The Allman Brothers Band: The Road Goes on Through 2004
Originally released on two vinyl LP's, this album in its original seven-track format has withstood repeated attempts to improve it, through the use of updated technology as well as the addition of tracks recorded at the fables venue at or around the same timesee The Fillmore Concerts and/or Fillmore The Deluxe Edition (both two-CD sets on UME). But it's only now, with the production of the album in SACD hybrid disc format, that the actual improvement has taken place. With the bass of Berry Oakley almost as prominent in its resounding grace as the scintillating dual guitars of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, and the double drummers Jaimoe and Butch Trucks not far behind, there's a presence in the sound here that makes it seem it was produced and recorded by ABB's current engineering team.
Oddly, or perhaps not, given this group's grasp of subtlety, it's the quieter moment of the Live at the Fillmore SACD that hit home most potently: during the majestic swell of sound near the finish of "You Don't' Love Me" and the dream-like interlude near the end of "Whippin' Post," just before you hear Gregg's final ghostly wail. And say what you will about the way original producer Tom Dowd constructed what he considered 'hot" takes of various performances of, for instance, "Elizabeth Reed," for the sake of the initial release (the great virtue of Instant Live CDs?: no overdubs!), it becomes all the more astounding to hear what you may know by heart, in this pristine clarity, and then move on to compact discs recorded right at venues where The Brothers are currently playing: Tweeter's three-disc set confirms all that you knew to be true about that magical night. So, how miraculous it seems to hear musicianship that possesses the same invention, intelligence and passion as the album that, immediately esteemed as The Allman Brothers Band's best work upon its release, has become something of a cultural milestone as well as the definitive live rock concert recording.