Hot “Lanta >
Walk on Gilded Splinters
Trouble No More
Rocking Horse >
Wasted Words
Soulshine (Danny Louis)
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Louis)
Kind of Bird (Louis; no Gregg)
Midnight Rider

Meet Me in the Bottom (Doyle Bramhall, Justin Stanley on drums)
Dreams
Anyday
Stormy Monday (Junior Mack)
Jessica (Kris Jensen, sax)
E: One Way Out (Bramhall)

By Friday night the band was in peak fighting form, taking no prisoners. The show was double stuffed, epic, the meat spilling out over the bun…

A crisp, chunky “Hot ‘Lanta” opens the proceedings, nice instrumental work from Gregg, and with some skanky Warren guitar, segueing into “Splinters,” which features the Macon rhythm devils and a sour Warren sting. After “Trouble No More,” Oteil lays down some funky bass syncopation that becomes “Rocking Horse.” Warren offers a long, hot and dirty run, then Derek takes us on a flash-sideways into some extended Derek space, then he guides the band through his little major key ditty that now pops up in the middle of the Horse, then back into the verse and close, and straight into an aggressive, extended read on “Wasted Words.”

Danny Louis from the Mule joins the band on keys and plays some pretty piano rolls that put me in a New York state of mind. Then he gets closer and closer to the melody of the song coming up, until finally Gregg slams into the B3 and it’s “Soulshine,” James van der Bogert is on Jaimoe’s kit, and it is a particularly churchy, gospel take on the song. Then Louis stays on for a muddy, swampy take on “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” a dark musky highlight. Louis stays on, but Gregg does not, as Oteil is off on a sprightly romp that turns into “Kind of Bird.” Louis plays some lovely organ, with propulsion from twin rhythm guitars… the music gets all yellow and gold, Warren drives it home, then the outro riff.

The set could have ended here and no one would have complained, but of course they can’t walk off without Gregg, so he comes back on for a “Midnight Rider” that serves to ease us into intermission…

Derek’s Clapton buddy Doyle Bramhall is on for the blues “Meet Me at the Bottom,” with Justin Stanley on drums. There’s a lot of unrushed 3-guitar churning, Bramhall—who, I think, is better on rhythm than lead—gestures to Derek, who tweezes out bubbly lines of curvy notes. Bramhall and Derek are clearly enjoying each other’s company.

Then “Dreams,” and is anyone ever sorry when that happens? Warren takes lead, Derek un chiming rhythm, the band rains down bells of sound… great, a highlight. Then the song kind of fades to a close, and then the band steps into “Anyday,” the perfect payoff. Warren finds that pain/pleasure point and keeps poking at it, like you do with your tongue when you have a toothache… Warren takes the music to a “Blue Sky” place, teases at it, briefly takes the band into that song’s instrumental bridge, then Derek uses chords to return to the “Anyday” close. All told, quite something.

Junior Mack joins on guitar for “Stormy Monday,” plays lots of notes in his solo. Gregg dances across the organ… Warren squeezes phrases out a tube. Then off and running into “Jessica,” which is pure dancelicious goodness. Kris Jensen (didn’t he so a stint in Great Southern recently?) lays down some sax, then the band turns on the happy hose, turning the song up to 10. The music softens, then two big guitars fill the room… the music parts for Oteil, who keeps the happy coming with a bass solo rendition of “Little Martha,” scatting and playing. Then the drummers dance their dance, then back into a hard close to an epic “Jessica.” Whew.

Bramhall is back on for a sweaty “One Way Out.” That’s what I call Friday night.

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