Gov't Mule Delivers Incredible 'Dark Side Of The Mule' Performance August 22, 2023 18:01

Words by Monica Dean

Photos by Craig Baird Photography

It’s way past curfew at Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park, but jam band legends Gov’t Mule are still playing to a sold-out crowd. The evening in Atlanta started late thanks to a southern summer downpour, but eventually, it let up and fans who waited it out got to experience the musical and visual journey known as "Dark Side of the Mule."

Gov’t Mule, fronted by former Allman Brothers guitarist and vocalist Warren Haynes, surprised fans at their 2008 Halloween show with a set of Pink Floyd covers, later released as a live album, Dark Side of the Mule. This year, for the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s musical masterpiece, The Dark Side of the Moon, Haynes brings the Pink Floyd experience back on tour one last time.

The first set was devoted to Gov’t Mule originals and featured Haynes, drummer Matt Abts, keyboardist Danny Louis and new bassist Kevin Scott. Scott moved to Atlanta after listening to a Col. Bruce Hampton record he got at a flea market and eventually started playing with Col. Bruce, Jimmy Herring, John McLaughlin and others before joining Gov’t Mule in June. Scott is the perfect fit for Mule, and he proved it all night.

Mule played five songs from their first album and three songs from their twelfth studio album, Peace...Like A River, released in June. The band opened with a raucous "Mule," which featured a tease of Ronnie Hawkins' "Who Do You Love," and a prime opportunity for the band to feature Scott's incredible work on the bass. After playing “Peace I Need”, Hayes thanked the crowd and said, “That was a new song, this is another new song and then we’re going to play another new song” which raised loud cheers from fans. The second new song, “Dreaming Out Loud” again showcased Scott’s funky bass style and “Same as it Ever Was,” alternated velvety vocals and guitar from Haynes and keyboardist Louis, with a hard southern rock chorus before finishing as softly as it began.  

You could feel the energy change for the second set as Gov’t Mule was joined by saxophonist Ron Holloway, keyboardist/guitarist Jackie Green and vocalists Machan Taylor and Sophia Ramos. The otherworldly sounds of Louis’ synthesizer slowly built into “Shine on you Crazy Diamond” as the Dark Side of the Mule logo was projected on the stage and Haynes stuck the first sustained chords.  Holloway, who participated in the original Dark Side of the Mule in 2008, shined in the spotlight for a soulful sax performance which peaked in a display of green and blue laser beams. Pink Floyd pioneered the use of lasers on The Dark Side of the Moon tour, and the lighting team at Pulse Lighting (designer Preston Hoffman, touring crew Trevor Creany, Griff Collins, Justin Baker) perfectly recreated the visual immersive experience integral to a Pink Floyd show. 

Speaking more than singing, Mule drummer Abts took over on “Have a Cigar,'' changing the lyrics to “Oh, by the way/Which one's the mule?”.  Ramos and Taylor's soulful vocals were a highlight of the night, especially as they wailed “The Great Gig in the Sky”. “Us and Them” seemed to float lightly into the “Wind”. Scott switched bass guitars for “One of These Days'' and slapped a funky rhythm that was fun to watch. Haynes and Greene shared vocals on “Echoes” to finish the set. 

Because of the rain delay, Gov’t Mule had already played 30 minutes past Chastain Park’s strict curfew, but Haynes walked back onstage and said “We would like to thank Chastain for giving us extra time so we could do our whole show” and finished the evening with the Pink Floyd essentials, “Comfortably Numb” and “Wish You Were Here.” 

Dark Side of the Mule was a fantastic tribute. They played Pink Floyd in the most respectful way while still making it their own. It was much more than a concert, it was a complete musical and visual experience no fan should miss. The Dark Side of the Mule tour has one last stop in St. Augustine before Gov’t Mule returns to performing their original catalog of music through the end of the year.

Watch Gov't Mule performing Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" in Atlanta:

Link to Zman’s recording of Gov't Mule in Atlanta on 08.12.23

Click Here To Download The Show

Gov't Mule

Chastain Park Amphitheatre

Atlanta, Georgia


Disc I Gov't Mule

01 Mule >

02 Who Do You Like >

03 Mule

04 Temporary Saint >

05 *Trane >

06 Peace I Need

07 Dreaming Out Loud

08 Same As It Ever Was >

Disc II #Dark Side Of The Mule

01 Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts I-V >

02 Have A Cigar >

03 Speak To Me >

04 Breathe >

05 On The Run

06 Time >

07 Breathe Reprise >

08 The Great Gig In The Sky

Disc III #Dark Side Of The Mule

01 Money >

02 Us And Them >

03 Any Colour You Like >

04 Wind >

05 One Of These Days >

06 Wind >

07 Fearless >

08 Chant >

09 Wind >

10 Echoes Part II >

11 Wind

Encore I:

12 Wind >

13 Comfortably Numb

Encore II:

14 Warren Thank You!

15 Wish You Were Here

* With Norwegian Wood Tease At The 4:28 Mark

# With:

Warren Haynes - Guitar And Vocals

Jackie Greene - Keyboards, Guitar, And Vocals

Kevin Scott - Bass

Danny Louis - Keyboards And Vocals

Matt Abts - Drums And Vocals

Ron Holloway - Saxophone

Machan Taylor - Vocals

Sophia Ramos - Vocals