“Welcome to the first-ever live show of the Allman Betts Band,” Devon Allman told the eager audience at Brooklyn Bowl on Wednesday night. Fans didn’t know what to expect: were Devon, son of Gregg, and Duane Betts, son of Dickey Betts, teaming up to cover their fathers’ classic tunes or to break new ground? It turned out to be some of both, and the overwhelming conclusion was these guys are for real on both fronts.
The band’s lineage extends beyond the two front men to include Berry Oakley, Jr., son of the Allman Brothers Band’s original bassist. All three have been playing for years on their own and with various acts on the jamband scene. Last year, Duane, taking time off from Dawes, regularly sat in with The Devon Allman Project.
In addition to a major tour with dates booked through the end of the year, the Allman Betts Band has recorded an album, Down to the River, scheduled for June release. Chuck Leavell and Peter Levin appeared on the album, but veteran jambander John Ginty is handling keyboards on tour. Guitarist John Stachela is a welcome addition, a slide guitar superstar who’s among the very best. With such depth of talent on stage, the band quickly found its footing with original material to open the show.
No one was clamoring for “Whipping Post,” but the first of the Allman classics, “Blue Sky,” received a rousing welcome. Devon took to acoustic guitar for “Multi-Colored Lady” as a tribute to his parents. “I lost both my mother and father in the past two years,” he said. “This is the song my Dad wrote for my mother.”
Among the many highlights were a soulful take on “Seven Turns” and an energetic cover of “Purple Rain,” with songstress Jessica Lynn joining the band. The set closed with an extended version of “Dreams” before the band returned for encores that included “Good Ol’ Days” from the new album and Berry Oakley, Jr. taking the mic on a lively “Shakedown Street.”
We would be remiss if we didn’t offer a shoutout to The Mallet Brothers, the pride of Maine, for a terrific opening set that not only got the crowd primed but had music fans visiting the band’s merch table to learn more. Check out the Allman Betts Band’s website for upcoming shows in your area. Their first show was way beyond our expectations, and things are just getting started.
The Allman Betts Band – Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NY – 3/27/19