By Mike O’Neal
For: The Chattanooga Times Free Press
For many Riverbend 2006 festivalgoers, organizers saved the best for last.
Not only did Southern rock legend The Allman Brothers Band headline closing night, they were followed by Chattanooga’s biggest annual fireworks show.
“We came to see the Derek Trucks Band — they say he’s the best of the young blood coming up — and the Allman Brothers,” said Bill “Meatball” Martin, 52, of Riceville, Tenn. Mr. Martin and his wife, Sherrill, were staying overnight at the Read House.
“This is one big party,” Mrs. Martin said. “We’re here to have a good time and see the Allman Brothers.”
Throughout the week, festivalgoers with divergent musical tastes expressed a shared desire to see the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame band from Macon, Ga., headline the Coca-Cola Stage.
Saturday night, that wish came true — and then some.
The Allman Brothers took festival crowds back to the 1970s with hits such as “Whipping Post” and “Ramblin’ Man.”
The Allman Brothers played Riverbend twice this weekend — once in Cincinnati on Friday and next in Chattanooga on Saturday.
A prototypical jam band and headliners at Bonnaroo 2005, the Allman Brothers turned Chattanooga’s waterfront into Riverbendaroo.
Before taking to the headline stage, Allman Brothers’ guitarist Derek Trucks led his own band on the Covista Stage and the band’s bassist, Oteil Burbridge, performed with his band, The Peacemakers, at the UnumProvident Stage.
Hunter and Georgia Escher, of Chattanooga, said they are regular Riverbenders some years.
“We’re just here for the night,” Mr. Escher said. “Just to see Derek, Oteil and the Allman Brothers.”