A founding member of the legendary Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman is one of the most acclaimed icons in rock history. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, nominated for countless album awards and a winner of the lifetime achievement award in 2012, his instantly recognizable voice is one that has echoed through the hallways of rock and roll for the last forty years. So it only seems fitting that a man of such success, revered by his peers would be honoured by a live concert (mega-show, if you will).
On January 10th 2014, an assortment of musicians from the rock, blues and country world gathered together for a glitzy performance to pay homage to the great Gregg Allman. The four-hour event was captured and is now available to be re-lived, under the name – All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs and Music of Gregg Allman. The concert showcases new performances of classic songs drawn from Allmans forty-odd years in making music, from his work with The Allman Brothers band to his solo career. The list of performers includes current Allman Brothers members Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, along with other contemporaries such as Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne and Pat Monahan. The show wouldn’t be complete without Allman himself taking up the stage, performing a number of tracks with his guests.
The album is a playful, entertaining listen throughout. Great renditions of Queen of Hearts by Pat Monahan and Multi-Coloured Lady by Vince Gill are particular highlights as cover songs and really show how adaptable Allman’s tunes are. However what most fans want to hear is Allman himself. He teams up with Taj Mahal on These Days and Melissa and goes on to perform perfect renditions of Dreams and Whipping post with his Allman Brothers counterparts. The latter have recently stated they will be leaving the Allman brothers Band at the end of 2014, and Gregg himself announced they would then stop touring, so it is a wonderful opportunity to hear the group on top form before they part ways.
The full cast graces the stage for the finale Will the Circle Be Unbroken, and its evident to hear not only the musical talent on display, but also the fun everyone appears to be having. And this sums All My Friends up rather well. It is an enjoyable, playful, inspiring, reflective listen and a wholly worthwhile tribute to a musical great.