Gov’t Mule invited some very special guests, including Oz Noy and Connor Kennedy, to their first of two Mule Year’s performances at New York City’s Beacon Theater on Monday.
A Warren Haynes-led Gov’t Mule was coming off shows at Connecticut’s Palace Theater and The Met in Philadelphia that contained a multitude of sit-ins and choice cover selections. The first of two nights at the Beacon Theatre would be much of the same, but with its own unique twists and turns.
During a pre-show ceremony, VP of concerts New York and MSG Live Corey Humpage presented the band with a plaque commemorating their 39th (12/30) and 40th (12/31) performances at the venue. The plaque will be on permanent display backstage and the venue will update it after each performance.
Haynes, the longtime Allman Brothers Band guitarist, led the quartet to the stage following an opening set by The Record Company. They kicked things off with a traditional folk cover of “Railroad Boy” before moving through a few originals including “Larger Than Life” and “Fool’s Moon”, a few familiar licks from Haynes signaled Matt Abts (drums), Danny Louis (keys/vocals), and Jorgen Carlsson (bass) into the start of “Painted Silver Light”. Powerful vocals highlighted the 1995 Gov’t Mule track as Warren sang, “In the painted silver light/I watched you gently move/I long to have that vision in my head again/Conjure, as I may, my guilt won’t let me sleep”.
Gov’t Mule – “Painted Silver Light” – 12/30/19
An electric cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Effigy” led into a “Folsom Prison Blues” jam. After making their way back towards “Effigy”, the band jumped into Gov’t Mule original “Which Way Do We Run”.
Gov’t Mule – “Effigy” > “Folsom Prison Blues” Jam > “Effigy” – 12/30/19
Abts then directed the band into the first of four consecutive The Beatles covers. Fans sang along as they moved through a “She Said, She Said” > “Tomorrow Never Knows” combo. The dark and exploratory jam set up the first guests of the night, The Better Half Singers, who joined in on “And Your Bird Can Sing”.
Gov’t Mule – “She Said, She Said” > “Tomorrow Never Knows” [The Beatles covers] – 12/30/19
Multi-instrumentalist Connor Kennedy donned a yellow Fender Telecaster while he showed off his guitar and vocal chops on the last Beatles cover, “Revolution”—a Mule debut. Haynes and Kennedy made the Lennon-McCartney song their own, trading vocals and guitar leads as the crowd sang along to the Beatles staple.
Gov’t Mule w/Connor Kennedy – “Revolution” [The Beatles cover] – 12/30/19
[Video: Sean Roche]
After the four-piece closed out the first set with “Revolution Come, Revolution Go”, they made their way back to the stage for another set of blues-inspired improv.
A cover of Blind Willie Johnson‘s “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground” jump-started set two. After the original “So Weak, So Strong” and a “Doing It To Death” cover, a massive “Fallen Down” > “The Other One Jam” segue ensued. Louis seemed to lead the band through “Fallen Down” with his work on the ivories while Carlsson kept the low-end flowing during “The Other One Jam”.
Gov’t Mule – “Fallen Down” > “The Other One Jam” – 12/30/19
Saxophonist Aaron Heick made his way to the stage with The Better Half Singers for an excellent rendition of The Rolling Stones‘ “Play With Fire”. The Better Half singers harmonized well with Haynes as Heick aided the rhythm section with some complimentary phrases on the brass. Heick let loose during an improv section, pleasing the crowd with his jazzy take on the Stones classic.
Gov’t Mule w/Aaron Heick & The Better Half Singers – “Play With Fire” [Rolling Stones cover] – 12/30/19
Before Gov’t Mule let their third night of Mule Year’s end, they invited yet another guest, mercurial Oz Noy, to the stage. Noy and his trusty Fender Stratocaster sat in on “Birth of the Mule”. He took lead on much of the jam section while Haynes and the rest of the band kept a tight pocket. His licks garnered the attention of fans and built to an apex of hefty proportions. Louis laid down some jazzy lines on the keys before a Rolling Stones “Paint it Black” tease wrapped up the 12+ minute song.
Gov’t Mule w/ Oz Noy – “Birth of the Mule” – 12/30/19
Proceeding a set-ending “Mule”, Carmine Appice (drums) and Jimmy Vivino (guitar) joined the band for an encore of “Live With Me”. This was the first time Mule had played the Humble Pie track, joining the Beatles’ “Revolution” as the two cover debuts of the night.
Gov’t Mule w/Carmin Appice & Jimmy Vivino – “Live With Me” [Humble Pie cover] – 12/30/19
Below, you can check out a gallery of photos from night three of the Gov’t Mule Mule Year’s performance courtesy of photographer Eric Gettler.
Gov’t Mule will finalize their 2019 New Year’s run on Tuesday with the second of two shows at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. Visit the band’s website for ticket information.
Setlist: Gov’t Mule | Beacon Theater | New York, NY | 12/30/19
Set One: Railroad Boy, Larger Than Life, Fool’s Moon, Painted Silver Light, Effigy > Folsom Prison Blues Jam > Effigy, Which Way Do We Run, She Said She Said > Tomorrow Never Knows, And Your Bird Can Sing*, Revolution^$, Revolution Come Revolution Go
Set Two: Dark Was The Night Cold Was The Ground, So Weak So Strong, Doing It To Death, Fallen Down > The Other One Jam#, Play With Fire#$, Birth Of The Mule!, Mule
Encore: Live With Me^@
*w/The Better Half Singers
@w/Carmine Appice & Jimmy Vivino