Warren Haynes brought Gov’t Mule and friends to the fabled Red Rocks Amphitheatre for a soul-satisfying rendition of their Pink Floyd cover show, Dark Side Of The Mule, Monday night in Morrison, CO. Mule, with new bassist Kevin Scott and a few guests like Jackie Greene and Ron Holloway, showed how delicious two offsetting flavors can be. Not unlike a musical Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Mule got its chocolate—the blues—in Pink Floyd’s peanut butter—British psychedelia—and the result was a perfect blend of wildly disparate tastes that complimented each other perfectly.

There’s little that can be said about former Allman Brothers Band guitarist and Mule founder Warren Haynes that hasn’t already been said. From Haynes’ fundamental sound to his guitar tone to his raspy yet honey-tinged voice, the man was born to play and sing the blues. When you factor in his ability to build to mind-bending crescendos and give him a band like Mule to back him up, he can deliver a sound as soul-searing as it is idiosyncratic. Monday’s show was all that and more.

Haynes built Gov’t Mule up from nothing through endless hours of road work and rehearsals, none of which new bassist Kevin Scott was there for. Ever since the tragic death of co-founder and original bass player Allen Woody the slot has been a source of transition for Mule, and some of the most iconic players in the jam band world have spent time in that position. Scott is the latest in a proud tradition of holding down the low end for Mule since Woody’s demise, along with the likes of Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers, Dead & Company), Les Claypool (Primus), Victor Wooten (Béla Fleck & The Flecktones), George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Andy Hess and, and for the last fifteen years, Jorgen Carlsson.

There’s no baptism by fire quite like playing Pink Floyd songs in front of a sold-out Red Rocks as a member of a storied band like Gov’t Mule. While the simple thought of it might terrify some less seasoned players, Scott not only withstood it, he nailed the Mule material and did a more than spot-on take on some of Roger Waters‘ most memorable bass lines, particularly Floyd classic “One Of these Days”.

Related: Roger Waters Previews ‘Dark Side Of The Moon Redux’ Nobody Asked For [Videos]

Never let it be said that Warren Haynes isn’t a savvy businessman, as he took the opening Mule portion of the set as an opportunity to throw in three songs from the band’s recently released 12th album, Peace…Like A River. All three—“Same As It Ever Was”, “After The Storm”, and “Made My Peace”—were rock-solid crowd-pleasers that easily held up to the Mule standards with which they were interspersed—“Time To Confess”, Unring The Bell” and “Endless Parade”—which speaks volumes on the viability of both Mule and its already deep catalog. With the aperitif out of the way it was time for the entree: the Floyd-filled second section of the show.

Gov’t Mule – “Same As It Ever Was” [Pro-Shot] – 8/7/23

Wish You Were Here’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond (I-V)” got things going as backing vocalists Sophia Ramos and Machan Taylor joined former Gil Scott-Heron sideman Ron Holloway and multi-instrumentalist Jackie Greene to help beef up the diversity of players needed to deliver the musical stew of Floyd songs. Greene, in particular, acquitted himself admirably with impressive work on keys (to help Mule ivory tickler Danny Louis on “Shine”) as well as guitar and vocals throughout the evening.

Warren Haynes has such a presence that, generally speaking, when he plays a cover song he makes it his own, it’s not anything to do with ego or pride. He can’t help it, it’s simply that the man has such a pure, unique own sound all his own. That said, the strength of the Pink Floyd songs involved—like the Wish You Were Here title track and its album-mate, “Welcome To The Machine”—are so powerful that they balanced and elevated each other to new levels of enchantment.

Dark Side Of The Moon, one of rock’s quantifiably top ten albums of all time, was delivered to a chilling effect in its entirety, lush instrumentation and all. Everything from “Breathe” to “Time” got a bluesy blending that raised the final result above and far beyond simple covers. The entire set was an exercise in how tribute shows like these should be done. When Scott started into the iconic bass intro to “One Of These Days” you weren’t thinking of Warren Hayne’s southern fried slide skills, but by the end of the song, the mixture had wormed its way into your core perspective of the song.

Gov’t Mule – “Time”, “Breathe Reprise”, “Great Gig In The Sky” (Pink Floyd) [Pro-Shot] – 8/7/23

The encores gave Haynes a chance to show off a couple of his most notable fretless sides, his generosity, and his incredible voice. Rather than taking the needed slide duties for an expensive take on Floyd’s double album masterpiece The Wall’s highest charting single, “Comfortably Numb”, he gave the nod to Greene, whose delight was clearly visible. Then, for the after-dinner mint of a second encore, Haynes sang the mournful “Wish You Were Here” with such emotion that even the most stoic members of the crowd found some excuse to wipe their eyes when it was finished.

Gov’t Mule has played Red Rocks enough times in its career that the band has no intimidation at the legendary venue but maintains all the respect in the world for the hallowed stage and the honor it entails. That same level of understanding, esteem, and regard clearly applies to their dalliances with Pink Floyd’s catalog, as well.

Dark Side Of The Mule is a wonder to behold, with lights, lasers, and all the visual bells and whistles one might expect, but at its core it’s a chance for one set of musicians to take some of rock’s most well-known and beloved songs and serve them up in such a way that you gain a new appreciation for both. What more could any music fan ask for?

For a complete list of upcoming Gov’t Mule tour dates, head here.

Setlist: Gov’t Mule | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 8/7/23

Setlist: Same as It Ever Was, Time to Confess, After the Storm, Unring the Bell, Endless Parade Made My Peace, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) (Pink Floyd) Have a Cigar (Pink Floyd), Welcome to the Machine (Pink Floyd), Speak to Me (Pink Floyd), Breathe (In the Air) (Pink Floyd), On The Run (Pink Floyd), Time (Pink Floyd), Breathe (Reprise) (Pink Floyd), The Great Gig in the Sky (Pink Floyd), Money (Pink Floyd), Us and Them (Pink Floyd), Any Colour You Like (Pink Floyd), One of These Days (Pink Floyd), Fearless (Pink Floyd), Echoes (Pink Floyd)

Encore: Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)

Encore 2: Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)