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The Allman Brothers Band return home

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Live Review: The Allman Brothers Band with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA 9/2/13

Forty-four years after the Allman Brothers Band released their first album, many things have changed. Two short years into their recording career, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia. Duane seemed to be the heart of the Allman Brothers Band and remaining members – including brother Gregg – were in a daze for some time. That is, until Gregg said, “Let’s go play.”

Throughout the band’s career, there have been many lineup changes, but the one constant has been Allman’s soulful voice and his perfect touch on his Hammond B3 organ. It has become their sound. But that Duane Allman wicked slide guitar has been sorely missed. The void is almost completely filled by two legends: the veteran Warren Haynes and the child-prodigy-all-grown-up Derek Trucks. Both have stellar careers outside the ABB, but while in the band, they raise the bar to the highest standard.

As the show began, images of Duane flashed on the big screens on and near the stage while the band ripped into “Statesboro Blues.” It was an instant crowd pleaser. Another highpoint was a cover of the Beatles’ “Rain.” Allman sat stoically at the Hammond doing most of the singing. He did grab an acoustic guitar and stand at the mic to sing “Melissa.” For a late summer evening in Atlanta, the temps cooled down and there was even a breeze, which somehow made the music sound better.

While every member of the band was a tight and accomplished musician, not enough can be said for Haynes and Trucks. It was a guitar-driven evening in which the complexity and skill of these two gentlemen were awe-inspiring. It is well known that Trucks grew up a child prodigy and mirrored his playing style after the late, great Duane Allman. It’s as if Trucks is the reincarnation of Duane. He is a genuine and impeccable slide guitar master.

Towards the end of the show, Jimmy Herring and Tinsley Ellis both made their way onto the stage to do a little jamming for old time’s sake. Gregg Allman’s voice still sounds fresh and strong, while the rest of the band was sounding good enough for a Fillmore gig. Allman has had his ups and downs the past few years, but he still seems healthy and energetic enough to make incredible music. Here’s hoping that the rumors of him hanging it up next year for the Allman Brothers Band’s 45th reunion are untrue.

Setlist

Statesboro Blues, Midnight Rider, I Walk On Guilded Splinters, Blue Sky, Trouble No More, Rain, Stormy Monday, Dusk Till Dawn, Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed, Melissa, One Way Out, No One To Run With

Encore: Feel Like Breaking Up, Somebody’s Home, Whipping Post

Vermont natives Grace Potter and the Nocturnals nearly burned the place down as they rocked Alpharetta. What an awesome complement to the Allman Brothers Band. Potter fit right in with the southern blues vibe, with pipes reminiscent of Janis Joplin. Terrific voice, incredible band, perfect opener.

She kicked off her set with the funky/bluesy “Medicine,” and it just got better from there, even treating the fans to a Gillian Welch cover of “Elvis Presley Blues.” Potter and the Nocturnals are touring in support of their latest album The Lion the Beast the Beat (Hollywood Records).

The group played an extensive set and had the crowd standing by the end. A perfect night would have been Potter singing onstage with the Allman Brothers Band. Maybe next time.

Set List

Medicine, Ah Mary, Low Road, Stars, One Short Night, Joey, Stop The Bus, Elvis Presley Blues, Big White Gate, Sweet Hands, Nothing But The Water (I), The Lion The Beast The Beat, Paris (Ooh La La), The Divide

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