Peter Frampton, Bernie Williams, Johnny Winter, Taylor Hicks, and Govt Mule Help the Allman Brothers Band Close its Beacon Residency
Last night, the Allman Brothers Band closed out its fifteenth multi-night run at the Beacon Theater and final residency before the aging room undergoes a significant renovation later this year. While the first two nights of the groups run remained surprisingly guest free, the Allman Brothers Band made up for lost time and invited a handful of heavy hitters onstage throughout the weekend (some more literal than others). On Thursday, twenty-one-year-old jazz guitarist Vince Esquire, who has opened for Derek Trucks on a number of occasions, emerged for One Way Out and Statesboro Blues, before former Traffic guitarist Dave Mason and veteran session keyboardist Bruce Katz (who performed in the classic version of Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters) helped the Allman Brothers Band what we believe to be the groups first cover of Bob Dylans All Along the Watchtower. Along with drummer Kerry Bell, the paired performers also joined the Allman Brothers Band for a version Feelin’ Alright, a Mason original Joe Cocker turned into an international hit. During the groups second set, Luther Dickinson also lent some of his axe might to Done Somebody Wrong, while Mountain guitarist Leslie West and Katz appeared with the Allman Brothers on both Stevie Ray Vaughns The Sky Is Crying and Robert Johnsons Crossroads (a number Trucks has perfected during his recent tenure with Eric Clapton).
Then, on Friday, the Allman Brothers Band celebrated Warren Haynes birthday by letting the guitarist handpick a number of popular covers, such as The Bands The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and The Weight. The Asbury Juke Horns also appeared onstage at various throughout the night, including a choice version of I’ve Been Lovin’ You Too Long. For the second time in as many years, Peter Frampton also joined the Allman Brothers onstage at the Beacon, fronting the group on Big Bill Broonzys Key To The Highway and his signature Born Under A Bad Sign. Frampton and the Asbury Jukes later returned to help the group close its show with a version of Southbound. A bit earlier, at the end of the Allman Brothers Bands second set, Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice also appeared on In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.
Saturdays performance featured an even more eclectic mix of guests. During the Allman Brothers Bands first set, recently retired New York Yankee—-and Jammy Awards alum—-Bernie Williams showed off his guitar chops on Who’s Been Talking (a few hours after his former teammates took the Baltimore Orioles 10-7). Immediately after, blues guitarist Larry McCray, who is rumored to play with Phil Lesh in New York tonight, helped the ABB close its first set with Statesboro Blues. At the start of the Allman Brothers Bands second set, Govt Mule, Leo Nocentelli, and Cyril Neville offered stealth appearances, running through the Mardi Gras anthems Fiyo on the Bayou and Hey Pocky Way (on both Friday and Saturday Nocentelli, Neville, and Govt Mules Matt Abts, Danny Louis, and Andy Hess anchored two late night jams at New Yorks BB King Blues Club with the aid of Gregg Allman and Friends saxophonist Jay Collins and local sax hero Cheme) . For its encore, the Allman Brothers Band also brought out Collins and Robert Randolph for a version of Turn On Your Lovelight.
Finally, last night, the Allman Brothers closed out its fifteen night run with a last minute show at the Beacon. In celebration of The Sopranos final season, the group played the popular shows theme on the PA before their performance. During the groups first set, jazz saxophonist David Sanborn appeared on Soulshine. Near the end of a blues-oriented set, fellow Fillmore-alum Johnny Winter made a rare appearance with the Allman Brothers Band, leading the group through a handful of songs from his repertoire: Mojo Boogie, Black Jack, and I’‘m Tore Down.
Bringing its run full circle, the Allman Brothers Band opened its final set with the same song that opened its first public performance this run, Miles Davis In A Silent Way. As a treat, Ravi Coltrane, the son of Davis former bandmate John Coltrane, played saxophone on the number. After versions of Melissa and Whipping Post, Late Night guitarist Jimmy Vivino helped the group through a take on Franklins Tower and Sanborn returned for Desdemona. Extending curfew for a bit, the Allman Brothers Band offered an extended encore featuring a bit of Duane Allmans Little Martha by Oteil Burbridge, One Way Out, and Revival. American Idol champ Taylor Hicks also continued his domination of the Jambands.com Box Scores section, playing harp on One Way Out.
The Allman Brothers Band will host its Wanee Music Festival in Live Oak, FL on April 13 and 14.