The Allman Brothers Band’s annual spring pilgrimage to New York’s Beacon Theatre has become a rock-n-roll ritual, and in 2003, the band returned again to the Beacon for another series of sold out shows featuring the current lineup of Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe from the original band, along with Oteil Burbridge on bass, Marc Quinones on percussion, Derek Trucks on guitar and Warren Haynes on guitar. As a dyed in the wool Dickey Betts fan, I can truthfully say that the Brothers sound great with this lineup. Sure, it’s different from the country rock meets blues of the past, but it’s equally compelling.
The two CD set features a full show as well as interview with the band members, behind the scenes material, a dressing room rehearsal of “Old Friend,” a photo gallery and more. Gregg Allman’s alcoholic confessions are pretty inspiring.
There have been 127 sold out ABB shows at The Beacon since 1989, and this is taken from two of the best, recorded on March 25 and 26, 2003. From the opening of “Ain’t Wastin Time No More” to the encore of “One Way Out,” the music is great. Like Gregg says in one of the interview segments, “The Allman Brothers are a band that jams - not a jam band.” That’s what I always liked about them. They don’t just jam into the stratosphere with no structure. It always comes back to “The song.” Highlights include “Come and Go Blues,” “Soulshine,” and “High Cost of Low Living,” “Melissa,” “ Dreams” and of course, “Whipping Post,” but there’s not a slack moment in the 22-song set.
If you always dreamed of attending an Allman Brothers Show at the famed Beacon Theatre but couldn’t make the jaunt to the Big Apple, this is the next best thing. For fans who were there - wow- what a souvenir. This is the good stuff.
-Michael Buffalo Smith