What’s up. I can’t believe that you could be so disrespectful towards Dicky. Perhaps you didn’t catch Dicky opening up for Skynyrd this summer. I caught him twice and both times he played scorching versions of Liz Reed. I also was at the New Hampshire show. The Allman’s do it good but no one can play it like the man who wrote it. To say that the Allman’s have reached “a new level of jamminess” without Dicky on it is crazy. Get your ears checked!
The show was sweet but there was only one set. Mt. Jam was the encore!
I went to college in Pittsburgh and I absolutely love Star Lake (well, it’s the Post-Gazette Pavillion now). The scene is usually very chill out there in the sticks, even though the cops do like to spring checkpoints every so often (HORDE in 1998 netted almost 100 arrests). Blossom Music Center is another nice place with possibly the most unusual pavillion design I’ve seen. My favorite of the mammoth-size sheds is still Merriweather Post, but Star Lake is a close second. Calling Star Lake a Pittsburgh venue is almost as absurd as calling Tweeter a Boston venue, but I suppose the proximity is close enough.
Now all we need to do here in Maine is get the Old Orchard Beach Ballpark open for shows again (this time sticking to more low-risk crowds like the Brothers).
HEY GREGG!! COME TO MAINE!! WE LOVE YOU UP HERE!!
Even though you expressed dismay at (presumably) my reference to Dickey, I figured I’d chime in on my experience at the Tweeter Center, because you are exactly right. I have been attending shows at this venue for at least 12 years, and since about 1998 things have just been steadily going down hill.
Their decision to pave the majority of the lawn is a travesty. Un-mother-f’ing-forgivable. There can be no justification for that decision other than the fact that they can now charge $10 more per person on that section of the “lawn.” What remains of the lawn, even when there is grass on it, is so small that it cant handle the transient movement. By this I mean that at any concert in a venue of that size, there is always going to be a certain segment of the crowd that is moving at any given time (to the bathrooms or whatever) and the smaller the “free movement” area the more the movement disrupts the experience for people trying to actually enjoy the concert there. Furthermore, its my experience that a lot of concert-goers, who dont actually have lawn tickets, end up on the lawn. When the lawn is so small, this becomes a huge problem, since the venue makes no effort whatsoever to make sure that people entering the lawn have a lawn ticket. By making the lawn that small, not only have they destroyed what was left of what was only a half-decent shed to begin with, but they have succeeded in practically guaranteeing a sh*tty experience for anyone choosing to sit there.
Your comments about the sound system are right on. The thing I don’t get is that in 1998 I saw ABB there as well as Page & Plant (and several others) and the volume was practically painful at the edge of the pavillion and still quite adequate at the back of the lawn, which seems to no longer be the case. Part of the reason so many people talk during shows is that the volume never reaches an immersive level outside the first tier of seats. I’m the first person to complain when a concert is too loud, so this isnt some rant about how everything should be cranked up to 12, but rather a call for a good average volume and an effort to provide good sound to the lawn.
As for the Masshole crowd, I feel your pain. I was born in Mass, but got out early enough to avoid becoming a Masshole, and I’ve spent most of my time in Pittsburgh (a great city to see a show in if you ask me) and the attitude and disregard for the experience of others is truly remarkable. And here is a not so veiled screw you to the Masshole standing in the aisle three rows back from my seat screaming “Who’s a Hulk-a-maniac!?” at every passer-by throughout the second half of the show.
The last thing I want to rant about while I’m pointing out all the ways in which the Tweeter Center sucks ass is the issue of drinking in the parking lots. I understand that technically speaking, Mansfield town law prohibits drinking in the parking lot. I could complain all day about how stupid and silly this is, but its pointless. My big objection is to the absolutely rediculous way in which this law is “enforced.” If the law says “no drinking” and as a venue, they want to keep people from drinking in the parking lots then they need to uniformly enforce this law. What I saw yesterday blew my mind. The two cars next to me were blatantly targetted by the police for some reason that I cant understand. Almost instantaneously, with no warning, a crew of about 8 cops descend on these two cars, for no apparent reason, giving the usual Tweeter Center lecture on drinking in the parking lot. The situation escalated when they discovered that the owner of the car was under 21. After threatening to arrest everyone, voiding all their tickets and illegally searching one of the cars, they proceed to kick them out, when obviously not one person in the group was sober enough to drive. That is just wrong on so many levels. All the while, everyone from the surrounding cars continues to drink, in plain view, with no consequences. One car down the row had even set up a beer pong table of some kind. It was utterly rediculous. I can’t say I was shocked, but I can say that things tend to be a lot friendlier overall at venues like Post-Gazette Pavilion (formerly Star Lake Amphitheater) in Pittsburgh and Blossom Music Center in Ohio where apparently drinking in the lots by people over 21 is legal.
The problem is that Tweeter Center will never change unless the fans speak with their wallets by not buying tickets, but given the choice between seeing my favorite bands at a sh*tty venue or not at all, I feel forced to patronize the hell hole that Great Woods has become. I’m moving back to Pennsylvania this week (in time to catch ABB out there 🙂 ) and the Tweeter Center is not an experience I will miss.
Ok — done ranting.
I was dead sober, and stayed in my seat for a vast majority of the show, and I didn’t hear End of the Line either. I suspect I would have noticed as its one of my favorites from their 90’s material. So either we’re both crazy or the setlist is wrong.
You know, now that I think of it, I have absolutely no memory of the Brothers playing End of the Line last night. I’m not saying the setlist is wrong, but can anybody confirm?
This is a kind-of dual review/commentary of the last two nights here in New England, so I’ve posted this on both pages.
Greetings folks! The Brothers opened their tour with a bang Friday night. First, for those of you who couldn’t make it to New Hampshire’s beautiful lakes region for the gig, Meadowbrook Farm is a concert-goer’s wonderland. The year-old sound system shames most amphi-shed systems anywhere in the country (it is several orders-of-magnitude better than the Venue-Formerly-Known-as-Great-Woods). Sound comes through crystal clear all the way through the venue, tearing right over row one and soaring out across the lawn. And the view! I’ll put this place up against Red Rocks and the Gorge for scenic beauty anytime.
As for the performance: THE BROTHERS ARE ON FIRE! Gregg is all across the boards this tour and his voice is butter. I knew he still had it in him to lead this wonderful band. Oteil is letting it rip with his own style, really stepping up and dropping Burbridge Bombs. Unlike some other weepy folks who just HAVE to keep mentioning the lack of Dickey in their reviews, I just don’t miss him anymore. The Brothers have opted to move on, away from their recent past and have set their sights completely on the future.
Both venues were packed, but I give my neighbors from New Hampshire the nod for best-behaved and good-natured folks. The Boston-ish Tweeter crowd was rude and lifeless–WAY TOO CHATTY (do these people realize how inconsiderate it is to strike up a conversation, loudly, during a performance). Not only that, but the venue itself is now a disgrace. The lawn has been destroyed in part by the management who took half of it away to put in seats, and in part by rowdy metal-heads who tore up the grass leaving us with filthy wood chips and dirt on which to sit. In every aesthetic way, Meadowbrook is a kinder, gentler venue.
Overall, the Meadowbrook show was the hero of my weekend. Galactic’s set wasn’t marred by the lousy Tweeter Center sound system, so I could groove to their excellent opener without hesitation. Hot ‘Lanta opened with smooth interplay and the stunning sound system made it shine. The show never slowed, not once (except for the intro and outro parts of the beautiful Desdemona). These were pure energy songs. Highlights included the smoking Hot ‘Lanta opener, Who To Believe (where Derek let it rip and nearly set my head on fire), Desdemona (this is the new Liz Reed), a scortching one-for-the-record-books Come and Go Blues (thank you Oteil!!!), Just Before the Bullets Fly (which keeps getting stronger evey time I hear it), and the three closing works of art: Southbound, Liz Reed (my first since Dickey left the gang and which was like butter without him–now on a new level of jamminess), and a smoking One Way Out encore.
Oteil was right when he told Relix “I think the band has found its joy again.”
As we jump to last night, here’s a little perspective: I’ve seen nearly every show the Brothers have played at Great Woods/Tweeter, and the venue is degrading faster every year. They should just bring a wrecking ball and start over again. Compared to Meadowbrook’s new state-of-the-art sound system, Tweeter Center’s sound just can’t sustain the gargantuan size of the venue. Add a bunch of drunken Massachusetts college students chanting “Yankees Suck” during the Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’ opener and you begin to get the picture. The two venues couldn’t be more different. It truly is a portrait of the difference between the three Northern and three Southern New England states.
Enough on the scene: last night’s show at Tweeter took a while to launch. It wasn’t until You Don’t Love Me that the band really came together. The signs of life were there from the start, but after turning up the heat with You Don’t Love Me and then Firing Line, this show smoked. Pretty much everything from Worried Down on through the Mountain Jam encore was the band at their best. I think it should be noted on the setlist (anyone in charge reading this?) that Warren dedicated Mountain Jam to “our friend Mike Houser” (Widespread Panic founding member who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer). This is significant since this Mountain Jam included an interlude of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” which took us into drums, and popped up again during Oteil’s solo. It took me until Dreams to find a spot where the sound wasn’t sullied by chatty a-holes who only cared to hear the bass guitar launch and pre-jam vocal part to Whipping Post (it seemed a lot of the fans on that lawn found the Brothers a bit too challenging most of the time). I’ve always been quite fond of Dreams, and though I seem to miss it quite often (always at the show right before or right after), I’ve been able to hear it grow out of the post-Dickey confusion and rise to the mammoth jam it always used to be. This was the real indicator of the new Brothers’ prowess, and rising to the occasion once again, these guys showed they are neither too old, nor too tired, to blast the roof off a venue or make quite a few asses shake.
The new Brothers have taken the top spot in my musical interests once again. There is simply nothing like them, and despite their 30+ year history, there has simply never been anything like them.
Thanks for all the great music, good vibes, and for the continued exploration and experimentation you bring to the stage night after night!
Thanks for reading,
Understand they played Mountain Jam as an encore…have seen them about 10 times and have yet to hear a live Mountain Jam – I too will be at the Pitttsburgh show – maybe that’ll be the night. Peace.
Just got home from this show. It was a total break from my experience with the Allmans to date. There were two “sets” although it seems more like one really long set and an oversized encore. This was the 16th ABB show I’ve seen, but there were many things in the setlist I didn’t recognize, although I must admit that I greatly miss the Dickey songs that don’t seem to show up any more since his parting. For me, when I connect with the music, its there and its excellent, and when that connection isnt there, its not that I dont enjoy it, but it jsut doesnt light me up. When “Nobody Left to Run With” showed up so early in the first set, I was psyched and boogieing, but things seemed to slow down from there, with a mellow highlight of soulshine for the first set. Derek’s slide playing was first rate as always. But the real high point of the performance had to be Otiel’s solo. To borrow a phrase from MTV, it was OFF THE HOOK! Anyway, I’m eager to see what the actual setlist was from more educated folks. I was worried for a while that this was goign to be a short show with few favorites, but the long “encore”/short second set completely turned the show around for the better. I’ll be seeing them again in Pittsburgh and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. This was a very different experience.