Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers & Almost All Of Layla

allman brothers beacon eric clapton
Playing Key to the Highway. So good.

The Allman Brothers & Eric Clapton

Beacon Theater 2009

Man, the Allman Brothers were great. I’m sorry that I didn’t realize how great they were, before they disbanded. I never saw them live to my shame. Well, if you know the Allmans at all you probably remember that they would have week long residencies at New York’s Beacon theater. During 2009 they were joined by Eric Clapton.

Clapton has been a fan of the Allmans since day one. Duane was in Derek and Dominoes, and the deluxe version that album has a long jam with the Allmans back in 1970. Amazing. The Allmans (to me) are everything the Grateful Dead are said to be.  That’s not a war cry, just an opinion.  I’ve written of my love of them before.

This show is incredible. I am in awe at the level of interplay, and musical genius, are at work here. Clapton fits in perfectly but in no way overshadows. It’s both a testament to the quality of the Allmans, as much as Eric’s. It makes me sad that he (Clapton) never again went for a real tight but loose jam band, after the Dominoes. I get it. Cream was a nightmare of drama and fighting, Blind Faith was also rife with drama (cough… Ginger Baker… cough), and then the Dominoes faded away into heroin addiction, and alcoholism.

On With The Show

SET LIST: 01. Introduction 02. Key To The Highway 03. Dreams 04. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad 05. Little Wing 06. Anyday 07. Layla 08. Ending

As you see there is a decent chunk of the Layla album represented, both (I think), as a celebration and a homage, to Duane Allman, and all that could have been. The beauty of the set is 100% in the Layla vibe, while completely being Derek Trucks’ and Warren Haynes’ 21st Century creation. The old were great in the way that they were back in 1970. There’s no redefining or modernizing.

The rhythm section with two drummers, and a percussionist, is truly key to this performance, and the Allman Brothers Band, as a whole. Jaimoe and Butch Trucks (RIP) deepen the groove, while making the drums sound like one drummer with four arms. I love them. Oteil Burbridge plays bass so deep in the pocket that you don’t notice that he’s the mortar holding all this together.

I LOVE THIS SHOW. Watch it. Listen to it. Keep listening. It’s astonishing good. My word good not good as newspaper word good, so if you’d like a professional review of this set, here’s the original New York Times write up. Enjoy. I hope you like it.

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