Another March at the Beacon
On Sunday, the Allman Brothers Band closed out its fourteenth run of shows at the Beacon Theater with a version of its old war horse, Whipping Post. The Allman Brothers Band instantly fell in love with the Beacon after performing at the aging New York Theater on its 1989 reunion tour, likening the venues loose vibe to the spirit of psychedelic womb the Fillmore East. In 1992, the Allman Brothers performed a multi-day spring run at the Beacon and a tradition was born.
Since its first show this March, the Allman Brothers Band has invited festivals worth of special guests to the Beacon and, as expected, this weekends setlist included a number of notable asterisks. On Friday, the Allman Brothers Band surprised many fans by inviting frequent Beacon-run observer Bruce Willis onstage for a version of The Sky is Crying at the start of its second set (for those keeping score at home, this is Willis second Jambands.com appearance since the New Year; in January the movie star also joined Ivan Neville at BB King Blues Club). Over the course of the night, both Susan Tedeschi and saxophonist Ron Holloway also joined in the fray, sparring on a particularly memorable version of the Bands The Weight. The Allman Brothers Bands parade of guests continued Saturday as Holloway returned for Desdemona, Turn on Your Lovelight and Southbound, with Robert Randolph sitting in on the latter two numbers. At the start of the groups second set, John Hammond Jr., an old friend of ABB-founder Duane Allman, emerged for a solo guitar version of Drop Down Mama and an acoustic duet with Warren Haynes on Just Your Fool. Hammond then joined the entire band for Shake For Me. Last night, Hammond made an encore appearance, offering a brief mini-set capped off with a full-band version of Spoonful. In addition, the choice-rhythm section of Jimmy Cobb and Will Calhoun, as well as saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, enhanced a mammoth version of Afro Blue during the groups first.
Throughout March, the Allman Brothers Band has invited a record number of musicians onstage including Hubert Sumlin, Susan Tedeschi, Devon Allman, Gary Rossington, Peter Frampton, Will Calhoun, Roy Haynes, Chuck Leavell, Susan Tedeschi, Asbury Juke Horns, Elvin Bishop, Pinetop Perkins, Mike Merritt, Robben Ford, Taj Mahal, Ben Harper, Brian Stoltz, The Gregg Allman Horns, Duane Trucks, Mike Mattison, Cornell Dupree, Bernard Purdie, Jerry Jemmott, Leslie West, Corky Laing, Tal Wilkenfeld, Chris Barretto, Jimmy Vivino, Ron Holloway, Bruce Willis, Robert Randolph, John Hammond, Ravi Coltrane, Jimmy Cobb and Dick Griffin. With guests ranging from second-generation musicians still in their teens (Duane Trucks) to veteran performers in their 90s (Pinetop Perkins), the average age of the Allman Brothers Bands 2006 Beacon guest is, approximately, the golden age of 50 years old.