THe Palace: THe Final Weekend 3 Shows!
Don’t Keep me Wondering
Aint Wastin’ Time No More
Bag End >
Come on Im My Kitchen
Aint No Love in the Heart of the City
Into the Mystic
You Don’t Love Me (Scott Sharrard)
Mountain Jam >
Desdemona (Jay Collins)
Black Hearted Woman > bass > drums > Black Hearted Woman >
E: Whipping Post (Collins)
The second Thursday show was the beginning of the last-weekend home stretch. This was the weekend when most of the out-of-towners turned out—it would have been the middle weekend if they’d played the full 13 dates-- and I always feel like the band knows that and puts a little extra mustard on these shows (last year, the two Clapton shows fell during the middle, out-of-towner weekend.) I thought the first set was frankly a little lackluster, but the second set was sufficiently kickass to more than make up for it, sending us all away fully satiated…
“Statesboro Blues” features some nice stretchy Warren guitar work, then a jaunty little jam that ends right at the beginning of “Don’t Keep Me Wondering.” “Aint Wastin’ Time No More” is, as usual, a highlight; some people have complained that this song has slowed down from the version on Eat a Peach, but it simply isn’t the same song anymore; now it’s a Derek Trucks vehicle plain and simple. Derek owns the song, takes us on a journey out of the familiarity of song form and deposits us squarely into the show. The final verse, then Warren steps up, shreds, then Derek goes to the same place as Warren, but he goes there his way.
Warren sings Delaney & Bonnie’s “Comin’ Home,” obviously a nod in Duane’s general direction, and more blooz than blues, almost going metal. Then “Bag End,” formerly “Orfeo,” Derek’s new instrumental. Warren plays licks, the lines that spell out the melody of the song’s theme, but at the same time Derek is making ringing, chiming waves underneath that really define the piece. The song meanders a bit, but touches down beautifully, easing straight into “Come On in My Kitchen” like getting into a hot mud bath.”Aint No Love in the Heart of the City” doesn’t quite heat up, then “Into the Mystic” is pretty, as always. Guitarist Scott Sharrard joins for a set-closing “You Don’t Love Me.”
The second set opens with a nice and crowd-pleasing version of “Melissa,” then the band takes off into “Mountain Jam,” sweet and dreamy, making the hair on the back of your neck stand up, before segueing into “Desdemona,” with Jay Collins joining on sax. Derek and Warren play rolling, ringing waves, switching seamlessly between lead and rhythm until it’s just one big firehouse of sound, pulling you out of your seat. My friend and world-weary concertgoer Henry turns to me and says, “That’s kinda what two guitars are supposed to be doing.” He has a way with understatement.
A quick and aggressive run through “Black Hearted Woman” gives way to Oteil’s bass solo, then a driving, pounding drum section… the rest of the band returns, Warren does that chant… then hard at the close, a totally kickass waltz, then the switch-flip into the “Other One” jam, big, hurtling end over end like a runaway train, somehow landing in the middle of Mountain Jammy space… Derek flirts with a familiar riff (is it Third Stone?), then Warren joins him, then Derek swells, draws the music down, until finally Butch rumbles back into “Mountain Jam.” All told, after “Melissa” it’s really only four songs—“Mountain Jam,” “Desdemona,” and “Black hearted Woman”—but it’s been about an hour of sheer purposeful assault.
Then, as if that weren’t enough, and as if there were any doubt, the band comes back and tumbles into “Whipping Post.” Through the themes up front, then suddenly the music opens up like a rose. Derek pollinates yo’ ass. Jay Collins is back for a run, Derek hits a chord that throws a switch, and Warren steps forward, majestic and searing… it is like a reward, like nourishment… then bam! Tied to the whipping post.
Yes, it took a while to get percolating. But that last 80 or so minutes auger well for the rest of the weekend.
Hot “Lanta >
Walk on Gilded Splinters
Trouble No More
Rocking Horse >
Soulshine (Danny Louis)
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Louis)
Kind of Bird (Louis; no Gregg)
Meet Me in the Bottom (Doyle Bramhall, Justin Stanley on drums)
Stormy Monday (Junior Mack)
Jessica (Kris Jensen, sax)
E: One Way Out (Bramhall)
By Friday night the band was in peak fighting form, taking no prisoners. The show was double stuffed, epic, the meat spilling out over the bun…
A crisp, chunky “Hot ‘Lanta” opens the proceedings, nice instrumental work from Gregg, and with some skanky Warren guitar, segueing into “Splinters,” which features the Macon rhythm devils and a sour Warren sting. After “Trouble No More,” Oteil lays down some funky bass syncopation that becomes “Rocking Horse.” Warren offers a long, hot and dirty run, then Derek takes us on a flash-sideways into some extended Derek space, then he guides the band through his little major key ditty that now pops up in the middle of the Horse, then back into the verse and close, and straight into an aggressive, extended read on “Wasted Words.”
Danny Louis from the Mule joins the band on keys and plays some pretty piano rolls that put me in a New York state of mind. Then he gets closer and closer to the melody of the song coming up, until finally Gregg slams into the B3 and it’s “Soulshine,” James van der Bogert is on Jaimoe’s kit, and it is a particularly churchy, gospel take on the song. Then Louis stays on for a muddy, swampy take on “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” a dark musky highlight. Louis stays on, but Gregg does not, as Oteil is off on a sprightly romp that turns into “Kind of Bird.” Louis plays some lovely organ, with propulsion from twin rhythm guitars… the music gets all yellow and gold, Warren drives it home, then the outro riff.
The set could have ended here and no one would have complained, but of course they can’t walk off without Gregg, so he comes back on for a “Midnight Rider” that serves to ease us into intermission…
Derek’s Clapton buddy Doyle Bramhall is on for the blues “Meet Me at the Bottom,” with Justin Stanley on drums. There’s a lot of unrushed 3-guitar churning, Bramhall—who, I think, is better on rhythm than lead—gestures to Derek, who tweezes out bubbly lines of curvy notes. Bramhall and Derek are clearly enjoying each other’s company.
Then “Dreams,” and is anyone ever sorry when that happens? Warren takes lead, Derek un chiming rhythm, the band rains down bells of sound… great, a highlight. Then the song kind of fades to a close, and then the band steps into “Anyday,” the perfect payoff. Warren finds that pain/pleasure point and keeps poking at it, like you do with your tongue when you have a toothache… Warren takes the music to a “Blue Sky” place, teases at it, briefly takes the band into that song’s instrumental bridge, then Derek uses chords to return to the “Anyday” close. All told, quite something.
Junior Mack joins on guitar for “Stormy Monday,” plays lots of notes in his solo. Gregg dances across the organ… Warren squeezes phrases out a tube. Then off and running into “Jessica,” which is pure dancelicious goodness. Kris Jensen (didn’t he so a stint in Great Southern recently?) lays down some sax, then the band turns on the happy hose, turning the song up to 10. The music softens, then two big guitars fill the room… the music parts for Oteil, who keeps the happy coming with a bass solo rendition of “Little Martha,” scatting and playing. Then the drummers dance their dance, then back into a hard close to an epic “Jessica.” Whew.
Bramhall is back on for a sweaty “One Way Out.” That’s what I call Friday night.
Don’t Want You No More >
Not My Cross to Bear
Woman Across the River
All My Friends
Blind Willie McTell
Little Martha > Blue Sky > Little Martha
No One Left to Run With
The Same Thing (slow; Kofi)
Dreams (Bill Evans, sax)
Elizabeth Reed > drums > bass > Liz
E: Preachin’ Blues
You Don’t Love Me
The classic “Don’t Want You No More” and “Not My Cross to Bear” opener, then “Statesboro Blues,” and it’s a crowd-pleasing Saturday Night opening. Warren tarts it up on the back end of “Statesboro.” Then a sprightly “Standback;” Derek and Oteil ride a shared smile. Derek lights a grease fire that burns surprisingly hot.
There is a hint of crosstalk on stage, then “Woman Across the River.” Derek tears it up, smoldering, egged on by Warren; vocals, then Derek throws down an exclamation point of a chord. Warren tears it up, then a Derek/Warren rumble. Oteil rides the wave, bent over at the waist half way back. Incendiary.
Pretty melodic Warren solo lines lead into the verse on Gregg’s “All My Friends,” Derek plays some sweet slide out the back end. Then a big tumult of an overture leads into “Bag’s End.” Warren goes all hot, Oteil does the jazzy funk dance, then Derek goes all cool, then frenetic… then the chiming of the song… Warren poses a big bluish question… “Bag End” resolves into “Blind Willie McTell,” a perfect payoff, not unlike “Rocking Horse” resolving into “Gambler’s Roll.” “See them big plantations burning; Hear the cracking of the whips; Smell that sweet magnolia blooming; See the ghosts of slavery ships.” This is, I think, the third time they’ve played this song, but it has become their own.
Then, “Whipping Post.” Gregg misses the vocal cue but the band works it out. Big blue waves of liquid tone wash out… the band marches on. Derek takes the controls, the band barely keeps the wheels in the song. Warren plays to the heavens. Great way to end the set, and the past three songs, together, are a highlight of the run.
A three-man “Little Martha” opens the second set, then Butch adds some light accents underneath, and the song flips over into the instrumental bridge to “Blue Sky,” full band save for Gregg. Derek goes right to the sunny heart of the song. Another Derek round, more subdued, then finds the note, leans on it a good while, then the two guitars mesh into the twin licks that return to the “Blue Sky” vocals, only instead they give way to the back end of “Martha.”
“No One Left to Run With” follows, with a nice rendering of the minor key movement now in the middle of the song. Then a big slow vamp with shuffle chords, Kofi Burbridge adds color to the dark lines of what becomes a slow version of “The Same Thing.” It’s good. At the end, as Kofi walks off stage, a big sweet Burbridge brothers bear hug.
Bill Evans (not that Bill Evans) joins on sax for a transformative “Dreams.” Warren begins, then Evans goes all smoky, then Derek puts out wavy beams, then trades lines with Evans. Derek plays vivid slide over a great spooky Warren rhythm, then “Elizabeth Reed” emerges. Lots of Warren Haynes in your face. A frenetic race to the drum interlude, Oteil comes out of the drums with some dark, misty music, then the Liz melody over drums, then scatsong, including “Smoke on the Water.” The song comes back, Warren and Evans trade off, then another mad dash to close.
Derek and Warren come on for a “Preachin’ Blues” encore, then “You Don’t Love Me” closes out set, show and run.
A lot of big fun in three nights. It’s not the beacon, but it’s a nice venue, and besides, in the dark, well, it might as well be the Beacon; it’s the same band, the same crowd, event he same ushers. And it sure smells the same…
Added: Sunday, April 04, 2010
Reviewer: josh chasin