Friday night’s Beacon extravaganza began with the Duane slide show backed by “Little Martha,” this time played by Oteil Burbridge solo, on bass. It was pretty awesome. Beautiful rendition.
You know the show is gonna be great when they start out with “Mountain Jam.” Don’t know that I personally have ever witnessed “Jam” as opener. Derek Trucks was again hittin’ the note from the very outset, as was Warren Haynes. Ah, and a tease return to “Little Martha” from Derek followed a “Norwegian Wood” semi-tease from Haynes. I could tell the stars were lining up for their second round with Clapton. Well, the Strat was back onstage, so I merely assumed.
On the heels of a stellar “Mountain Jam” came “Trouble No More,” with Gregg pumping his very soul into the vocal. If last night was the best yet, tonight stood to equal or maybe even surpass that lofty stature.
The familiar strains of “Midnight Rider” pierced the air, as the band turned in a great, 45-length version, with some great harmonies between Gregg and Warren, before inviting Gov’t Mule’s Danny Louis to the stage for a hot blues, “44 Blues.” Warren is one hell of a singer, man. I love to hear him. And then there’s his guitar artistry. Just awesome.
Gregg counted off the next tune, one I am so happy they added to the set for the Beacon run, the Brothers & Sisters track “Wasted Words.” It was hittin’ on all cylinders tonight. Best version of this song so far in the run. Some major jamming from Warren and Derek.
Nice to hear “Gambler’s Roll” again. Gregg was in the mood! And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, he took off on “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More.” Now, I am not sure how long Gregg has been changing the lyric, I know he has every time this run, but I like it. The original words were, “And all the war freaks die off, leavin us alone. Well raise our children in the peaceful way we can.” He changed “war freaks” to “terrorists.” Pretty nifty.
They came right out of that into the shuffle part of “Mountain Jam,” just kicking like a mule. (Sorry Warren, pun intended). Then a “Little Martha” tease and back into “Mountain Jam” proper. What?! This was just killer. Off the scale, baby. Then came intermission. Whew. It was time for a smoke break. Hey, wait a minute, I don’t smoke. Well, maybe I’ll start tonight.
After a seemingly endless intermission (so, I’m impatient) Les Brers came back onstage, Gregory strapped on the acoustic and pulled out a beautiful “Melissa.” Then he returned to the piano bench and fired up the B-3 on “Leave My Blues at Home.” Good Lord, the man was busting out with blues that would make Koko Taylor envious.
Next up was another fan favorite, the Bo Diddley beat of “Nobody Left to Run With Anymore” lit up the theatre and set the stage for even more slide magic from Derek Trucks, who I swear was channeling Duane Allman’s spirit tonight more than ever. Well, except maybe for last night with Clapton. And hey, Warren was on fire too.
Warren introduced Eric Clapton, and in a flashback to last night, they kicked off with “Key To The Highway,” with Gregg sharing vocal duties with Clapton. For some reason though, the song sounded tighter, and Clapton even better than last night. And when he hit the solo, it was flawless. Well, he is Eric Clapton. And he proceeded to remind us all of that fact as the band went into “Stormy Monday.” It was great fun watching Clapton strike soft chords behind Derek as he blazed across the fret board. Warren followed suit, playing some tasty blues licks. Imagine that. Of course, when it was Eric’s turn to shine, he again soared like an eagle.
In between songs there was a lot of laughter and talk onstage. It was apparent that the guys were having a helluva a good time. Of course, that translated directly to the audience, and we soaked it in like so many rays of sunshine.
Next came “Dreams,” a song that has seen some amazing jams during this Beacon run. Tonight was quite special, with Clapton soloing to beat the band. There were so many times tonight when Eric looked at Derek while Derek was playing and just smiled real big. Warren too. And then Derek would grin while E.C. was playing. The mutual admiration society. You bet. And I admired all three.
I’ve already emoted last night over my love of the Layla album, so I won’t bore you with a second testimony. But yes, I was grinning like a stuck possum when Eric took off on “Why Does Love Have to Be So Sad?” Amazing. Just amazing. As good as Clapton was last night, and he was very good, he was better tonight. The guy was on fire from start to finish. His voice, his guitar, everything. One for the books, fellow babies.
At one point “Why Does Love” broke down into one of those trademark “Allmans in Space” episodes. Ethereal. Beautiful. Holy Moogis, Batman!
The “New Dominos” live, ladies and gentleman. “Little Wing” was living, breathing proof of it. Breathtaking guitar work from Eric. I seriously just ran out of adjectives. No kidding. If I had to make up a new one, it would be - superfinious. Yeah. Superfinious.
Was I dreaming, or did Clapton and Derek Trucks just play twin leads on “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed?” Well. They did, and then Clapton seriously took it all to another level with his solo. Do I miss Dickey? Hell yes. I love Dickey. Betts Was this a mesmerizing version of his song? You bet your ass.
I think everyone predicted the encore, and what an encore it was. There’s been a lot of talk online and otherwise today about several of the Clapton songs repeating. From past experience, it looks to me like there are plans afoot for a DVD, and of course, they can pick the best version of “Layla,” which was definitely tonight. Full power, tighter than Oprah’s underpants. Killer. And so they wrapped up the much anticipated dual Clapton nights in style. Good stuff. Be interesting to see who the guests are tomorrow. I would not want to follow that. No way.
Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.
SETLIST MARCH 20, 2009
Little Martha (O’Teil solo)
Trouble No More
44 Blues (w/ Danny Louis)
Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More > Mountain Jam
Leave My Blues at Home
Nobody Left to Run With
Key To The Highway (w/ Eric Clapton)
Stormy Monday (w/ Eric Clapton)
Dreams (w/ Eric Clapton)
Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad? (w/ Eric Clapton)
Little Wing (w/ Eric Clapton)
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (w/ Eric Clapton)
Layla (w/ Eric Clapton)
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