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Live Reviews

Allman Brothers at Red Rocks, Denver

By Published: September 27, 2008

"Why Does Love Got to be So Sad" was a particular highlight. Derek Trucks toured with Eric Clapton last year and, because the tune is from the Derek and the Dominos book, Trucks probably picked it up there. When Clapton came through Denver last year, he dropped that tune from his set list. The Brothers' version, with Haynes on vocals, was a good consolation prize.

Overall, the band displayed the intensity that makes an Allman Brothers' show something special. The three-man percussion section along with a very active Burbidge on bass consistently set up a giant wave of nearly tsunamic proportions, and the front-line guitarists jumped aboard and surfed it like they'd been doing it all their lives. "You Don't Love Me" was a little ragged in places with Allman's vocals lagging perhaps a little too much. That's a technique that can be effective, but this time it seemed to throw off the rest of the band, resulting in a couple missed cues. But it was a song they obviously hadn't performed as much as some others. "Whipping Post," on the other hand, is an old standard and the band tightly ripped through it.

Opening act Bob Weir and Ratdog played for two hours and 15 minutes and surveyed a significant amount of Dead/Garcia terrain, including tunes like "Bertha," "Morning Dew," "Loose Lucy" and "Loser." Susan Tedeschi joined them as well for some harmony vocals on Dylan's "Hard Rain." The Deadheads in the audience ate it up, and for the most part it was a pleasant set that went on for about 45 minutes too long with, especially toward the end, a significant amount of languid noodling. The highlight of Ratdog's set was the encore, Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" with, what seemed to be, an extra jolt of Bo Diddley in the rhythm.

Allman came out for the encore and, just before launching "Whipping Post," declared, "We'll come back as long as we can come back; as long as we're able." The bout with hepatitis probably got him thinking about mortality, but I prefer to focus on the optimistic side that he's planning return trips to Red Rocks for as long as the body's able.

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