Fans pack Grand Opera House for Allman show

pramati@macon.comJanuary 14, 2014 

When Gregg Allman performed last month at the Grand Opera House, tickets sold out in about 30 minutes.

It made the decision for a second show in Macon something of a no-brainer. But this time around, Allman’s fans were a tad slower in getting the tickets: It took about 35 minutes for a sellout, officials said.

An enthusiastic 1,030 fans of the singer, who co-founded The Allman Brothers Band more than 40 years ago in Macon and helped create the new genre of Southern Rock, packed into the Grand Opera House on Tuesday night to listen to such classics as “Statesboro Blues” and “I’m No Angel.”

Allman’s son Devon, himself a longtime musician, served as the opening act for his father.

Some fans traveled a long distance to see Allman. David Walker, a native of Calgary, Alberta, in Canada, was in Atlanta for business and managed to get a ticket.

“I love (The Allman Brothers). I grew up with Gregg,” said Walker, who lists “I’m No Angel” as his favorite Allman song. “I called my wife when I got the ticket. She’s a teacher and she said, ‘You sound like my kids. You’re 50!’ ’’

Renee Jamison grew up in Germany and became a fan of the band after moving to Macon.

“I love his music. I paid $200 for a ticket,” she said. “When I came here, I fell in love with Macon. The music history here is really amazing.”

Tuesday’s show was made a little extra special by the fact that a film crew shot the entire concert, which will be released as a live album CD and concert film DVD, likely in 2015, according to Allman’s management.

In addition to filming the concert, the crew also shot segments in Macon that played a key role in The Allman Brothers Band’s early years, such as Rose Hill Cemetery and H&H Restaurant, officials said. The cemetery is where members of the band hung out and wrote songs, as well as the final resting place for the late band members Berry Oakley and Duane Allman, Gregg’s brother.

The restaurant is where members of the band often ate for free, courtesy of Mama Louise Hudson, before they achieved stardom and were struggling musicians.

The film crew also spent some time at The Big House Museum, located in the house that served as the band’s de facto headquarters in the early 1970s.

In addition to the concert film, Allman also is the subject of an upcoming biopic, “Midnight Rider,” based on his autobiography, “My Cross to Bear.” Principal photography for the movie, starring Academy Award winner William Hurt, is set to commence next month in Savannah.

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