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Concert Reviews:
Allman Brothers Storm DTE
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- The Allman Brothers Band has survived members' deaths, drug addictions, internal dissension and creative malaise. Compared to that, a little rain -- or a lot -- is nothing.

So Friday's (August 24th) torrential storms in the Detroit metro area merely delayed rather than dampened the long-lived Southern rock band's performance at the DTE Energy Music Theatre. And by the time the septet took the stage, it produced a kind of musical thunder and lightning to rival the early evening's meteorological mayhem.

Prior to the show, singer-keyboardist Gregg Allman noted that the group's fans "are guitar crazy, and so be it. We give 'em guitars." Not surprisingly, the two-hour and 20-minute show was dominated by Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, each six-string wizards with the dynamic diversity of several guitarists. Playing in tandem, in harmony and solo -- and always with camaraderie rather than in competition -- they went to town with long workouts on "Firing Line," an ebb-and-flow treatment of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," an extended jam on "No One to Run With" (which was synched up with vintage Allmans videos on a screen behind the band) and an epic rendering of the instrumental "Jessica."

But Haynes, interestingly, hung back during the encores of Bobby Blue Bland's "Turn on Your Love Light" and Elmore James' "One Way Out," allowing guest Robert Randolph, the pedal steel virtuoso who opened the show, plenty of space to trade solos with Trucks.

Even though the jams took the spotlight, the Allmans do have a body of songs that stand capably alongside them, and on Friday the group dipped into them for a show-opening "Midnight Rider" and solid versions of "Wasted Words," "Desdemona" and "Melissa." Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" was also a highlight thanks to Allman's most soulful vocal of the night.

It's been awhile -- 2003, in fact -- since the Allmans have added new music to its catalog. But with Haynes and Trucks in strong, ball-passing form, it was clear on Friday that there's still plenty of freshness to be found in the old favorites.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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