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The Allman Brother Band @ The Molson Amphitheatre 8/16/2005

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Another Allman Brothers Show, Another Lineup Change

With The Big Surprise Of Chuck Leavell Joining In On The Fun

By Tim Batke


Allman Brothers Band

I was well aware of the fact that Warren Haynes was not going to be on stage at the Molson Amphitheatre as the Allman Brothers official site stated "Warren Haynes will not be able to make the first week of the Allman Brothers tour due to family matters." So this was going to be yet another incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band I was going to see live, with former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Jack Pearson who took Warren's place in the band in 1997 until 1999 and Ron Holloway also helping out on tenor saxophone.

What I did not know walking into the Toronto venue was that former Allman Brothers Band member Chuck Leavell would surprise us by playing with the Allan Brothers Band for the first time since the Beacon run of 2001. Chuck who was apart of Allman Brothers Band in the early seventies and his work with the band was highlighted on their 1973 masterpiece 'Brothers and Sisters.'

Chuck who has been playing keyboards with the Rolling Stones for nearly twenty-five years, has been in Toronto rehearsing for their upcoming tour for the past month plus. The Stones left for Boston on Monday (August 15) which is where they are officially opening their tour (the Stones played a surprise gig in Toronto at the Phoenix on Wednesday August 10, 2005. Review found here on August 21. So it seems luckily for us in Toronto that Chuck got permission from the Glimmer Twins to stay in Toronto an extra day and perform with his old band mates.

Due to Warren's absence, the song selection of the gig was the most nostalgic of an Allman Brothers Band show that I have ever witnessed.

The set focused entirely of material from the Allmans first five albums from 1969 to 1973, minus the John Lee Hooker number "Dimples" sung by Jack Pearson, which Allman Brothers fans can find on the Duane Allman 'An Anthology Volume II' released in 1974. But that is as late of a release as the show went thirty-one years ago.

The Allmans came out on stage at eight-thirty sharp and went right into two numbers from the 1972 album 'Eat A Peach' with the Sonny Boy Williamson song "One Way Out" and then the Greg Allman original "Ain't Wasting Time No More."

The next two songs in a row from the 1970 album 'Idlewild South' the Greg classic "Midnight Rider" and then the Dickey Betts instrumental "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed." It was during "Elizabeth Reed" in which Chuck Leavell joined in on a Yamaha electric piano.

After seeing Chuck with the Rolling Stones over the last decade plus it was great to see him on stage with the Allman Brothers Band where he had the room to let loose and solo on the ivory keys, which is something that is not conducive to the Stones material.

The show would continue with a very bluesy feel with songs like "You Don't Love Me," Greg original "Don't Keep Me Wondering," the aforementioned "Dimples" and the Blind Willie McTell number "Statesboro Blues." It seems that the blues numbers were the wisest choice with the situation of Jack taking over for Warren on such short notice.

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Jack had been in the Allman Brothers Band for over two years in the late nineties, but that was six years ago. It must be pointed out that though every guitarist that has walked on stage with the Allman Brothers Band has been brilliant they still have two very difficult parts to play.

Jack Pearson took over for Warren Haynes in 1997 and at the time Dickey Betts was still in the band. Therefore Jack was playing several of Duane Allman's original guitar parts. With the departure of Jack, Derek Trucks took over for most of the Duane parts. Then when Dickey was fired Jimmy Herring took over for Dickey briefly in 2000. Most recently Warren came back into the band and took over for Jimmy to take over for Dickey.

A little confusing isn't it? Now with Warren and Derek you had the most interchangeable guitarist the Allman Brothers Band has possibly ever seen. But with Warren out for these August 2005 shows you now have Jack Pearson coming in and performing a lot of Dickey parts, which he did not have to do during his original tenure with the band.

All that being said Jack performed admirably last night at the Molson Amphitheatre. But he was obviously not prepared to perform the material off of the Allman Brothers Band most recent studio effort the 2003 album 'Hittin' the Note.' So the show was the good ol' stuff front to back.

Also it must be noted that with Chuck performing on nine of the thirteen songs performed he too was not prepared to perform 'Hittin' the Note' material, minus the Rolling Stones song "Heart of Stone" which he played with the Stones in 2002-03, but Gregg and the rest did not think to play that song last night.

Next up was the 'Idlewild South' Greg Allman original "Leave My Blues At Home" which in the middle of the song had the drums portion of the evening as well as the bass solo.

The highlight of the night was the last two songs before the encore, "Southbound" and "Jessica." These two 'Brothers and Sisters' classics were performed in the order they appeared on the album, and it was amazing to hear these songs live with Chuck Leavell as he was in the Allmans when they recorded these songs.

During "Southbound" there was an amazing call and answer that started with Chuck, then Ron, then Jack ending with Derek who was obviously leading the band throughout the show. The call and answer repeated to the point that it was like a machine gun of sound being fired into the audience. And to hear Chuck play an extended piano solo on "Jessica," which has him on the original studio recording was beautiful.

The show ended with a "Whipping Post" highlighted by a blistering solo by Derek Trucks at the end of the song. Then Molson Amphitheatre crowd showed the Allman Brothers their delight at the end with a large ovation. It should be noted that the crowd at the Amphitheatre looked larger than most of the previous Molson Amphitheatre Allman Brother Band concerts. This could have been due to the fact that the lawn section was closed off forcing all the fans to be in the seats, which did not allow for the large gaps that have been seen at the Allman Brothers shows in the past in 300 and 400 sections as many would flock towards the lawn section.

The Allman Brothers Band

The Molson Amphitheatre

Tuesday August 16, 2005

Start time 8:30PM

One Way Out (with Ron Holloway on tenor saxophone [A.])

Ain't Wasting Time No More

Midnight Rider

In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (A. and with Chuck Leavell on Yamaha electric piano [b.])

You Don't Love Me (A., B.)

Don't Keep Me Wondering (B.)

Stormy Monday (B.)

Dimples (A., B.)

Statesboro Blues (B.)

Leave My Blues At Home (Drums and Bass solo)

Southbound (A., B.)

Jessica (B.)


Whipping Post (A., B.)

End set 11:00PM (Total time 2 hours and 30 minutes)

Note: Jack Pearson subbed in for Warren Haynes on guitar.


Edited by Guest
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