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Live Reviews

Gov't Mule at the Beacon Theatre on New Year's Eve

By Published: January 14, 2012
This clutch of soul songs came only after a somewhat rushed offering of Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women," as the ensemble made sure they were timed to bring Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" to a conclusion just in time for it to morph seamlessly into "Auld Lang Syne." After this formal welcome to the New Year, complete with toasts all around and the loosing of balloons from the Beacon ceiling. it was a romp from then on, for both the band and its audience: "Feelin' Alright" tapped into the celebratory 2012 spirit, before "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," and even more raucously, "Delta Lady," completed the tribute, but not the party atmosphere.

A third set began just moments later with guest guitarist Oz Noy
Oz Noy
Oz Noy

taking as much time on "Sco-Mule" as Haynes himself (whose guitar on the Cocker medley found him simultaneously sharp and fluid). As if to reinforce his point, not to mention his devotion to influences, Haynes' singing took precedence on "I Believe to My Soul," before the inevitable (?) "Soulshine" proved why the tune works best on intermittent inclusion: with the hardcore Muleheads singing along, the tune tapped the emotion of the moment, rather than trying clumsily to create it.

Nevertheless, sincerely and somewhat breathlessly introduced by Haynes (at this point the man of the hour(s) and titular master of ceremonies), Bob Dylan's "I Shall be Released" sounded even more stirring, and not just as the capper to two solid nights of instrumental expertise and deep bonding between artist and community (how jovial did Haynes' repeated references to this city sound?) With its timing on early Sunday morning on the first day of a brand new year, the spiritual quotient in the Beacon theatre not only approached, but firmly entered a genuinely spiritual realm. Needless to say, that sensation was even more sublime in the unseasonably warm evening as (hopefully) an omen of even greater things to come in 2012.

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