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Allman Brothers Band: Coliseum flashback

With all the talk of the Allman Brothers calling it quits at year’s end, cherished concert memories are bound to resurface. No doubt, one of those remarkable shows was the Allman Brothers Band live at the Nassau Coliseum on May 1, 1973. Exactly one year after the Coliseum first opened its doors to the public, the Allmans hit the stage in Uniondale for a triumphant post-Duane Southern rock and roadhouse blues celebration. Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts and the rest of the crew served up a memorable evening.

The Allman Brothers will be calling it quits at the end of the year.
Photo by Cory Schwartz/Getty Images

The official archives

The ABB’s remarkable Long Island appearance in 1973 was captured on a popular bootleg that floated around for years. Then, in 2013, the band’s recording label issued an official version. The company must have agreed that the group’s rockin’ Coliseum fest was a winner, all two hours, 35 minutes and 50 seconds.

After Duane Allman’s infamous death-by-peach-truck motorcycle accident on Oct. 29, 1971 and then bassist Berry Oakley’s passing on Nov. 1, 1972, also from a motorcycle crash just blocks from where Duane lost his life, naturally the band was sent reeling. But they eventually regrouped into a jam band powerhouse, thanks to Greggs’s incredible talent and Dickey’s extraordinary picking. Oh yeah, and the Gibson Les Paul guitars and Marshall amplifiers. After all, where would the Allman Brothers be without that classic Gibson-to-Marshall tone?

Allman nuggets and Dickey’s shredding

Speaking of Les Pauls, Betts had them cranking at the Coliseum gig. The album Nassau Coliseum, NY 5/1/73, the fourth in the ABB’s archival series, is your proof. Just take a listen and you’ll find the collection resembles an Allman Brothers greatest hits anthology. Most of the gems are here, including “Wasted Words,” “Done Somebody Wrong,” “Stormy Monday” and “Statesboro Blues.”

But the favorites from the Coliseum set list are “Jessica,” “Come and Go Blues” and “Ramblin’ Man.” The trio of tunes is a mixture of what was up to then, some old and new. You will notice two of the three songs were written by Dickey Betts. The only minus in the 16 song two-disc set is the sound quality. It is less than perfect, but that only adds to the authenticity of the recording. Nevertheless, the Allman Brothers Band Coliseum show from 5/1/73 remains a favorite.