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Story and photos by Matt SchwenkeWith Robert Randolph & The Family Band providing an electrifying opening set for the Allman Brothers Band, the buzz in the air at the Riverside Theatre during intermission was of an almost nervous excitement to see if Gregg Allman and company could match the intensity.
While normally very stoic and unmoving, Allman was as lively as ever, largely due to the fireworks produced by Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks on guitar. Opening the set with "Mountain Jam," which usually doodles on past the 20- or 30-minute mark, the band was rather poignant. Followed up by "Midnight Rider," Allman's voice was on the money, and the sold-out crowd responded with much applause. Seeming to light his fire, Allman let his organ wail and pined in sweet harmony with Haynes during "Highway 61," in which Haynes and Trucks would later trade fiery solos. Appeasing the older crowd and drawing in the younger, a revamped take on The Band's "The Weight" was a nice change of pace and was executed masterfully. Other notables from the evening included Haynes' vocals and Trucks' guitar doing incredible justice to Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lighting" and a reprise of "Mountain Jam" to end the set.
As the onus to solo was passed around until a drum/percussion session found bassist Oteil Burbridge sporting some multi-instrumental talent, Gregg Allman was all smiles as the talented musicians around him helped breathe new life into his storied career and encore version of "Southbound" with Randolph sitting in sealed the deal.
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