Forty years later, the Allmans still have it

Photo: Allison Duck

When you’ve been around as long as the Allman Brothers Band and have such a large catalog to choose from, someone’s favorite song is bound to be missing from each set list you create. Two of the Allman’s most popular hits, “Ramblin’ Man” and “Blue Sky” were noticeably absent Sunday night at Red Rock. Another crowd favorite, the instrumental “Jessica” was also missing. Sure, Led Zeppelin probably got sick of playing “Stairway to Heaven” too, but I almost feel like bands have an obligation to play the crowd’s favorite tunes - that’s what they’re paying to hear.

The Allman Brothers Band @ Red Rock

On the other hand, in some ways it’s cooler that they didn’t perform the overplayed hits and stuck to some back catalog songs. Despite a few missing hits, The Allman Brothers Band, in their 40th year together, put on an impressive show. Their new lineup, including Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes and Oteil Burbridge, brings back the vibe of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, even though Trucks wasn’t even born when the original lineup began making music.

The new guard’s mastery of classic Allman tunes was evident in “Revival” – where they crowd sang along “love is everywhere.” They easily could have sang, “pot smoke is in the air.” Old stoners in tie-dye must have come directly from the previous night’s Cheech and Chong show at the Pearl.

The older crowd really got into the show, smacking aluminum beer bottles together like the thundersticks they hand out at sporting events as bassist Oteil Burbridge launched into the well-known 11/8 bass opening of “Whipping Post.” On songs like that one and “Midnight Rider,” it was evident that time has not had a detrimental effect on Gregg Allman’s pipes. His voice is as rich as ever.

With many of the original members succumbing to early deaths or no longer in the band, the Allman Brothers Band was one group I never imagined being able to see live. Despite the lineup change and the fact that the Allman Brothers consists of just the one Allman, this is definitely the best ensemble since the original and they’re able to bring the hits to a whole new generation.


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