The Allman Brothers Band’s fat catalog of music still plays extremely well live. It’s a sweet, powerful and influential Southern sound that drew many duplicators but no equals. The 2½-hour set was full of classics — “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” “Statesboro Blues,” “You Don’t Love Me,” “Melissa” — augmented by the bonus of songs from the band’s first studio effort in nine years, “Hittin’ the Note.”
Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes prolong the trademark dual guitar legacy popularized by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. Although each is a titan of transcendent lead and slide guitar when in the spotlight for rousing solo after solo, they fail to create intros or supportive lines as memorable as their predecessors’.
Guest pianist Neil Larson joined for “Dreams” and “Melissa,” while Gov’t Mule drummer Matt Abts and Black Crowes’ Mark Ford and Chris Robinson participated on the only blemish, an uninspiring “Rock Me Baby.” Haynes was a perfect fit vocally on Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” and closer “Layla.”
Opening was Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, which exhibited solid musicianship and delivered a dead-on remake of Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression.” Armed with rich rock, jazz and R&B-influenced originals, Tiny Universe is well on its way to expanding on the Allmans’ energy.