Don’t Want You No More >
Not My Cross to Bear
Woman Across the River
All My Friends
Blind Willie McTell
Little Martha > Blue Sky > Little Martha
No One Left to Run With
The Same Thing (slow; Kofi)
Dreams (Bill Evans, sax)
Elizabeth Reed > drums > bass > Liz
E: Preachin’ Blues
You Don’t Love Me
The classic “Don’t Want You No More” and “Not My Cross to Bear” opener, then “Statesboro Blues,” and it’s a crowd-pleasing Saturday Night opening. Warren tarts it up on the back end of “Statesboro.” Then a sprightly “Standback;” Derek and Oteil ride a shared smile. Derek lights a grease fire that burns surprisingly hot.
There is a hint of crosstalk on stage, then “Woman Across the River.” Derek tears it up, smoldering, egged on by Warren; vocals, then Derek throws down an exclamation point of a chord. Warren tears it up, then a Derek/Warren rumble. Oteil rides the wave, bent over at the waist half way back. Incendiary.
Pretty melodic Warren solo lines lead into the verse on Gregg’s “All My Friends,” Derek plays some sweet slide out the back end. Then a big tumult of an overture leads into “Bag’s End.” Warren goes all hot, Oteil does the jazzy funk dance, then Derek goes all cool, then frenetic… then the chiming of the song… Warren poses a big bluish question… “Bag End” resolves into “Blind Willie McTell,” a perfect payoff, not unlike “Rocking Horse” resolving into “Gambler’s Roll.” “See them big plantations burning; Hear the cracking of the whips; Smell that sweet magnolia blooming; See the ghosts of slavery ships.” This is, I think, the third time they’ve played this song, but it has become their own.
Then, “Whipping Post.” Gregg misses the vocal cue but the band works it out. Big blue waves of liquid tone wash out… the band marches on. Derek takes the controls, the band barely keeps the wheels in the song. Warren plays to the heavens. Great way to end the set, and the past three songs, together, are a highlight of the run.
A three-man “Little Martha” opens the second set, then Butch adds some light accents underneath, and the song flips over into the instrumental bridge to “Blue Sky,” full band save for Gregg. Derek goes right to the sunny heart of the song. Another Derek round, more subdued, then finds the note, leans on it a good while, then the two guitars mesh into the twin licks that return to the “Blue Sky” vocals, only instead they give way to the back end of “Martha.”
“No One Left to Run With” follows, with a nice rendering of the minor key movement now in the middle of the song. Then a big slow vamp with shuffle chords, Kofi Burbridge adds color to the dark lines of what becomes a slow version of “The Same Thing.” It’s good. At the end, as Kofi walks off stage, a big sweet Burbridge brothers bear hug.
Bill Evans (not that Bill Evans) joins on sax for a transformative “Dreams.” Warren begins, then Evans goes all smoky, then Derek puts out wavy beams, then trades lines with Evans. Derek plays vivid slide over a great spooky Warren rhythm, then “Elizabeth Reed” emerges. Lots of Warren Haynes in your face. A frenetic race to the drum interlude, Oteil comes out of the drums with some dark, misty music, then the Liz melody over drums, then scatsong, including “Smoke on the Water.” The song comes back, Warren and Evans trade off, then another mad dash to close.
Derek and Warren come on for a “Preachin’ Blues” encore, then “You Don’t Love Me” closes out set, show and run.
A lot of big fun in three nights. It’s not the beacon, but it’s a nice venue, and besides, in the dark, well, it might as well be the Beacon; it’s the same band, the same crowd, event he same ushers. And it sure smells the same…