Nearly five decades after co-founding The Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman showed a packed house at Ruth Eckerd Hall that he can still bring the sweet Southern blues rock with The Gregg Allman Band.
Not bad for a 66-year-old with a four-year-old replacement liver.
Opening with “Statesboro Blues,” Allman’s voice still soared. In a set mercifully short on cheesy pyrotechnics (none) and thankfully long on musicianship (amazing), the seven-piece band toured Allman’s vast songbook that included work from The Allman Brothers, his solo career and covers of classic blues like Muddy Waters’ “Can’t Be Satisfied.”
The band, most of whom were from New York and none of whom were a concept, let alone conceived when The Allman Brothers first played, brought a jazzy funk to some of the classics. “Whipping Post” and “One Way Out,” the last song in the nearly two-hour show, were transformed from Alllman anthems into beeboppy and Latin-tinged jam sessions. The result poured new energy into old favorites that would have been fine as was, but took them in a new direction that paid homage to the originals while making the new versions fully enjoyable.
Allman’s energetic and slightly more clean-cut son Devon and his band opened with tunes like “Don’t Set Me Free” and “Homesick.”
He joined his dad on stage twice, for “Melissa” and “One Way Out,” melding styles and generations in two of the elder Allman’s most popular songs.
Allman, who co-founded the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, received a liver transplant in 2010 after suffering from Hepatitis C. A busy musician, he still plays with the band he formed 45 years ago, as well as his own band, is working on a couple of albums and is working on a biopic, according to Rolling Stone.