The first time that I ever saw the Allman Brothers Band in concert was also the first time that I ever entered the Beacon Theater in New York City. I was anxious to see the famed room and hear what a concert sounded like in the theater. I was also anxious to hear the Allman Brothers Band perform “Midnight Rider” and “Blue Sky.” Those were the only two songs that I wanted to hear and anything else that they played would be fine with me. I knew that there was no guarantee those two songs would be performed, but I was hopeful.
I’ll admit, when I first went to see The Allman Brothers, I was pretty much going just to say I saw the Allman Brothers Band. I wasn’t well versed in their catalog and only knew their staples. I owned two Allman Brothers Band records and one was their greatest hits collection. But it was The Allman Brothers and I wanted to see them. This was also during the height of the March Madness tours that they played every year. The Allman Brothers would take over the beacon theater for several days throughout the month of March.
The Beacon Theater is absolutely breathtaking! A magnificent work of art that is also a fabulous place to witness a concert. The theater opened in 1929 as a movie palace and vaudeville. The architecture in the theater is amazing---really a sight to behold. Our seats for the night were in the lower balcony, but it didn’t matter where we sat. There isn’t a bad seat in the cozy theater. The Beacon Theater holds just under 3,000 people at max capacity. With such little seating, every seat is a magnificent one.
After finding my seat, looking around, and taking in all the scenery, I settled in to wait for the Allman Brothers. I talked with my uncle about the songs I really wanted to hear and expressed my desire for “Blue Sky” and “Midnight Rider.” My uncle was hoping to hear “Jessica.” A short time later the house lights went out and the Allman Brothers Band approached the stage with a loud roar of approval. The band ripped into “Statesboro Blues” and the night had begun. “Statesboro Blues” sounded incredible and I thought it was a great opener to the evening. It was a grand way to start the show.
After “Statesboro Blues” I realized that I may have been in over my head. I didn’t know another song until “One Way Out” which came seven songs later. And after that it would be another 6 songs until one I recognized was played. And that was “Dreams” which was the second to last song of the night (not counting the encore). I’m not saying that the song selection was terrible, it was just that they were songs I was unfamiliar with. I knew this was a risk when I agreed to see the show, but the reality of it hit hard. I couldn’t sing along with songs I didn’t know, so I would have to find a different way to appreciate these songs. One of those ways was watching Warren Haynes.
Warren Haynes is an absolute genius with a guitar in his hands. Just watching him perform all night long was worth the price of admission. His guitar playing is up there with the greatest of the greats. He makes the guitar sing and produces notes that are just mind blowing. It’s hard to believe that so much power can come out of one man with a guitar in his hand. When Haynes would break into solos I would just close my eyes and let the music wash all over me. It was mesmerizing. It also made me wish even harder to hear “Blue Sky” as I wanted to know what Warren Haynes could do to that solo in the live setting.
A lot of great songs were played but not a lot of the huge hits were played. Granted, they played Revivial and Dreams and Mountain Jam, which was incredible, but most of the songs I just didn’t know. Sadly, I would not get “Blue Sky” or “Midnight Rider” that evening. I told myself that if I was going to see this band in concert again, I would have to immerse myself deeper into their catalog.
The encore was a bit of a disappointment in that only one song was played. And while it was a great one, “Southbound,” I was hoping for more. Unfortunately, there was no more to come. At the end of my inaugural Allman Brothers experience I decided that I would return to see them again. I certainly was not disappointed with my first Allman Brothers experience, it’s just that I hadn’t prepared myself with their music enough to fully really enjoy the concert in a way that I am accustomed to. That happens sometimes. I loved the music and I loved listening to the music, but I just didn’t know most of it. That knowledge would come later.
Come And Go Blues
Down Along The Cove
Sailin’ Cross the Devil’s Sea
Blind Willie McTell
One Way Out
Dark End of the Street
Done Somebody Wrong
All Along The Watchtower>>>