Dickey Betts Returns To The Stage For Family Affair In Macon May 22, 2018 18:48
Words and Photos by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
After retiring from the stage in 2014, many fans were left wondering what the future would hold for legendary guitarist Dickey Betts. Best known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, Betts and fellow guitarist Duane Allman were said to have "rewrote the rules for how two rock guitarists can work together, completely scrapping the traditional rhythm/lead roles to stand toe to toe." Following Allman's tragic death in 1971, Betts became the band's sole guitarist and would go on to write many of the band's biggest hits, such as "Ramblin' Man," "Blue Sky," "Jessica," "Southbound," and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed." After being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and GRAMMY award in the mid 90's, Betts and ABB would ultimately part ways in the summer of 2000.
It's no secret that 2017 was an absolutely devastating year for the Allman Brothers' family. Founding drummer Butch Trucks took his own life in late January, while Gregg Allman lost a hard fought battle with liver cancer over Memorial Day weekend. Rumors of a Dickey Betts comeback tour began to surface in December, and these rumors became a reality on December 12th (his 74th birthday). While Dickey's latest band would play a 'live rehearsal show' at an intimate venue in Sarasota on May 15th, the first official gig would come on Thursday, May 17th in the Allman Brothers' home city: Macon, GA.
Friends With Benefits Productions teamed up with Ear For Music for this special occasion at the beautiful Macon City Auditorium. The new and improved Dickey Betts Band lineup includes Damon Fowler and Dickey's son Duane Betts on guitar, Mike Kach on keyboards, bassist Pedro Arevalo and drummers Frankie Lombardi and Steve Camilleri. The bill would also include the Devon Allman Project, which features the late Gregg Allman's son, Devon, as well as Duane Betts.
Devon Allman and company kicked off the show, which was sold out weeks in advance, in powerful fashion. We arrived just in time to hear a lively cover of The Spinners' "I'll Be There," which made room for one of Allman's many blistering guitar solos. Duane Betts would join Allman for the majority of this set, as the two have spent a significant amount of time touring together this year. The set would also include tunes such as "Mahalo," "Ten Million Slaves," "Left My Heart In Memphis," "Taking Time," "Multicolored Lady," and "Midnight Lake Michigan." The younger Allman has a tremendous stage presence and even made his way out into the crowd, as he traded licks with the younger Betts, who had the chance to play Duane Allman’s 1957 goldtop Les Paul, on loan from Macon’s Big House Museum. Allman's capability to captivate the crowd and work a stage was very much indicative of his late father's legacy.
During intermission, I took a few minutes to walk around the venue and do a little people watching. Being in the heart of Allman Brothers country, nearly 3000 of the band's fervent fan base was out in full force. Many were decked out in vintage ABB tie dyes, beaming with excitement from ear to ear. There must have been 60-70 grown men and women standing over the area where Dickey's bus was parked, simply waiting for a chance to cheer on the legendary guitarist as he headed toward the stage. I saw multiple fans shedding tears of joy, as well as couples embracing one another as if it was their wedding night. Concerts have a way of sparking moments that are difficult to describe, and this was certainly the case on this night. The spirit of the Allman Brothers was in the air as Dickey Betts took the stage for the first time in nearly four years.
The set began with the classic instrumental, "Hot 'Lanta," before Mike Koch led the band through the always explosive "Statesboro Blues." Slide guitarist Damon Fowler and Duane Betts wasted no time trading licks, and it wasn't long before Allman returned to lead the band through one of his father's signature songs, "Midnight Rider." A beautiful take on "Blue Sky" would follow, as well as one of Dickey Betts & Great Southern's signature tunes, "My Getaway." Two of the ABB's later releases, "Change My Way of Living" and "Seven Turns" continued pouring energy into the packed house.
With Jaimoe's Jasssz Band set to play the official afterparty, many were expecting an appearance from one of the ABB's founding drummers. Sure enough, Dickey welcomed Jaimoe to the stage for what was easily the highlight of the night. For the first time in 18 years, Betts and Jaimoe would share the stage, and "Whipping Post" seemed like the perfect choice. Saxophonist Kris Jensen would add a nice jazzy flavor to the power tune, and he would also stick around for the set-closing "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" that followed. Dickey then assured the enraptured crowd that they would be right back to finish the show with a few more classics.
Dickey and the band returned to the stage to finish off this special occasion with two of the Allmans' biggest hits. "Ramblin' Man" gave the lively Macon crowd one more classic sing-a-long, while "Jessica" allowed Dickey, Duane, and Damon Fowler the opportunity to showcase their cohesive guitar playing. One would be hard pressed to find a more appropriate encore for the occasion.
There is no question that I was looking forward to this show, but I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect. As soon as I got to the hotel and saw at least 10 people in ABB or Dickey Betts t-shirts, I started to realize how unique and special this experience would be. Macon was the perfect location for a celebration of this magnitude. Not only did we witness the return of a legend, but the show also raised $3000 for The Big House Foundation. Watching Dickey and Jaimoe reunite for "Whipping Post" made for a memory we will never forget. The mutual respect and admiration between multiple generations of the ABB family was felt in every corner of this beautiful venue. While many of the founding members have passed on, their legacy lives on through this timeless catalog of music.
Setlist: The Dickey Betts Band - Macon, GA - 05.17.18
Set: Hot ‘Lanta, Statesboro Blues, Nothing You Can Do, Midnight Rider, Blue Sky, My Getaway, Change My Way Of Living, Seven Turns, Whipping Post, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed
Encore: Ramblin’ Man, Jessica
As mentioned earlier, this show would not have happened without the efforts of Friends With Benefits Productions and Ear For Music. We recently spoke with George Claussen (FWB) and Rob Lamble (EFM) who shared a few personal thoughts on this special experience:
George: This opportunity was once in a lifetime. As a promoter, you dream about a concert like this. Bringing the remaining original Allman Brothers, children of the band members, and past members together one last time...back where it all began in Macon, GA. It's hard to describe the feeling we all felt that night...like writing a page in the history books. Not everyone gets that chance, and we are truly grateful. Thanks for all the love and support before and after the show. I know the road goes on forever!
Rob: From the minute we arrived in Macon last Wednesday, there was a feeling in the air that something really special was about to take place. Not only the vibe that was happening in town, but it was like Duane, Berry, Butch, & Gregg were alongside us the whole time. We knew in our minds what was going to happen, but didn't realize how special this show really was going to be until it was upon us.
I know what this music has meant to me over the years and the countless other fans as well. With the recent and unfortunate passing of both Butch and Gregg, I think we all had an empty musical space in our hearts...knowing we would never hear this music played again (in a live setting) until last Thursday night. When Dickey walked out on the stage and hit the first note of "Hot Lanta," it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was pretty surreal, and I think the audience felt the same way.
We were then standing stage left with Jaimoe, and he seemed to be extremely excited about what was taking place as well. George and I asked him if he was ready, and he said "Never been more ready." He then proceeded to tell us we had really pulled off something special that night, and we should feel really good about it. That was the best compliment I have ever received in my 25 years of being in the music business.
That was it for me...you could close the book, and then Jaimoe took the stage to join Dickey after an 18-year hiatus years and played "Whipping Post." The energy in the auditorium could have rivaled any live concert experience in times past. Needless to say, I won't be closing the book anytime soon. It was the most magical evening I have ever been a part of!
Watch a clip of "Jessica" here:
Watch a clip of "Whipping Post" with Jaimoe here:
Watch a clip of "Midnight Rider" w/ Devon Allman here:
'Eat A Peach' Will Bring Allman Brothers Tribute To Montgomery November 06, 2017 21:44
Watch Tedeschi Trucks Band Perform "Mountain Jam" With Trey Anastasio October 18, 2017 14:32
One of our favorite things about the jam/live touring scene is the sense of family; not just amongst the fans, but the artists as well. While the juggernaut that is the Tedeschi Trucks Band has welcomed many special guests over the years, this past weekend at The Beacon Theatre was certainly special. TTB's roots with The Allman Brothers Band clearly run deep, and Phish frontman Trey Anastasio gives much credit to Duane Allman for his early guitar development.
Trey joined TTB last weekend for a monster cover of the Allmans' classic "Mountain Jam," and thankfully, pro-shot footage has now surfaced. TTB released footage of the final eight minutes from the 30-minute cover today, and it can be watched below. Keep your fingers crossed for a future release of the entire performance.
Watch the final third of TTB's 30-minute "Mountain Jam" with Trey Anastasio here:
Legendary Drummer Butch Trucks Has Passed Away At Age 69 January 25, 2017 08:38
Legendary drummer and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, Butch Trucks, has passed away at age 69. The news was confirmed early this morning by Trucks' cousin, Lee, as well as the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival. The cause of death is currently unknown.
Trucks helped form The Allman Brothers Band in 1969, along with Duane Allman (guitar), Gregg Allman (vocals and organ), Dickey Betts (guitar), Berry Oakley (bass), and fellow drummer Jai Johanny Johanson. Together, the two drummers developed a rhythmic drive that would prove crucial to the band. Trucks laid down a powerful conventional beat while the jazz-influenced Johanson added a second laminate of percussion and ad libitum cymbal flourishes, seamlessly melded into one syncopated sound.
Trucks would be one of the constants in the band until their disbandment in 2014 and continued playing after that with various projects including his Freight Train Band. Trucks also led the Les Brers project, featuring numerous ABB alumni and put together various Allman-related superjams at festivals like Wanee. He is survived musically by nephews Derek Trucks (Tedeschi Trucks Band) and Duane Trucks, who plays drums for both Widespread Panic and Hard Working Americans.
Watch this 1984 interview with Butch Trucks and Dickey Betts here:
Gregg Allman Cancels All Scheduled Dates Through January November 09, 2016 10:17
As a result of continued health issues, Gregg Allman has announced that he is cancelling all scheduled performances through January of 2017. In a statement on his website Allman says:
“This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long, long, time. I’ve been on the road for 45 years because I live to play music with my friends for my fans. As much as I hate it, it’s time for me to take some real time off to heal.
“Not making a show is a really hard decision for me because I want to play so bad, but it’s also hard on my partners and fans who make plans to be with me. I never want to put anybody in a bad spot. I’m so grateful for the people that I work with and for the fans that come to my shows and I want to be at my best for all of them. That means I’m going to have to wait until I’m feeling really good, not just good enough like I have been. Good enough isn’t working for us all.”
Watch Gregg Allman perform "Whipping Post" earlier this year at Wannee here:
Allman's Winery shows in New York originally slated for this month will now take place in July. His southern dates from late December into January will not take place but have not been rescheduled as yet. The complete information regarding a ticket exchange for the Cty Winery performances appears below:
Dear Gregg Allman Ticket Holders,
It is with great regret that we reach out to inform you of Gregg Allman’s postponement of his 2016 run at City Winery due to a recent vocal injury requiring additional rest.
The rescheduled dates are as follows: July 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17
With this rescheduling, you have a few options of what to do with your tickets:
1.Transfer your tickets for November x directly to x day, July x. If you have a standing room ticket, your standing room ticket will be honored on July x. If you have seated tickets, your exact seats will be secured for July x.
2.If you would prefer to upgrade or seek out different ticketing options for one of the other dates (July x,x,x…), we will be happy to issue you store credit for easy check out AND we will see that you are provided with EXCLUSIVE access to Gregg Allman tickets, three weeks in advance of the general public sale date (to be announced).
If the above options are not applicable, we will see that you are provided with a full refund of your tickets. Please note that refunded ticket holders will not be eligible for the above noted exclusive pre sale period.
Please let us know your preference of direct transfer, store credit or refund by Friday, November 18th so that we might best accommodate you. We will answer inquiries in the order they were received as quickly as possible and do our absolute best to accommodate requests.
Though Gregg will not be performing on Wednesday, November 9th or Thursday, November 10th, we invite you to join us for a free concert featuring the Gregg Allman Band. Doors will open at 6pm for the 8pm performance. We would love to have you join us regardless of what you decide to do with your tickets.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and ask that you join us in wishing Gregg a speedy recovery. We’ll see you here for another show soon!