Last night I was given the privilege to attend a Gregg Allman concert. This was my first time hearing him live and what a treat to the ears it was.
First let me tell you about Sailor Circus Sarasota the venue in which the event was held. It was a smaller venue, with stadium seating and floor seating. Quaint and cozy; the seats were extremely close together and not a lot of leg room. Not sure this could’ve been avoided, but it was still a great venue simply because I don’t feel there was a bad seat in the house. We were fortunate enough to be in the stadium seating fifth row up and pretty close to the stage. No complaints about that.
Unfortunately I was not granted a photo pass for this event, (I will apologize ahead of time for the bad cell phone photos) I know it’s a gamble on getting passes for out of town events, however we were close enough my iPhone was able to at least capture the feel of the stage. Not great photos, but at least something to post with.
Now, let’s cut to the chase and get into the meat of the program. There were two opening acts, and I felt it strange at first that Gregg’s son Devon Allman Band was the first act to open, in my mind I thought he was going to be prior to his dad. He took the stage and it was like seeing his father (with shorter hair) up there, his sound was very much influenced by his dad, of that you can be certain. His tour is called the Turquois Tour and is based on his newest first ever solo album of the same name with a bluesy rock feel to it. His songs were fresh and had hitting. The song When I Left Home, was a biographical song of his life as the son of a rock star and his start in the music business. His song Turn Off the World also was a ballad of needing to get away from life and the stresses of the road. Overall Devon put on a great show and this listener will be purchasing his newest CD Turquois.
Next up was a local band (out of the Pinellas County area) called The Greg Billings Band at first I couldn’t figure out why a local band was the opening act to Gregg Allman, but one minute into this bands set and you knew exactly why! High energy, fun to watch, and a dream to the ears. Their first song Built for Love was hard hitting and full of great guitar. The vocalist was on the money and never stood still (good thing I didn’t have to photograph him). They too had released a new album and last night was the first time it had been offered, I may have to look them up on iTunes as well for the downloadable version. They covered a song by Sister Roseta Tharpe Ain’t No Grave and received a standing ovation for this one. Phenomenal sound, phenomenal energy and a great opening act for Gregg.
Greg Billings Band from Pinellas County
Now let’s get to our headliner the one and only Gregg Allman and I must say (this is for the ladies) he is still as good looking as ever! He took the stage behind that Hammond Organ and the sound was incredible. His line-up of musicians were as follows Scott Sharrard-guitar, Ben Stivers- Keyboard, Steve Potts-drums, Jay Collins-horns, and Ron Johnson-bass. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of his percussionist and he brought his son back on stage with guitar on a couple of numbers.
Behind the Hammond
With Son Devon Allman
Gregg performed a few numbers from several of his albums like his latest release like Floating Bridge from Low Country Blues, Whipping Post from Searching for Simplicity. And of course he performed the Allman Brother’s classic Sweet Melissa. His rocking style has not faded, however he has delved more into a Jazzy Blues feels with allowing his band mates to perform a jazz number during his intermission. Overall the show was excellent and I have Sailor Circus Sarasota to thank and Matt Mangas at 94.5 “The Arrow” for the awesome tickets; a couple of my friends who were able to attend because of his generosity.