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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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The Allman Brothers Band; October 22, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014

The second night of the final run had some high points, but overall, for me at least, it didn’t quite take me to that stratospheric place… except the times it did…

It is a blue collar, lunch pail kind of night. “Statesboro Blues,” a fiery “Walk on Gilded Splinters,” and “Trouble No More” are a solid 1-2-3 opening; “Splinters” simmers and roils and bubbles. Then Warren steps forward to lead the band through “Who’s Been Talkin’.” This Howlin’ Wolf cover has never made it’s way to an official release (of course it’s on a bunch of the official boots). For me though, it’s one of the quintessential songs for the current line-up. Tonight it rides in over nice, moody percolation, Warren playing thick, tiny, sweet dancing lines that eventually mosey over toward the melody. Then he lays out bluesy Santana-infused lines giving way to the opening verse. There’s a beautiful extended outro on the back end, with both guitars leaving tons of space, and darting and dancing around the unplayed notes like two kids playing in a light rain.

“Don’t Keep Me Wondering” is full of elastic jamming, riding on the back of Oteil’s frisky bass; mid-song, Warren turns toward Oteil, flashing him one of those evil, 100 megawatt smiles. “Dusk Till Dawn” is up next, long and brooding. Derek pulls us down a rabbit hole; the band tumbles along down after him, before coming out the other side and reconvening around the core riff. After “Midnight Rider,” the band unfurls “Black Hearted Woman” to wrap the set. It is a furious, smoldering, runaway freight train; Warren is piercing, everyone else runs round and round, faster and faster underneath. They hit the transition riff that segues into the “Other One” jam full of Oteil on the bottom; then the clouds part, the music goes sparse, Derek steps forward, fills more and more space, the band steps right up with him. Warren shoots another smile Oteil’s way. Derek pulls up, sprinkles silvery mist, then brings the music down… and then, for the second night in a row, an impromptu instrumental run through “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” Derek is white hot; then Warren joins him with harmony licks, they put “Circle” to bed and tumble back into the “Other One” jam, then back into “Black Hearted Woman.” It’s like a play within a play within a play, and a highlight.

The second set opens with the crowd pleaser “Melissa,” then a guitar manifesto version of “The Same Thing”—as a Beacon denizen, I’m used to hearing horns on this one-- with Warren and Derek squaring off in the mid-section. Warren offers an airy, breezy solo on “Come and Go Blues,” while Derek fills the spaces between the vocal lines with tart phrases. On “Desdemona,” Derek stirs up some flashy trouble on slide; Warren starts small, then builds a solo that is full of yearning. Then “Southbound”—the first time in ages I recall hearing this one as something besides a guest-laden encore. The peeps in the cheap seats are happy…

The set closes with a big, thunderous “Mountain Jam.” Early on, Derek rides an Oteil/drums surge. Gregg’s organ bubbles up from the driving gumbo. Then Warren goes all playful, spattering lines like questions. Oteil is rumble-atious underneath Warren; he guides the music down, down, then Jaimoe bubbles up, heralding the bass/drum section. Oteil’s hands fly across the fret board as he solos over the three drummers, then giving way to the three-man drum attack. When the players fall away and it’s just the drummers, you realize they are making the sound of life… then twin licks bring us back, the guitar intertwine like a double helix, Derek puts it to bed on the lovely false ending, giving way to the final statement of the theme. The encore, an especially jaunty “One Way Out,” is the only song repeated from the prior night.

As I say, not the magical show we come out hoping to catch, but no one went away unhappy, and the highlights were nice and high.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 3:24 PM  

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