Gregg Allman, Areo Theatre, Santa Monica, CA – 5/15
The 1300 block of Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, CA is dotted with shabby chic boutiques and haute couture clothiers with names like French Lessons So Pretty. Not exactly the place one would expect to find Gregg Allman on a Tuesday night, but that’s just where he and 450 of his SoCal fans gathered to pay tribute to the rock legend and his new autobiography, My Cross to Bear.
Joined by co-author Alan Light, Allman entered to a standing ovation from the capacity crowd predominantly of aging Boomers that filled the historic Aero Theatre. In the 45-minute Q&A that followed Allman began the program detailing his life-changing sobriety, affirming himself ‘reborn,’ and then politely requested Light switch topics and ask about ‘happy things.’ Anecdotes ranging from his early stint in Hollywood to brother Duane’s discovery of slide guitar were met with applause.
Allman, visibly thin, also spoke of the four operations he has undergone in the last three years, including a recent procedure just months ago. He spoke softly and chose his words carefully, at one point critiquing today’s pop stars that sound to him as though they are, ‘paid by the note.’ In his musical career and as guest speaker this evening, Allman would not be guilty of the same mistake. Equally candid as he was in his book, the 64-year-old laughed along with the audience at many of his own recollections, appreciating the entertainment value of his tales.
Following the interview session, part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series, Allman left briefly before returning to the stage to sign copies of the book. Sporting glasses, with longtime confidante Chank Middleton by his side, the rock and roll Hall of Famer inked his signature while admirers posed for pictures, offered well-wishes, and asked that burning question they always wanted to ask him, should they ever have the chance. Generous with each, Allman indulged every encounter until his evening, sometime after 10 pm, was complete.