I’m back from Wanee, dazed and confused but happy. It took me a couple of days to process the weekend and get my head back together to be able to write this. It was a great weekend for me.
One of the only downers was my flight down there was cancelled, forcing me to fly to Orlando and miss Thursday night. I had been excited to see the Royal Southern Brotherhood, Hot Tuna electric and Soullive.
As usual, Jaimoe was involved in the highlights, notably taking a long slow walk across the fairgrounds from the Mushroom Stage to the Peach Stage. We stopped to chat with people and to do some shopping. Jaimoe, who’s always been known for his fashion sense, talked me into buying matching corduroy patched pants. Check them out to the left.
Speaking on the Mushroom Stage was, of course, a career highlight. Just being able to say “I spoke on the Mushroom Stage” is a highlight actually, but it was wonderful to look out into the crowd and see so many interested faces looking back.
All of you writing me with thanks for signing, talking, etc, you’re welcome, but you can stop. It was seriously, truly my pleasure. A guy who wrote a book about the Allman Brothers couldn’t ask for a better place to be hanging out. All anyone who creates any kind of art really wants is someone to appreciate the work; being in the middle of a huge festival filled with such people is off the charts. I truly enjoyed meeting and talking with so many of you. I share your passions and admire your dedication.
Special shout out to everyone at Helen’s Hilton.
The whole festival just has a really pleasant old school vibe and that extends to the backstage hangs at both stages. Anyone who didn’t have to rush away hung out and enjoyed one another’s company. Eric Krasno was everywhere I turned. Warren and Derek made the rounds sitting in with people – especially Warren. Chris Robinson, Neal Casal and the rest of the CR Brotherhood did not seem in any hurry to leave, and both were really happy to get copies of One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band.
And. of course, I really heard a lot of great music. The bad part of being at a festival is you can’t see it all and I missed some people I didn’t want to miss.
But a few musical highlights for me, in no order: moe., Jaimoe’s Jassz Band, my Pittsburgh homeboys Rusted Root (only saw the first few songs and they were a lot stronger than I recalled), Trey Anastasio, who was also much stronger than I thought – it’s been a while. I listened from way in the back with Jaimoe and he said, “Trey’s got himself a good band.” He also whispered some really funny stuff I can’t post. Next time you see me, ask me about it.
Break Science was new to me and very good – especially with half the TTB horn section and Reggie from JJB sitting in, along with The late night set of UM doing covers with lots of guests was very cool, but it was the end of the fest and man was I cooked.
Dumstaphunk doing Zep sounded like a cheesy idea to me, but the execution was excellent… and Warren lit it up for a couple of songs… that kept me up way past my bed time… I was trying to turn in early, due to be on the same stage at 10 AM. At about 2 am Warren told me he wanted to come to my talk and asked when I was on.
He clasped my shoulder and said, “I’ll be here in spirit, buddy.”
And, of course, the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Gov’t Mule were both great. I can;t really defend the position but it seemed like a particularly strong TTB set and Warren and Mule just played seamlessly.
Galadrielle Allman was joined by figurative uncle Butch Trucks and real uncle Gregg Allman when she spoke Friday morning on the Mushroom stage discussing her book, Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman.
As you can see in the picture to the left, Gregg was in great spirits and he caused a stir and created some news when eh said, parapahrasing, “the rumors are not true. This is not the end of the Allman Brothers Band.”
Never mind that there is no plan in place and that the “rumor” was started by Gregg himself when he said definitively in an interview that with Warren and Derek departing, the band would cease at the end of 2014. I understand the excitement this announcement caused, but I would caution everyone to not take it too seriously and just kick back and enjoy any and all ABB shows you can take in.
About an hour after his talk with Galadrielle, Gregg had some sort of golf cart accident and injured his left wrist. He gamely hit the stage that night wearing a cast. He didn’t play too much – Kofi Burbridge was also on keys – and he didn’t really sing a whole lot, either. The ABB set was still pretty intense and musically strong, with Warren very much steering the ship through two instrumentals. Gregg sang his few songs pretty well, but was not terribly involved.
Saturday was a much stronger overall ABB show and Gregg seemed in fact to have something to prove. He sang 5 of the first 6 and I thought was in very strong voice and he actually played a bit more, though still augmented by Kofi.