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I was born at a relatively young age. Growing up consumed the better part of my childhood. As a young man I chased a lot of girls. But they kept getting away. Then I got older and even slower, so I got married. I've lived in New York City almost since before I moved here. I summer in Manhattan, which is like New York City, but with more humidity.

Here's me, without baby, thinking big thoughts. (Actually, what I'm thinking is, "Hey, these aren't Pringles!") I think I look better with baby.

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Allmans at the Beacon: 3/18/14
Friday, March 21, 2014
Trouble No More
Leave My Blues at Home
Rockin' Horse >
Low Down Dirty Mean
I Found a Love (Juke Horns)
It Makes No Difference (Juke Horns)
The Same Thing (Juke Horns; Yonrico Scott, Cyril Neville)

One Way Out (Robert Randolph)
Done Somebody Wrong
Feel Like Breakin' Up Somebody's Home (Juke Horns)
Stand Back (Jukes Horns)
Please Call Home (Juke Horns)
Mountain Jam > drums > Mountain Jam

E: Southbound (Juke Horns; Jeff Pitchell, guitar)

Everybody love the big, as my pal Ron calls them, "Who's your daddy?" weekend shows.  But personally, I always have a soft spot in my heart and ears for those magical mid-week shows... sometimes everything hits just right, and the mid-week shows can be true gold. This was one of those nights, where pretty much everything the band tried, succeeded; to my ears, the best of the 5 shows I've seen so far.

Warren offers a nasty little spanking on "Trouble No More," Derek wails like s tomcat, hitting the spot. "Leave My Blues at Home" has the boys cooking in a cauldron, seriously crunchy, an extended conversation between Derek and Warren becomes more and more heated, then everyone tumbles forward into the closing licks. Two songs in and they've already made a statement.

Oteil drops a little bottom on yo' ass, which quickly evolves into the opening movement of "Rocking Horse." Derek and the drummers lock into a brisk funk rhythm, Warren falls into it, then solos happily over the top, going a good long time before putting on the fire chief hat and pouring on the gasoline. Your brain asks your ass to dance; but your ass is way ahead of you.  Meanwhile Warren just drills away at that spot... then the band makes some misty transition space, Derek takes some eastern-sounding runs, then goes all sunshiny, and Oteil lays down the bottom that becomes the "Derek's tune" movement.

As the final section of a massive "Horse" winds down Derek takes a few steps over to check in with Gregg; then the band rolls straight into "Low Down Dirty Mean." Warren plays some ticklish, loping slide reminiscent of Jerry Garcia, then Derek hitches a ride into town on the outro; Warren takes a little delta blues run of his own, then throws the gauntlet down to Derek, and the two of them play a little game of "can you top this," camping it up in super-playful fashion.  They both bust out in smiles as the band hits the final chords; good to see they are having as much fun as we are.  Highlight.

Derek soars on "Revival," offering up a little "Mountain Jam" tease. Oteil locks in and shimmers with Marc. Warren explores, probes, then finds a groove he likes and he's off, watery lines rippling out over the room. Then the percussionists lay down the shaky mystic groove of "Egypt," Oteil enters, then the guitars. "Egypt" may well be this line-up's signature instrumental. Derek races up and down the neck, then pulls up for a stop leading into a sparse interlude that the two guitars fill with rubbery question marks, then Warren goes all Warren Haynes epic elegiac, until finally the band returns on a cool midnight breeze. Exquisite.

It's mid-week, so out come the Juke Horns, first for "I Found a Love."  Derek manages to keep his solo inside the lines, which isn't easy; imagine Hendrix jamming with the Ink Spots. Yonrico Scott joins on Jaimoe's kit for the Band chestnut "It Makes No Difference," which features a lovely Warren vocal performance, the horns straining against the vocal melody. A trumpet solo, then Derek hits the payoff on the end of his solo. Next Cyril Neville joins the fun for an epic "Same Thing." A tasty trombone solo, N'Awlins-style; the engine room responds, sending up heat. Warren stings and dances. More vocals, then ensemble horn lines, then Oteil runs up and down his fret board, dropping handfuls of thunder every which way. The band comes back hard, churns; the horns go off into organized chaos, then some searing Warren guitar.  Then the horns ride the riff hard into the close.  Bam! Spectacular ending to a spectacular set.

In case you were worried the second set would be anti-climactic, Robert Randolph sits in on pedal steel for a scorching "One Way Out." Randolph totally slays it, then a three man hot potato, and a thrilled house; Randolph goes frisky on Gregg's vocal conclusion. Then "Done Somebody Wrong," the rhythm has you bending at the waist in time. Both guitars play great rhythm; Derek plays a creamy solo over the hard stop-time.

"Desdemona" is more sprightly than usual; Derek 's solo section features an extended attack, aggressive; Warren sprinkles raindrops, then paints in purples and blues, with clear, full, piercing tone. Then he goes as kickass as he can without actually spewing fire. Derek fattens up the close... usually this song's middle break harkens back to "My Favorite Things;" but tonight it was way more upbeat and assertive.

Back come the horns for "Fell Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home," laying on a classic R'n'B vibe. Derek, Warren and Oteil all turn to face Marc and the drummers, and soon it's just Oteil and the drum section simmering.  Then the horns blow, and Warren stings, soloing over a vigorous, frenetic one-chord grind, on and on, spewing liquid fire.  Then the horns again on the riff into close, and the room fills with whoops.

"Stand Back" features brassy sax over a rubbery band groove, Oteil bounces fat notes off the stage. The band is seriously in the pocket. Derek leans hard against the insistent grain, big, loud and fantastic as the band rides the crest.

"Please Call Home" is gorgeous. Derek sprinkles lines around a pleading Gregg vocal, then a pleading Warren solo. The horns swell on the bridge, Derek trades lovely lines with Gregg's vocal lines, then on the outro Derek pleads over the brass.  As pretty a version of this tune as I've heard.

They come into ""Mountain Jam" sort of sideways, stating, then avoiding the theme, sort of sneaking up on it. Derek puts out some shapeshifting tone that fills your heart, as Warren chops out encouraging chords. Then Derek strolls over from Warren to Gregg, Gregg sees him coming and begins a vamp.  Soon the whole band is on it. Warren lays into a solo with full body English, swooping and diving with guitar heroics, not going anywhere near the song proper... the front line falls away to a drum solo, deep and dark, then a return on the harmony licks, ringing out.  Derek takes us home, and I mean all the way home, to that pure white light deep inside... then Derek and Warren fall in together, ring out, take the pace down, Warren splashes, then Derek puts it to bed with big, ringing joyous tone.

"Southbound" is inevitable, everyone getting last licks in as they pass the groove around. All in all, a hell of a show.  Great song selection, great playing. As I said, pretty much everything worked. A couple of shows I've seen this run were light on the jam, but tonight, they just went at it in a totally lousy goosy fashion. Gold stars all around.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 5:57 PM  

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