Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue


Published: 2017/12/10

Warren Haynes Brings Collaborations, Tributes and More to 29th Annual Christmas Jam

Dino Perrucci

This weekend, in the midst of Asheville’s 15th worst snowstorm on record, Warren Haynes’ customary Christmas Jam was held at the U.S. Cellular Center. Headliners like Gov’t Mule and Trey Anastasio Band drew a sold-out crowd, but it was Haynes’ unannounced three-song acoustic performance with Trey Anastasio that set all forms of social media ablaze. In a thrilling collaboration, the two frontmen took things slow and tugged at the audience’s heartstrings, playing Phish ballad “Miss You,” then the classic Allmans tune “Midnight Rider” before welcoming pianist Holly Bowling to the stage for a reflective, three-piece rendition of the Dead’s “Morning Dew.”

Earlier, Haynes revisited another Allmans classic when he briefly sat-in with ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro on “Melissa.” Shimabukuro followed that up with a few solo songs including The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Later, Margo Price and Blackberry Smoke did a fine job of keeping the snowy evening full of sunny southern jams. And after a successful summer collaborating Bob Weir, The Avett Brothers opted for a stripped down lineup consisting of only official members Seth and Scott Avett, Bob Crawford and Joe Kwon, instead of the full touring band. They played standby tracks like “Laundry Room,” “Paranoia in B Flat” before joining Warren Haynes in his subsequent solo set for “If We Make It Through December” and “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.”

The North Carolina crowd may have full of southern rock aficionados, but the Phish fans in attendance anxiously awaited Trey Anastasio and his Classic TAB band, marking their first reunion since 2008. The lineup consisted of group co-founders Anastasio and drummer Russ Lawton, bassist Tony Markellis as well as longtime core member Ray Paczkowski on the keys. The band kept things light opening with “Gotta Jibboo,” and later busted out Marc Ribot’s “Aqui Como Alla,” a song TAB covered regularly in the late ‘90s/early aughts, but hadn’t played since 2001, oddly enough, in North Carolina. Trey and his band ended their set with customary closer “First Tube.”

As expected, there were endless collaborations in the 29th installment of the Christmas Jam, most notably during the Les Bros set. Originally billed to include former ABB members Jaimoe and Jack Pearson, the Les Bros roster was altered in their absence. Haynes was joined by Marc Quiñones, Lamar Williams Jr., Bruce Katz, Paul Riddle and Mule bassist Jorgen Carlsson. (Some fans may recall drummer Paul subbed-in for Jaimoe in the mid ‘90s, including on their Grammy-winning version of “Jessica.”) Skilled improvisor Mike Barnes added additional guitar on the Allman’s standby “In Memory Elizabeth Reed” as well as “Southbound” which also featured Brandon “Taz” Niederauer on guitar and Craig Sorrels on trumpet. Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr then joined in for “Blue Sky” and Marcus King lended a hand on “Dreams” as well as the finale of “Whipping Post.”

Gov’t Mule closed out the evening with Ann Wilson, marking their second collaboration since their initial meeting at the Lockn’ Festival this summer. Wilson had no trouble singing Led Zeppelin bangers like “Black Dog” and “Immigrant Song,” and later dove into the Heart classic “Magic Man,” her voice sounding as good as when she recorded it in 1975. As the clock ticked into the early morning hours, Gov’t Mule closed out this year’s Christmas Jam with the self-referential, 1995 track “Mule.” And despite some hazardous weather, it was one hell of a Christmas Party. See below for full setlists, and see more photos from the night here.

HOLLY BOWLING (pre-show)
St. Stephen > Free, Proxima B, Cassidy, Little Martha

Melissa, While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Jake solo), Dragon (Jake solo)

Nowhere Fast, Tennessee Song, Wild Women, Hurtin’ (On the Bottle), Learning to Lose, All American Made, Paper Cowboy

Bird Song > 6/8, Hallelujah

Fire in the Hole, Let It Burn, Waiting for the Thunder, Free on the Wing (w/Benji Shanks, guitar), Ain’t Got the Blues (w/Benji Shanks, guitar), Will the Circle Be Unbroken Intro > Ain’t Much Left of Me

Blue Ridge Mountain Blues, Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women, Country Blues, Laundry Room, Paranoia in B Flat, No Hard Feelings

If We Make It Through December (w/The Avett Brothers), You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (w/The Avett Brothers), Southern Accents (w/Ann Wilson), I Am the Highway (w/Ann Wilson and Jake Shimabukuro)

Gotta Jibboo, Burn That Bridge, Everything’s Right, Aqui Como Alla, Sand, Dark and Down, Set Your Soul Free, First Tube

Miss You (w/Trey Anastasio), Midnight Rider (w/Trey Anastasio), Morning Dew (w/Holly Bowling)

LES BROS (Marc Quiñones, Warren Haynes, Paul Riddle, Lamar Williams Jr., Bruce Katz, Jorgen Carlsson)
Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (w/Mike Barnes, guitar), Southbound (w/Mike Barnes, guitar, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, guitar, and Craig Sorrels, trumpet), Blue Sky (w/Charlie Starr, guitar), Dreams (w/Marcus King, guitar), Whipping Post (w/Marcus King, guitar)

Remember, Jealous Man (w/ Stephen Campbell), Where I’m Headed (w/Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, guitar and Stephen Campbell), Rita Is Gone (w/ Stephen Campbell, Dean Mitchell, Kyle Snuffer & Craig Sorrels), Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (w/Craig Sorrels, trumpet, Stephen Campbell, Dean Mitchell, Kyle Snuffer, Charlie Starr)

Traveling Tune, Thorns of Life, No Quarter (w/Ann Wilson, vocals), Black Dog (w/Ann Wilson, vocals), Cry Baby (w/Ann Wilson, vocals), Mother Earth (w/Ann Wilson, vocals) > You Shook Me (w/Ann Wilson, vocals), Immigrant Song (w/Ann Wilson, vocals), Magic Man (w/Ann Wilson, vocals), Mule (w/Craig Sorrels, trumpet)

Show 16 Comments