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Gov't Mule

Evil Teen

Let’s turn the pages back to what seems now like a simpler time. Say, 1999. It’s the final hours of the 20th century and New Year’s Eve parties are happening across the world. And if the hype is to be believed, a technological catastrophe awaits mankind seconds after the clock strikes midnight due to a computer glitch that has to do with how the calendar date has been set up. Of course, that doomsday scenario never took place but Gov’t Mule certainly sounds as if it’s playing with all the intensity that accompanies the possible end of the worlds as we know it on the three-CD set, Mulennium. If society was about to disintegrate due to a bunch of one’s and zero’s not applied correctly then messengers Warren Haynes, Allen Woody and Matt Abts were certainly going out in a blaze of glory.

That triumphant force begins with an opening salvo of “Bad Little Doggie” followed by “Lay Your Burden Down” and “Blind Man in the Dark.” Those songs mark the start of what becomes more than three hours of music. Prior to a figurative auld lang syne, the set focuses on Mule originals from “Dose” and a taste of the upcoming 2000 release, “Life Before Insanity.”

Moving into the opening of the year 2000, the trio choose the perversely genius choice of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man.” After that the fun begins with a run of covers that range from the Who (“We’re Not Gonna Take It”), Alice Cooper (“Is It My Body?”), the Beatles (“Helter Skelter”), Led Zeppelin (“Dazed and Confused”), Bob Dylan (a stunning “I Shall Be Released”), the Black Crowes (“Sometimes Salvation”), Humble Pie (“30 Days in the Hole”) and Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Simple Man”). The choices offer an astounding display of the members’ influences and record collections as much as they do their interpretive abilities.

Breaking up the evening of Mule jumping into the deep end of classic rock classics, Little Milton joins the band for six tracks to start the second set, which starts disc two, and schools the crowd in what the blues are all about – as much a celebration as a method of coping with the down times.

And, while all good things, such as this night come to an end, Mulennium reminds us that it also signifies the end of the original Gov’t Mule trio. As good as the band remains today, listening to these performances you can’t help but realize how perfectly the words ‘powerhouse trio’ fit here. And while a moment of melancholy can hang over these 25 tracks, it’s necessary to acknowledge and give thanks to being given the opportunity to immerse in this incendiary flash of time.

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