The Allman Brothers take back the Beacon: Let's Talk about Rock

Posted by Eli Cohen

The Allman Brothers, the celebrated Georgian jam band, have played at the legendary, beautiful Beacon Theater in New York City every year for more than 20 years.

That is to say, they had played there every year until 2010, when the Upper West Side theater decided to rent the space out to Cirque Du Soleil's show "Banana Shpeel."

After several delayed openings, the circus act finally opened, only to close quickly after receiving overwhelmingly poor reviews.

MSG Entertainment, the company that owns Madison Square Garden, was not only willing, but eager to apologize for this clear mistake.

"Earlier this year we undertook a programming experiment with our friends from Cirque du Soleil," MSG president Jay Marciano said at a press conference. "We all know how that little experiment turned out," he continued.

On March 10, the Allman Brothers returned for a 13-show run that will last until Saturday, March 26.

I caught the Friday, March 18 show, which the Bros. opened their first set with the words, "It's good to be home," appearing on the giant monitor behind the stage.

The first thing I noticed about this show (alright, the second thing I noticed after the 80-year-old hippy stealthily smoking a bowl in the next row) was, simply put, that the Allman Brothers still rock.

They replaced their fallen great, Duane Allman with Warren Haynes from Gov't Mule and the Dead and Derek Trucks, the heart and soul of the aptly named Derek Trucks Band.

Trading solos back and forth all night, the two seemed in perfect sync with one another, and more so with the original and still present member Gregg Allman.

The real surprise, and one of the best aspects of an already great performance, was the appearance of Susan Tedeschi, Trucks' wife.

A Grammy-winning, well-respected presence herself, Tedeschi quickly stole the show with her powerful singing and facemelting solos, some of which put Haynes to shame (though she still was not quite able to top her husband).

Also making an appearance was John Scofield, a jazz guitarist by trade who is also known for his many performances with jazz trio Medeski, Martin, and Wood.

The setlist consisted mostly of originals, with classics such as "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Come in My Kitchen," but there were also several covers, mostly of Bob Dylan songs.

They played Dylan's classic "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, it Takes a Train to Cry," as well as his all-but-unknown "Blind Willie McTell," a story of the legendary bluesman who wrote such staples as "Statesboro Blues" and "Delia," songs most known for being played by Bob Dylan and David Bromberg.

The only real disappointment offered by the show was the self-righteous security guard who kept kicking people out for smoking weed.

The Allman Brothers proved that they are still worth the $75 they are asking for tickets with an amazing show, and a light display on the monitor behind them that looked like a mushroom-themed iTunes visualizer on acid and from Hell.

Literally, most of the pictures were of mushrooms. And that's how it's done, ‘70s style.

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