I was speaking to a friend (I can’t say who right now, it’s a surprise) late this afternoon and he told me he had run into Bonnie Bramlett and Bekka Bramlett on the street between The Beacon and the hotel. I knew Bonnie was coming, I just didn’t know it was tonight. How cool. She is not only one of the greatest singers ever, she is also my friend, and I was so excited about seeing her with the Brothers tonight. I was not disappointed. In fact, i am gonna go ahead and say this was my favorite show thus far. I mean, damn. Susan, Bonnie and Bekka? Chicks rule.
The curtain raised and the audience went crazy. The Duane slide show once again lit up the back of the stage as the band kicked into “Statesborro Blues.” Ah, shades of Fillmore East. Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes came out of the chute kickin’, with Trucks just plain burnin’ up the slide. In a true tribute to brother Duane, The Allmans kept it rockin’ with “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin,” followed by “Hot ‘Lanta.” Seriously, can you say “Fillmore East?” The band sounded amazing, Gregg just ripping up the B-3 and the drummers had it tighter than Jack Benny’s hat band. (Don’t ask.)
Next came Warren Haynes, singing Howlin’ Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talkin?’” Absolutely dead on tonight. At the end of the tune Gregg leaned into the microphone and said, “The night is so young, yes.” Then they took off on “Come and Go Blues.” So nice. Man I loved that Brothers and Sisters album when it came out. I believe I was in tenth grade. Great memories.
Next came another ‘09 Beacon debut. Gregg sang with the soul of the ages on “Desdemona,” from their 2003 Hittin’ The Note album. Of course, the jam that followed was stellar. Derek was pulling all sorts of slide tricks. Then Warren took his turn in the spotlight, simply blistering the strings. Mesmerizing.
The first guest of the evening was introduced. The excellent John Hammond was welcomed to the stage with enthusiastic applause, and kicked off his set with “So Many Roads, So Many Trains.” Hammond was in great voice, and seemed to be having a great time jamming.
Next he kicked it old school with a song from his classic Southern Fried album, “Shake for Me.” It just rocked. Derek’s guitar licks were spot on, almost identical to what Duane played on the record. Hammond was looking at Derek like he’d seen a ghost.
Hammond wrapped up set one with “Cryin For My Baby,” throwing down on the blues like only he can do. It was an amazing way to close the first set out.
Set two started out wide open and only got better. Gregg introduced our friend Bonnie Bramlett, and the two of them dueted on “Oncoming Traffic.” It was very obvious Gregg was having fun. I am so happy to see Bonnie back where she belongs, in the spotlight, and so proud to have played and recorded with her myself during the past five years. She really is a “superstar.”
Bonnie’s daughter Bekka, no slouch in the vocal department her own self, joined her mom in place of her dad Delaney Bramlett for a tribute to Delaney and Bonnie with a rousing “Comin’ Home” followed by D&B’s most popular tune, the Dave Mason classic “Only You Know and I Know.” Warren and Derek were on fire and Gregg was all smiles. Old friends are the best.
Gregg said something to the effect of “Let’s not stop now,” and with that it was on to Robert Johnson’s “Come On Into My Kitchen” with Gregg, Bonnie and Warren trading vocals with John Hammond. (Trivia: It was John’s record exec dad who first brought Johnson’s music to the masses!) The blues is alright! Bonnie was just a wailing.
If that wasn’t enough, and is it ever? Susan Tedeschi then joined Bonnie and Bekka, along with Bruce Katz on the keys, to raise the roof with “The Weight.” Damn, I had an eargasm! My three all time favorite girl singers, together on one song. Amazing? You bet your sweet bippie!
I sure didn’t want to see Bonnie leave the stage, but you know what they say about “all good things.” The Brothers proceeded to keep raising the bar with the best version of “Nobody Left to Run With” I have ever heard. Ever. The jam at the end was other wordly.
Slowing it down for just a minute, Warren sang “Preachin’ Blues” accompanied only by Derek on slide. Absolutely astounding. What a freaking night.
Then came “Jessica.” That’s right. Inter-stellar, freak rock “Jessica.” Jazzy, no holds barred “Jessica.” Complete with a groovy bass solo from O’Teil and dancing drums from Butch, Jaimoe and Mark. Did I say this already? What a night! No encore, but after this night, who could ask for more, huh?
Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.
SET LIST MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2009
Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
Who’s Been Talkin’?
Come and Go Blues
So Many Roads, So Many Trains (w/ John Hammond)
Shake for Me (w/ John Hammond)
Cryin For My Baby (w/ John Hammond)
Oncoming Traffic (Gregg w/ Bonnie Bramlett)
Comin’ Home (w/ Bonnie Bramlett and Bekka Bramlett)
Only You Know and I Know (w/ Bonnie Bramlett and Bekka Bramlett)
Come On Into My Kitchen (w/ Bonnie Bramlett and John Hammond)
The Weight (w/ Bonnie Bramlett and Bekka Bramlett and Susan Tedeschi and Bruce Katz)
Nobody Left to Run With
Yeah baby, yeah!
For further Allman Brothers Band interviews and articles please visit:
Six Degrees of Swampland: The Allman Brothers Band
Please also visit our 2009 Beacon Page to see reviews of every show