The Allman Brothers Band: New York, NY, March 24th, 2012
Guitarist Trucks slipped quietly on stage at this point to conjure up the melodic counterpart of the rhythm, then briefly stuck the theme of another Betts instrumental, "Les Brers in A Minor;" here the ingenuity and intensity that thrilled the audience repeatedly throughout the evening once again manifested itself, not to mention the self-effacing stage presence that has always been a hallmark of Derek Trucks. He made no effort to steal the spotlight, but sought only to move the music along.
With Gregg Allman absent from the stage this entire interval (due to back problems, as it was later announced, that caused him to miss the next night's show entirely), keyboardist Rob Barraco (Dark Star Orchestra, Phil Lesh and Friends) filled in more than admirably to decorate the melody with fluent imagination. Though missing the customary organ solo on this ABB standard, the piece came to a savage conclusion, leaving the packed house in a frenzy as the attendees whooped for more.
"Southbound" is one of a small handful of standard Allman Brother encore choices, but the night of March 24th, it got a twist when Jimmy Hall returned with the group, along with the ever-cheerful Barraco, to not only accent the otherwise nondescript riff with his harp, but bring an uncommon level of feeling to the banal lyrics. If this wasn't the close to a truly great ABB show, it was definitely one of the half-dozen moments that made it memorable.
The Allman Brothers Band never plays better these days than in a venue such as the Beacon Theatre, and it's arguable they never play better, all things being equal, than on this particular stage that they've occupied for over 200 shows since 1989.