Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gregg Allman and The Doobie Brothers in Boston!


As Pat Simmons said himself, "Like Father, Like Son" 
The Doobies Brothers guitarist/singer Pat Simmons's son Pat Simmons Jr. did a quick 1/2 hour set to start the night.

His set was honestly fairly lackluster, made up of acoustic songs with simple chord progressions. His father joined him for the last song, the Doobie Brothers hit  "Texas Lullaby". It reminded me of a CSN show I saw at the Beacon two years ago, when David Crosby's son Raymond joined the band.


Gregg played a similar set list with only a few changes. Just as in Peach, he opened up with "Statesboro Blues" into "I'm no Angel." Later on he played the same chain of songs "Aint Wastin' Time No More", "Melissa", "It's Not my Cross to Bear", "Midnight Rider", "Love Like Kerosene" and "Whipping Post". Gregg played guitar for about half the songs and had a nice voice, showing that he is in good health. Allman Brothers Band Marc Quinones had fewer toys than normal without his gong drum; however he did chime in with a lot of upbeats.

Gregg's band gradually found more energy as the night went on. It was interesting seeing how his music director/lead guitarist Scott Sharrard differs from Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. He played some slide like Derek, but mostly played faster paced, jangly solos and contributed vocals on "Soulshine" like Warren.

I do wish Gregg varied his set list a little more from his Peach Festival show. Part of the fun of a typical Allman Brothers show is you never know what the songs the band is going to play or who's going to come on as a guest. This show was fairly predictable.

I went into the Doobie Brothers cold, not knowing any of the band's music like when I saw Phish for the first time at Madison Square Garden in December 2013. Before both shows, I heard rumors that the bands were great, but walking into the venues, I could count more fingers on either of my hands than names of songs that the respective bands play.

As the set began with "Jesus is Just Alright", I took a glance at the set lists of previous shows in the 2015 tour. I noticed the band was playing the same one each night. As I stated early in this post, I'm not a big of fan of a lack of variety in set lists; however, not knowing the band's songs, it kind of worked in my favor as I was able to follow along.

Guy Allison on the Keys!
Many of the band's greatest hits, including "Rockn' Down the Highway", "World Gone Crazy" and "Long Train Runnin'" featured vibrant, robust solos from the three guitarists Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons and John McFee.  John McFee mixed things up with his pedal steel guitar during "Neal's Fandango".  Later in the night things got funky with "Eyes of Silver" and people started dancing. Saxophonist Marc Russo moved around a lot and contributed some throbbing notes. I didn't know the song "Black Water" by name at first but the words were definitely familiar. With all four vocalists lined up in front, the band reminded me of Crosby Stills and Nash. Everyone followed John McFee's lead and chime in singing during the final "Listen to the Music" encore.

Marc Russo on Sax! 
Not knowing much about the band, I felt the Doobies Brothers is an eclectic mix of influences, like Crosby Stills and Nash with several vocalists, Lynyrd Skynyrd with three guitarists and the Allman Brothers with jamming.

 Like Tom Petty and Sir Paul McCartney, I'd say the band is an act everyone should see once in his or her lifetime, but not necessarily again. The first time I saw Sir Paul in 2009 at Citi Field, I absolutely loved hearing his stories and mix of Beatles, Wings and solo songs. When I heard him repeat almost entirely the same list and set of stories two years later at Yankee Stadium,  I was not all that impressed. Once you've heard the band play all of its major hits live, there's not much more to hear.
Bow after the Encore; drum sticks and picks were thrown out

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