

From here on in, its off to the races. Rob Barraco from the Lesh band comes
out, and the band launches into “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” Warren
handles the vocals; Derek plays the lines between the verses. Then he
solos, pulling out the sadness of the song.

But this is a song that can be interpreted, musically, two ways, and after
the chorus, Warren’s solo just reeks of joy, peeling off a patented Warren
Haynes ceiling-strafing solo. It is the solo you want to hear right now.
Barraco plays a similarly upbeat, tinkly solo, then Derek soars.

The part of this song where they sing the title line is over a 2-chord
progression, so the transition to “Franklin’s Tower” is so seamless that it
takes a few three-chord go-rounds before the whole crowd has caught on.
Derek’s solo over the “Franklin’s Tower” chords is liquid sunshine. Then
Barraco hits a crescendo in his own joyous way, and Oteil sings the verse.
At the end Warren literally rains down notes, his solo a true “hittin’ the
note” moment.

This two-song medley is one of the most joyous and delightful and magical
stretches I’ve ever heard from this band, easily rivaling the “Layla” debut
last year.

“Whipping Post” is pure unadulterated release. Derek solos, the song drives
along into the verse and chorus. Then when it gets to the slow snaky part,
Warren steps up and begins a solo that doesn’t know at first whether it
wants to be “Amazing grace” or “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” Soon it
resolves itself into “Circle,” and Derek falls in with him. Then Gregg
picks up the melody, and the band falls into place. And the band is playing
“Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” Fully, unmistakably.

No vocals though, and after a nice long go-round, Warren descends back into
the murky swamp of “Whipping Post.” He is smoking, letting it all out,
locking in with Oteil. The song comes to an end, and you are bathed in
light.

The horns are back for the encore. Gregg, the guitars, and horns begin the
anticipatory riffing that will burst into “Southbound.” Derek plays lead
lines, then Warren throws the switch and we are off and running on the song,
a raucous and appropriately sloppy version.

No drum solo, no bass solo tonight.

Was this show better than opening night? Who can say? I’m not making a
comparison. But I aint complaining.

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