No need to scrape mold off these recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: The Allman Brothers Band successfully update classic material, weave in strong originals and blues covers , improvise with unbridled ferocity and provide a psychedelic light show that’s simultaneous time warp and modern thrill. Their three-hour celebration was pure, transcendent magic. Since the arrival of slide guitarist Warren Haynes earlier this decade, the Allmans have locked into a convincing retelling of the Southern rock story.
The band’s three Epic studio and two live discs have captured their vitality, proving this is no nostalgic rehash.
And Wednesday night, the band used its material solely as blueprints, building almost every piece into a spectacular cascade of notes.
On “Jessica,” the classic rock instrumental staple, the piano solo was forsaken in favor of a duel between Haynes and lead guitarist Dickey Betts. The two teetered between soft and dramatic before marching their improvisations passionately into “Mountain Jam,” one of many clever dips into the songbook created before the deaths of Duane Allman (1971) and bassist Berry Oakley (1972 ).
They gave all of the classics special twists: “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” had a jazzy bounce; “Stormy Monday” was performed with footage of T-Bone Walker and Sonny Terry beamed behind the group; “Whipping Post” closed the evening on a tight and soulful note. For a band that was a leader during a time of excess, they come off surprisingly concise.
Save for a sped-up reading of Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man,” newer songs were done with aplomb and fit the set better than previous tours when warhorse material always won out.
“No One to Run With” has emerged as a great vehicle for Gregg Allman’s pain-drenched voice and indeed the new numbers nicely embellish the band’s isolationist lyrics.