August 29th, 1995 would have been the second time I saw The Allman Brothers Band, a group I would eventually come to call one of my favourites. The first time I saw them I was decidedly not a fan – up until then the recordings had utterly failed to pull me in – but that first show turned me over. I went from avoiding the band to easily welcoming them into my soundscape, but I was still years from, you know, learning the names of the songs and such.
And so while I’m sure I thoroughly enjoyed them, songs on this night’s setlist like It’s Not My Cross To Bear, One Way Out, and even Jessica would probably have passed my ears as brand new or at best vaguely familiar, though these masterpieces are now forever ingrained in my soul. I suppose I would have recognized Ramblin’ Man when it came out early in the set – everyone knows that one – and I undoubtedly knew their mid-set Call It Stormy Monday because I had been forced to learn it by my guitar teacher Wayne, who was standing right next to me at this show, but everything else would have felt strange and wonderfully new to me.
And I tell you, if I wasn’t completely won over by The Allman Brothers Band after that first show or the great pile of music they played on this night, after the final song of this concert I was undoubtedly hooked in for good.
How can any guitar-freaking music lover possibly see The Allman Brothers Band close out a show with Whipping Post and not become a lifetime convert?
If you know the answer to that, for crying out loud don’t tell me.
PS While I rather enjoyed Rusted Root’s sun-drenched, upbeat opening set, compared to the headlining act their significance registers so low on my musical totem pole that I mention them here only post-scriptally. Nothing personal.