Review: Allman brings A-game to Macon show

pramati@macon.comJanuary 15, 2014 

It’s still a wonder how Gregg Allman, at age 66 and after years of hard living, can bring so much energy to a performance.

Allman was in top form Tuesday night as a sold-out crowd at the Grand Opera House sang and danced along to many of his solo classics as well as hits from The Allman Brothers Band.

Allman got the crowd going right out the gate with a powerful rendition of “Statesboro Blues,” then kept it up with “I’m No Angel.”

Allman touched several forms of music all night, as the crowd was treated to a taste of gospel, folk and jazz mixed in with his usual R&B and soul.

Allman delivered a rather introspective version of Jackson Browne’s “These Days,” before kicking up the pace again with “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More.”

A cover of Ray Charles’ “Brightest Smile” was a pleasant surprise during the middle of the show, while his performance of “Sweet Melissa” seemed particularly soulful.

Allman and his eight-piece backup band switched backed to pure blues with “Stormy Monday,” before heading into one of the biggest crowd-pleasers of the night in “Midnight Rider,” with much of the audience singing along with every lyric.

Probably the biggest surprise of the night was an up-tempor rendition of “Whipping Post,” which was heavy on the horns.

Things slowed down once more with “Floating Bridge,” which featured whispers of gospel and folk to go along with its R&B beat.

Allman closed out the show and brought the crowd to its feet one final time with a version of “One Way Out” that let the band’s rhythm section shine thanks to a long drum solo and good bass work.

Allman had the perfect warm-up act with his son, Devon, delivering a 30-minute show and joining his father a couple of times on stage. Devon Allman evoked Eric Clapton much of the time as much as he did his father with a blues-heavy set.

Fans who missed the show Tuesday will have a chance to see it on DVD, since it was filmed live for a release in 2015.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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