Elvis Costello, Gregg Allman, Elton John & Leon Russell, Neko Case Share the Stage
T Bone Burnett
Elvis Costello, Gregg Allman, Elton John & Leon Russell, Neko Case, Punch Brothers, Jeff Bridges and Ralph Stanley were among the musicians who participated in T Bone Burnett’s The Speaking Clock Revue this past Saturday at Boston’s Wang Theatre. The show was based on Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour, which Burnett credits as his first job in the music industry. The various musicians—most of whom have worked with Burnett in some capacity—each performed short, often collaborative-heavy sets. A steady supporting band, comprised of Burnett sessions musicians such as guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Jim Keltner, backed the various musicians at various points throughout the night.
The show opened with Costello and Burnett onstage together performing “Brilliant Mistake,” a song the pair recorded for the 1986 album King of America. Later in the night, Gregg Allman made his first public performance since undergoing a liver transplant this past spring. The Allman Brothers founder performed a few songs with the show’s house band, including a version of “Midnight Rider” that featured Neko Case on auxiliary vocals. Allman, who played electric or acoustic guitar on all songs, also played Sleepy John Estes’ “Floating Bridge” and Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Get Satisfied” off his forthcoming, Burnett-produced album Low Country Blues.
Other highlights included short performances by bluegrass veteran Ralph Stanley (who scored a new later in life audience thanks to his work with Burnett on the O, Brother soundtrack) and the Punch Brothers. In addition, John Mellencamp played a set of blues songs from his work with the famed producer, while Jeff Bridges slipped into his Bad Blake character from Crazy Heart for a few songs.
The night closed with Elton John and Leon Russell on dueling pianos offering songs from their new collaborative album. Allman returned to the stage to sing with the piano masters on “Gone to Shiloh.” New York’s Beacon Theater will host the Revue this Wednesday. The show will also mark Gregg Allman’s return to the venue for the first time since 2009.