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Reviewed by - Matt Rowe

Allman Brothers Band
Live at The Beacon Theatre
Released: September 23, 2003
Origination Year: 2003
Time: N/A
Tracks: 23 - 2 DVD
Produced by: Michael Drumm
Style: Live
Format: DVD
Enhancement: Bonus Track and Features

If you like your concerts detailed, precise and close knit then we have the DVD for you.  Imagine attending a concert where, for a period of almost three hours, you get treated to straight ahead rock and roll with all the jazz and blues fusion you can handle, all in a peaceful and tranquil setting.  If that’s someplace you’d like to be then buy the ticket (in this case, DVD) that will allow you to attend, within the comfort of your home, the popular annual show at The Beacon Theatre in NYC featuring The Allman Brothers Band. 

The Beacon Theatre is a home of sorts for the band as it makes an annual stopover in this venue for a few nights.  The theatre became a favorite of the band after very warm receptions and sold out shows.  Known now as ‘the Beacon run’ this set of shows is the place to be to catch these guys at their best.

The spirit of The Allman Brothers Band lies within the framework of this incarnation that now only has three original members, Gregg Allman on vocals and keyboards and the combined drumming of Jaimoe and Butch Trucks.  Dickie Betts have long left the band replaced by Warren Hayes, a long-time associate and Gov’t Mule mainstay.  The slide guitars are performed by Warren Hayes and latest addition, Derek Trucks.  However, with jam power intact, the Allman Brothers Band puts on a rousing 2-hour plus show that will please you.

Live at the Beacon Theatre is spread across two discs with 22 songs and a bonus track bringing the total to 23.  The first disc contains most of the songs while the second disc provides the bonus track and the encore selection.  Filmed and recorded on March 25 and 26 of 2003, this concert is a nice visit with one of Rock’s storied bands.

But the money gets made on the quality of set because we already know the songs themselves are great.  We’ve lived with many of them, played many of them on our stereos as we grew older.  Hell, we’ve attended concerts where these songs were played from a more original and spunkier lineup.  This is meant as no disrespect to this current lineup, just respect for the original band.

To be fair, slightly less than half of the material presented here originates with the current lineup from their excellent recent release of 2003’s Hittin the Note, an album of new originals.  With this album, it was clear that the Allman Bros Band is as powerful a force as they have always been.  And this lineup is an accomplished and comfortable one.  Gregg Allman’s whiskey smooth voice still embodies the blues in everyway.  With the slide guitars being the stock in trade, the playing is deftly handled between Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks whose styles merge beautifully and naturally like the left and right channels of a stereo system.

Many favorites are also let loose here.  With “Statesboro Blues”, “Midnight Rider”, and “Whippin’ Post”, the band is in their stream and clearly having fun.  There is also a cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” that shines with the ABB touch.  With the time enchanted rhythm section consisting of Butch Trucks and Jaimoe on drums and percussionist Marc Quinones with Oteil Burbridge on bass, this title becomes an immediate ‘must have’ for fans.

This DVD is rounded out with bonus features that contain interviews that reveal how the older members of the band feel about this incarnation of The Allman Brothers Band,  a photo gallery, and ‘behind the scenes’ footage.  There is an incredible dressing room rehearsal of “Old Friend” with Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks that has to be heard to be fully appreciated.  It’s acoustically performed by the duo using glass bottle for slide.  Warren Haynes provides the vocals for this impromptu rehearsal making this 2 person run through a true bonus track.

There is a nice lengthy biography along with an album discography making this set even more valuable for ABB fans.  A supplied introduction to the band’s last studio album in many years, Hittin the Note offers a complete breakdown of the Sanctuary/Peach release.  

The sound on this set is presented via several mixes, a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround and a 5.1 DTS Surround as well as the obligatory Dolby Stereo.  The video here is crystal clear making this an overall touch of heaven where the band is concerned.

Consider this a necessary addition to your musical library.

Track Listing:

Disc One:

Ain't Wastin' Time No More / Black Hearted Woman / Statesboro Blues / Woman Across The River / A Change Is Gonna Come / Maydell / Come & Go Blues / Rockin' Horse / Desdemona / Don't Keep Me Wondering / Midnight Rider / Soulshine / High Cost of Low Living / Leave My Blues at Home / Old Before My Time / The Same Thing / Melissa / Instumental Illness / Worried Down With The Blues / Dreams / Whippin' Post.

Disc Two:

One Way Out (Encore) / Old Friend (Dressing Room Rehearsal)

Bonus Features:

Interviews / Photo Gallery / Behind The Scenes Footage

Audio Options:

5.1 DD Surround / DD Stereo / 5.1 DTS Surround

The Allman Brothers Band:

Gregg Allman - Vocals / Hammond B3 Organ / Piano

Warren Haynes - Guitar (Lead & Slide) / Lead & Background Vocals

Oteil Burbridge - Bass

Derek Trucks - Guitars (Lead & Slide)

Jaimoe - Drums

Butch Trucks - Drums

Marc Quinones - Congas / Percussion / Background Vocals

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