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Published: 2002/04/18
by Philip Lombardo

Gov’t Mule, The Tabernacle. Atlanta, GA- 4/11</b.

I love Warren Haynes's music- his guitar, singing and songwriting (my girlfriend
thinks I'm in love with him). I enjoy seeing him with the Allmans, Phil and Friends,
and sitting in with others but Gov't Mule is his baby. This is where he really
gets to cut loose and do his own thing, and that is where I like him best
these days.

From the start of the night at the Tabernacle, it seemed to me like Warren had some pent up aggression he wanted to get out on his guitars. The first set kicked off
with the staples Bad Little Doggie, Lay Your Burden Down, and Blind Man in
the Dark. By the third tune, all gears seemed to be clicking and Dave
Schools was thundering the bass along with Matt pounding the drums as Warren
just tore it up with his licks. I've never seen him strum his guitar as fast and
furious as he did on this night during several different occasions. Meanwhile,
Dave Schools looks more and more comfortable with every set he
plays. He bass fills are really coming into their own, and the thunder he is bringing to the tunes like Rockin' Horse and Blind Man is impressive.
The Tabernacle was literally shaking and I could feel the bass throughout my
body the entire night.. There are very few bands out there that like to crank the
volume up like the Mule and this I like (well, until I start losing some of my hearing, anyway).

This show was the start of the tour for keyboardist Danny Louis. He laid low at first
but around the fourth tune, he started adding some flavors. He is much subtler than Chuck
Leavell and Rob Barraco. He seemed a bit tight at first but by the end of the show
was much more animated and you could tell he was feeling it. On this evening the Mule
was mixing it up a bit more than usual and this is always
a good thing in my book. Far Away was the first sleeper of the night to come
out- just as Danny and Warren were easing us out into a peaceful outro
jam, Warren just started ripping an extended solo, one of those points
where he felt a needed to cut loose. Down and Out in NYC was a
highlight of the show for me, and the point where Danny started getting
comfortable. Fallen Down featured Warren leaning on his guitar effects and
Schools pumping the bass lines to his favorite Dead tunes.

The second set kicked off with the highlight of the show, Effigy. The jams leading into and out of this one were intense and another of those moments
where Warren just took over. Having just seem him earlier in the week with
Phil & Friends, led me to conclude that the Phil gigs seem to bring
out more intensity in the Mule ones (Phil gives Warren quite a bit of freedom but
that band never digs in and rocks the way the Mule does). Creep followed, a
Radiohead tune and you could just feel the tension building as the band moved slowly into
the chorus. Then the band brought Jimmy Herring on stage and I'll be damned if he didn't somehow help them bring the intensity and level of playing up another notch. As for Jimmy it is just really hard to look away from anyone
having THAT MUCH FUN. Man does he like to smile when he's feeling it and he was interacting with all four of the band members like he has been playing
with them for years (which in part he has but I guess that's the true beauty of his playing).
Jimmy and Warren and Jimmy and Danny and all three of them really played well off each other. Minah Bird Jam was awesome coming out of drums. It has a reggae feel and the band just stretched out ever so nicely. Beautifully Broken followed, a tune I can never see myself tiring of. Soulshine sounded much more like the Phil and Friends version, with the jamming stretched out and hitting some really nice peaks.
Then the group brought back out the opener Alvin Youngblood Hart for the encore,
and Warren sent us on our way home with my ears ringing and my soul soothed with a nice 32-20 Blues followed by Gonna Send you Back to Georgia.
This may just have been the best show I've seen all year but there are lots more to come.

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