The Allman Brothers Band

Theatre Performances Magical for the ABB

By: David Lindquist
For The Indianapolis Star
7/25/2003

Theater performances carry a magical reputation in Allman Brothers Band lore.

The rock group’s finest hour is considered to be “At Fillmore East,” a 1971 concert recording from New York’s famed but long-closed psychedelic playground.

In recent years, the Allmans have played extended runs each March at New York’s 2,900-capacity Beacon Theatre.

But until now, they’ve never played an intimate indoor date in Indianapolis.

Following a dozen outdoor appearances at Verizon Wireless Music Center since 1989, stops at Market Square Arena in 1979 and 1981 and a local debut at the Indiana Convention Center in 1975, the Allman Brothers Band will perform tonight at the Murat Theatre.

The 2,500-capacity Murat was built in 1909 and renovated in the mid-1990s.

Vocalist-keyboard player Gregg Allman agrees that the audience should be in for a treat.

“Those are the best,” he says during a telephone interview. “They’re the old opera houses. They padded them so well that they can stand the blast of those amplifiers.”

Not that the seven-man band plans to assault the room with excessive volume.

“We’ve come down maybe a couple of clicks,” Allman says. “The dynamics are a whole lot better.”

Allman, 55, and drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanny Johanson are the only original members still playing with the blues-rock band founded in 1969.

The singer raves about the trouble-free recording of new studio album “Hittin’ the Note,” which required him to work a total of 11 days.

“It used to take the Brothers that long to get set up,” he says with a laugh.

“Hittin’ the Note” is the first Allmans non-concert release since 1994’s “Where It All Begins.” As a rule, Allman isn’t fond of the studio environment. But at the “Note” sessions — tracked at Water Music in Hoboken, N.J. — “the vibes were just so good.”

He credits at least part of his enthusiasm to a dual-guitar tandem that rivals the golden era of Duane Allman (his brother, who died in 1971) and Dickey Betts (booted from the band in 2000).

“Note” is dominated by the playing of Gov’t. Mule founder Warren Haynes, who first played with the Allmans from 1989 to 1997, and slide wizard Derek Trucks, nephew of drummer Butch.

“He is anything but a ‘star,’ ” says Allman when praising the younger Trucks. “He is there just because he loves to play. My brother didn’t live long enough to meet him, but I believe Duane was Derek’s mentor.”

Contact Star reporter David Lindquist at 1-317-444-6404.

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