Review by Donna Lenz WrightThe embodiment of '70s Southern rock, the Allman Brothers Band didn't let the crowd down at the second night of Milwaukee's Summerfest this year. The crowd was ready when Greg and the boys opened with the immediately recognizable "Don't Want You / No Cross to Bear" combo. They followed with "Trouble No More" while people from 16 to 60 jumped to their feet and sang along. Even though Greg is not the most personable musician, the audience didn't seem to notice while they danced, sang along and cheered on "All Night Train," "Good Clean Fun" and "Midnight Rider," to name a few.
Photos by Terry Mayer
Regardless of the non-founding lineup, the Allmans remain one of the few bands that offer a visit to the glory days. They don't try to cram all of their new tunes down the throats of fans hoping to hear some Allman classics. The band delivers. And even when they do play their new tunes, of which there were only two, "You Don't Love Me" and "Samething," both have the distinctive Allman sound, fit well and pull new suspense from the old classics. In all, the hall-of-famers didn't let the fans down with their original sounds of improv blues, jazz, soul and R&B. Their kind of jamming requires a level of technical virtuosity and musical literacy that is still widely unattainable by the musicians of today. Having paved the way for other bands from the south, including Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band and the Charlie Daniels Band, the Allman Brothers Band satisfies their audience as if it were still 1969.
A special note about Derek Trucks, guitarist and nephew of drummer and veteran Allman Brothers band member Butch Trucks. The kid is incredible. His guitar talent is definitely worth checking out. His grasp of soulful jams and the dual-guitar style of the band has obviously been mastered by this man, and his long blond ponytail fits in well with the Allman trademark.
Phil Lesh & Friends topped off the night with the familiar unscripted jams of the Grateful Dead and the crowd loved it. One of the first meetings of the two bands was in 1973 in New York, and this summer's team-up was a definite success. The crowd was happy and appreciated the show. To quote a line from "Midnight Rider," "the road of these legendary musicians goes on forever." Note from author: Would someone please tell the 20-something Dead Heads that real Dead Heads do shower and do their laundry!
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