Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jam Band Giants

October was a whirlwind. I have been remiss in reporting the wondrous glory of Allman Bros. and Widespread Panic in Charlotte. I am pretty fuzzy on the details, but I know I had a stupendous time. Two of the best bands of all time (in my humble opinion), two sets, two nights = heaven.

I was a bit panicked on the first night because Warren Haynes didn't show up. Widespread's guitarist Jimmy Herring sat in for the Allman Bros. set and the Widespread set. In other words, Jimmy Herring was the hero of the night. The chemistry between him and Derek Trucks added some spice to the group, but Warren's harmonies with Gregg were certainly missed. Gregg brought his A+ game, though - standing with his guitar most of the set and letting Gov't Mule's keyboardist Danny Louis take over on the B3.

When Widespread came out that first night, it was magical. I was completely lost in musical bliss. Jimmy blew my mind. When he played with the Brothers, there was a completely different dynamic than with Widespread. His virtuosity was unparalleled that weekend. No one impressed me as much as he did. The first notes of "Surprise Valley" kicked in and when JB belted out, "goodbye it's time to fly"....that was it for me. The setlist that night was insanity - one barn-burner after another. I can remember details when I really concentrate, but the feeling - that's all that really matters.

Night two, the bands swapped set times - Panic opened and ABB closed. Throughout the entire Widespread portion, I kept hoping that Warren would be there but I didn't want to be disappointed again. Then my fears were assuaged when the crowd roared and he appeared for a rollicking "Henry Parsons" > "Mr. Soul" to close out the set.

The Allman Brothers broke into some deep,bluesy jams for their part of the evening. I think we all needed something to help us unwind. There were moments of their set when I felt like I could cry it was so fantastic. It had been way too long since I saw them; and as much as Jimmy rocked it the first night, it's not the same without Warren. My prayers were answered when they ripped into "Rocking Horse," - my all-time favorite Warren song. Then the unexpected surprise of the evening - the lovely Ms. Susan Tedeschi appeared to share the stage with hubby Derek Trucks for a wonderful rendition of "Little by Little." They closed it out with "You Don't Love Me," another favorite of mine. I was in seventh heaven.

I don't have any concerts lined up for November, a major bummer of being a responsible adult and having a "career." The soundboards from those two nights will just have to hold me over 'til Phish in Charlottesville on December 5!

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