November 20th, 2010 was the final night in the Allman Brothers Band’s three-night run at The Orpheum in Boston. I caught the last two shows and spent the weekend staying with friends.
It was just my second time in Boston and I really enjoyed it this time. My only other visit was during my band-management days. It was the tail end of The Big Dig and traffic was absurd and atrocious everywhere I went in the city, and while the gig that night at a neon-lit licensed bowling alley in the Jamaican Plain area was quite memorable, it didn’t leave me with a very good overall impression of the city.
(Okay, there was one other time; I was flying somewhere with my friend Dave and we had a stopover in Boston that was just long enough for us to get downtown and pound a beer or two on a patio in the shadow of a statue of Samuel Adams.)
This time I actually had a chance to see the city in the daylight and I strolled here and there taking in the sights. I remember crunching leaves under my shoes on a lovely stroll through a campus somewhere looking for the spot where Jingle Bells was written (it’s my favourite Thanksgiving carol).
Turns out Boston is a pretty nice town.
And the Orpheum Theatre is a pretty nice theatre too. I especially appreciate how they steadfastly maintain the proper British spelling of ‘theatre’, as several American venues choose to do. The British spelling pairs well with the frilly Victorian-esque decor that surrounds the stage and fills the room.
The show was great. The very bluesy first set closed with G. Love sitting in on harmonica and the second set had a sit-in as well, when Jr. Mack added a third, positively blistering guitar to the Warren Haynes/Derek Trucks mix.
The second set closed where it opened, bookmarking a jammy quartet of songs with Mountain Jam. For the encore we got a screaming, pained Whipping Post that reminded anyone who had forgotten that Gregg Allman was one of the world’s great blues singers. Sometimes he really did sound like he was tied to the whipping post, and maybe sometimes he pretty much was.
Gosh, it was great to hear Gregg Allman sing the blues, and it sucks that the world won’t hear it anymore.