On Saturday, September 23rd, an all-star collective of musicians gathered at Brooklyn Bowl to pay homage to fallen musical heroes Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks. “The Road Goes On Forever: Celebrating The Music Of The Allman Brothers” was Brooklyn Comes Alive‘s tribute to those two iconic musicians and the incredible music that they created, and it featured an impressive and diverse array of musicians from across the improvisational music universe.
Helmed by the longtime musical director of Gregg Allman Band and local New York favorite, Scott Sharrard, the band was rounded out by Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico from moe., Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Nate Werth of Snarky Puppy, Joey Porter from The Motet, and Sharrard’s Gregg Allman Band bandmate Brett Bass. The band was joined by a number of amazing guitar players along the way, with Eric Krasno (Soulive/Lettuce), Rob Compa (Dopapod), Roosevelt Collier, Dave Harrington and Brandon “Taz” Niederauer all jumping on stage throughout the two-hour set.
When the band took the stage, Sharrard announced a surprise, that the band would be performing a re-creation of The Allman Brothers Band’s 40th Anniversary show at the Beacon Theatre from March 26th, 2009. The setlist featured back-to-back renditions of The Allman Brothers Band’s first two albums: The Allman Brothers Band and Idlewild South. Featuring undeniable classics and cherished b-sides, the setlist was an ambitious choice that this group of players handled with ease. The band came hot out of the gate with fiery renditions of “Don’t Want You No More” and “It’s Not My Cross To Bear”, with Amico, Purdie and Werth linking up to imitate the Allman Brothers’ unique percussive sound, Porter emulating Allman on the organ, and Sharrard and Schnier nailing the band’s iconic dual-guitar approach.
With the audience sufficiently warmed up, Sharrard brought out the first guest of the evening, Connor Kennedy, who helped out on guitar and vocals on several songs throughout the night. Kennedy’s passionate vocals were showcased on “Black Hearted Woman” and “Trouble No More”, which also featured Compa. When Compa joined the band, Schnier moved from electric to acoustic guitar, adding a studio-like-quality to the performance. The night was filled with amazing guest appearances, with improvisational upstart Dave Harrington, who was on hand for a performance with his Merry Pranksters later that evening, harmonizing on with him perfectly on “Every Hungry Woman”, and then turning in one of the standout performances of the evening with an out-there version of “Dreams.”
Following Harrington’s appearance, fourteen-year-old Brandon “Taz” Niederauer strutted on stage, and the anticipation in the room was palpable. Taz is a Brooklyn Comes Alive vet, having stunned audiences at last year’s event during the Earth, Wind & Power set orchestrated by The Nth Power. He spent the past four years being mentored by Allman, Trucks, and improvisational guru Col. Bruce Hampton, so needless to say emotions in the room were running high when Taz took the Brooklyn Bowl stage. The iconic bassline of “Whipping Post” began, and Sharrard and Niederauer took the excited audience on a journey of epic proportions. Taz was just incredible, nailing the song’s spacey rhythm guitar while Sharrard took his solo. When it was Taz’s turn to solo, he was patient, slowly building up in speed and intensity until he exploded, unleashing what can only be described as a ferocious attack on his guitar. The pure joy on Niederauer’s face was undeniable, and he truly shared his love for the Allman Brothers music with everyone in the room. Anyone in the room that night that witnessed this version of “Whipping Post” can attest, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer is one of the best guitarists in the live music community.
Next up, Kennedy returned, and with him, he brought Eric Krasno and Roosevelt Collier to the stage. The trio helped the band with an uplifting “Revival”, the first song on, Idlewild South. Collier stayed on stage for the classic song “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’, before the house band delivered a stirring version of “Midnight Rider”, with Schnier picking up his acoustic again while Kennedy and Sharrard nailed the song’s vocal harmonies.
After that, Krasno returned the stage for the rest of the night, starting his portion of the show off with a fantastic rendition of “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed”. The fourteen-minute version showcased exactly why Krasno is one of the most in-demand guitar players in the live music scene today. He and Sharrard were both on fire throughout, playing off each other and showing a real love and dedication to the music. Their intense solos got crazier and crazier, and the band latched on for some really powerful moments throughout the song.
Krasno stayed on stage and took lead vocals on “Hoochie Coochie Man,” before Collier and Niederauer were summoned back on stage for the night’s finale, a wild four-guitar dual on “Leave My Blues At Home”.
One of the great parts of Brooklyn Comes Alive is how rare and unique each set is, and everyone in the room that night knew that they would never see this group of musicians playing this awesome music together again–it made the night all the more special. Sharrard and his rag-tag band of musicians gave it their all and put together a fitting tribute to the Allman Brothers, and it’s something no one in the room that night will ever forget.
You can enjoy the full audio below, as recorded by Eric McRoberts.
The Road Goes On Forever: Celebrating The Music Of The Allman Brothers | Brooklyn Bowl | Brooklyn, NY | 9/23/2017
Don’t Want You No More > It’s Not My Cross To Bear, Black Hearted Woman*, Trouble No More*@, Every Hungry Woman#, Dreams#, Whipping Post$, Revival, Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’%^, Midnight Rider*, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed^, Hoochie Coochie Man^, Leave My Blues At Home$%^
* w/ Connor Kennedy
@ w/ Rob Compa
# w/ Dave Harrington
$ w/ Brandon “Taz” Niederauer
% w/ Roosevelt Collier
^ w/ Eric Krasno