Saturday, March 21, 2009

Remembering Duane

Springtime in New York brings its rituals. The days meander between deceptively warm and righteously cold. The local papers begin their adolescent obsession with baseball, New York's alpha-sport. And of course, Springtime also brings The Allman Brothers Band for their fifteen night run at the Beacon Theater on Manhattan's West Side.

I've never been to Katz's Deli. I've never been to the top of the Statue of Liberty. I've never taken a carriage ride around Central Park. But I'm proud to say that an Allman Brothers show at the Beacon is on my list of New York accomplishments.

Last night Eric Clapton joined the band for the last six songs of the set. Clapton is universally connected with his anthemic "Layla", an aching love song written in 1970 for a woman who at the time happened to be married to one of the Beatles. What often is forgotten, however, is that Clapton is only 50% of the mesmerizing guitar work on that recording. Another guitar weaves in and out of his now iconic progressions and was played by the late Duane Allman.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Allman Brothers Band, an amazing band that thankfully carried on after they lost Duane to a motorcycle accident in 1971. As I read this review of last night's show, it feels like it was a fitting tribute to a great musician long gone but not forgotten.

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