Dickey Betts as one of the founders of one of the most classic Rock bands of all time, The Allman Brothers Band, is a well-known fact. Although there may never be another Duane Allman, it is necessary to note that Betts' guitar provided much of the sound that the band was known for.
I caught this Great Southern in St Louis while visiting for a weekend in the early part of 2005. I was amazed at Betts' and his Great Southern backup band's ability to provide much of the classicism expected from The Allman Bros Band. With the twin leads utilized by both Betts and Great Southern musician, Danny Toler, you can hear ghosts of the twin leads as played in the earlier days of The Allmans. Although the heat isn't as melting, the reminiscence is. With forays into The Allman Brothers Band catalogue of greatness, the listener is treated to "Statesboro Blues," which opens the disc, "Blue Sky," "Ramblin' Man," and "Jessica."
The performances on this disc will be all things to all people. There are clearly levels of fire on this stage presentation. On "Statesboro Blues," the band appears to be ramping up. By the time they get to "Ramblin' Man," they have ignited a flame caused largely by the guitar work of Betts. As they progress into "Back Where It All Begins" Betts and Great Southern have merged together into a groove that plays out through the rest of the DVD. Betts slips on the slide for a turn on "Come On In My Kitchen" and schools us in his fine art of slide guitar. By the time the band slips into the final cut, "Jessica," they have located their lifeblood. "Jessica" is played with aplomb if not the incendiary blast of electric fire that usually signatures this tune and as an extended version does well. Toler and Betts find their connection and play twin lead well on this cut.
We know that this isn't The Allman Brothers Band. What sounds good here should sound explosively alive if played by the original band as a whole but Dickey Betts and Great Southern provide a good effort in recapturing the glories of the tunes on this 12-song set.
The DVD is presented in 16:9 anamorphic video with sound selections that include Dolby 2.0, DTS 5.1, and Dolby Digital 5.1. There's plenty of light in the concert and so the video capture is excellent and is augmented by crisp, clear sound.
As a bonus, there is an included CD of soundcheck and live tunes. The 5-song offering provides "Southbound," "Blue sky," "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" as the soundcheck tunes and "Donna Marie" and "Jessica" as live cuts.
The DVD also offers Special Features that include Rehearsal footage, a radio interview with Betts and WCPN - Cleveland, as well as a series of thoughts by Betts on subjects that include The Allman Brothers, Learning to Play Guitar, My First Gig, Working With Duane and Barry, and important songs of The Allman Brothers Band repertoire.