The Allman Brothers Band

Michael Maher’s Excellent Summer Vacation

By: Michael Maher

Thoughts and ramblings and numbers concerning the recent “What I Did on My Summer Vacation”/”Hockey Withdrawal” Tour undertaken by Lana and me:

5,648 total miles driven in the rental Chevrolet Malibu.

5,279 of those miles driven with Lana, who brought, among other things,

1 blender and

1 bottle of rum and

1 bottle of raspberry daiquiri mix with us.

1 newly re-christened “Malibrew” after those bottles leaked in the trunk after being opened in Pittsburgh.

17 days away from home.

17 states traveled through (NC, VA, WV, PA, OH, MO, IN, IL, IA, KS, MN, WI, MI, KY, TN, GA, SC) on the way to seeing …

… 10 nights of amazing music featuring

1 show with Dickey Betts and Great Southern,

4 times we heard the Derek Trucks Band,

9 performances by the Allman Brothers Band,

4 sets by Phil Lesh and Friends, and

2 strong sets by Left Foot Down.

3 Great Lakes visited, and we went as far north as Duluth, MN, as far west as Kansas City, KS, and as far south as Macon, Ga.

2 time zones (boy, is Indiana confusing time-wise; my atlas didn’t match up with the local times at all).

20+ towns, counties, and companies with the name “Warren” in them.

1 T-shirt worn by a young lady in Cincinnati that read: “If you’ve got a Warren, I guess you’re gonna come in.”

1 “I’m Not Him” T-shirt worn by Warren’s guitar tech, Brian Farmer.

55 degrees—the temperature it got down to overnight in Duluth. I scrambled for my sweatshirt and jeans while the locals were walking around in shorts and t-shirts. Hey, it’s all relative.

1 Carolina Hurricanes jersey worn by Lana in

94 degree weather in Detroit

which lead to about

10+ “confrontations”/”conversations” with various Red Wings hockey fans.

1 very welcomed “down day” at the home of the gracious Paul Kaytes—thanks, Paul!

1 very delicious homemade dinner prepared for us by Lana that night, too. Yum!

1 the average number of Steak ‘n Shakes visited per day.

1 and only one, stop at McDonald’s the entire trip!

1 visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where I went back to Duane’s guitars about

4 times throughout the visit.

3 guest appearances on the tour by Jimmy Herring and Rob Barraco on “Southbound.”

1 drumstick laughingly winged at Jimmy by Butch in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, after Jimmy got out to the stage late and the song had already started–which prompted Lana to suggest playing “Everyone wants to know where Jimmy has gone” instead.

2 drumsticks given to me by Jaimoe on stage in Nashville while the fireworks were going off after the show. Thanks, Jaimoe!

1 dancing gopher and

1 dancing James Brown doll on Oteil’s amp.

3 nights that Derek played his Gibson SG exclusively; I love the rougher edge to that guitar. Plus, he broke strings on the Washburn a number of nights in a row.

2 his and her’s SGs—Susan and Derek both playing SGs on songs like “Feel So Bad” and “Ain’t That Lovin’ You.”

1 song that I didn’t tire of hearing on the trip was “Dreams”; many nights these amazing musicians brought goosebumps to my skin. Towards the end of the run the guys were alternating solos—one night Warren would take the only solo, the next night Derek, etc.

9 the number of times we heard “Instrumental” (that’s how it’s listed on the setlists). I LOVE listening to and watching Oteil on this one! Personally, I prefer this song in the “shorter” version, and not as an end-of-the-show closing tune.

1 emotional visit to High Falls, GA and Macon—my first visit there. Very special thanks to Kirk and Kirsten for having us in despite their plumbing emergency and Kirk being exhausted after just getting back home from the long tour. It meant a lot to me! Thanks also to David Wyatt for being the leader of our two-car caravan from Nashville to High Falls.

2 different young kids who tried to get backstage in Columbus using the same Left Foot Down pass that obviously didn’t belong to them. Very interesting stories, though, guys!

1 handful of loose pot put in Lana’s hand by a persistent security guard in Columbus—ON STAGE–as the ABB was playing! He had offered it to her at least three times earlier in the day. Now, there’s some “security” for you.

2 times we got to see Karen and Lynn Bomberry and

2 necklaces given to me by Karen. I still cannot figure out what happened to that first one, Karen. Thanks for being so giving, dear! Do the necklaces have any specific “meaning” to them? A few people have asked me that, and I was ashamed that I did not know.

1 time in my life that I’ll probably ever be in Ellwood City, PA, at Donna and Frank Lagana’s place, the Keystone Bar. Although, as Frank so eloquently (all right, drunkenly—it was his birthday) stated, “If you’re not here, you’re stupid!” Pretty darn astute, Frank!

2 new Fender Jazz basses played; Oteil’s lovely, funky “Sister Odell” from 1964, and Todd’s newer bass purchased by Derek at the same shop in LA.

2 new friends from Germany: Michael and Olaf, whom we saw at about five shows. Great meeting you, guys—when are we all invited over to Germany? Michael, you still did better with your English than some Americans I know.

3 pictures taken of Lana with her Canes jersey in Bates City, MO, in honor of one of her favorite Canes players, Bates Battaglia. I thought we were going to be invited into the Bates City Jail pretty soon…

1 framed picture of Leon Russell given to Lana by KC Jimmy. She sure seems to treasure that, Jimmy–it was shown off the rest of the trip!

1 elderly lady who was the parking attendant at the hotel in KC who is very proud that Gregg has cleaned himself up. Oh, and Lana was the bus driver’s daughter. Long story…

1 sheet of printed directions to find the major highways given out at the parking garage at the hotel in Minneapolis; WHY don’t more hotels and parking garages do this???

1 other quick rant: why don’t more hotels and concert venues have a similar preprinted sheet handy so that callers asking for directions aren’t handed off to four people?

6 the approximate number of times we tried your cell phone at the Milwaukee show, Big Windy. I’m very sorry we didn’t find you.

2 the number of hours it took to get through Chicago on a Saturday morning. Ugh!

7 the number of “carcasses” sleeping on the blankets during Phil’s closing set in Indianapolis.

1 “Butt Hutt” in IN. They sold cigarettes, of course…

1 very pretty, quaint town near Blossom Music Center—Peninsula, OH. It rivaled Lana’s old college stomping grounds in the panhandle of WV for the prettiest spot on the trip.

1 funky black wig worn by Drew (Zambi) in our room before the Nashville show. Unfortunately, we got pictures of (Great) Scott and me wearing it, but none of you, Drew—sorry!

1 Big Bone Lick State Park in KY—now, THERE’S a place to visit! Also, check out Mount Comfort in MO, Gas City, IN, and there was a Climax in one of those 17 states, too.

1 National Cornbread Festival in TN, also. And a Leon, IA, and a Groover’s Road, and a Bass Road. KOA Kampgrounds promised “Good, Clean Fun!”

1 giant peach water tower in Gaffney, SC, which we passed while I was talking with Dave Stoltz on Lana’s phone.

4 ABB shows that I’m groveling for: KC, Milwaukee, Clarkston, MI, and Cincinnati. Heck, I’ll take copies of all of the ones we saw, but I’d REALLY like these four!

60 the approximate number of GBers and list-ers we met on this wonderful trip. If I tried to name everyone, I’d just mess it up and leave folks out and call others by the wrong name, and I don’t want to do that. The people we met were just as important as the music we heard on this trip, in my opinion! 60 “instant old friends!” You’re a great bunch!

1 amazing Queen of Peach who made all of this happen. It began a couple of months back when she asked, “Hey, Michael, want to go on a road trip?” Thank you, Lana, for everything! I love you! As was brought up so many times by many different folks on our trip, this really IS a big family, and it’s all because of you and Rowland. All of this adds up to:

1 wonderful, amazing, emotional trip that I will always remember!

Thanks for reading! See you at a show!


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