Gregg Allman - organ, vocals; Duane Allman - guitar, vocals; Dickey Betts - guitar, vocals; Berry Oakley - bass, vocals; Butch Trucks - drums; Jai Johanson - drums
What can be said about this legendary Allman Brothers Band set that hasn't been said before? Not much, but for the sake of those unfamiliar with this particular show, here they are, the original lineup, performing the last set ever to be played at the venerable Fillmore East.
Country influences were not yet prominent in the group's sound, but their unique blend of rock, blues and jazz was reaching stratospheric regions by this point. Duane Allman and Dickey Betts' telepathic lead guitar playing combined with Berry Oakley's incredibly inventive, melodic bass to achieve a pure, improvisational genius, equal to the likes of the greatest jazz performers. Add Gregg Allman's bluesy organ, authentic gritty vocals and the dynamic, propulsive drumming duo of Johanson and Trucks, and you have one of the most innovative and captivating bands to ever play the Fillmore.
After the classic Bill Graham introduction, the group warms up with "Statesboro Blues." After three more, relatively short bluesy numbers - all of which are played wonderfully - they get down to serious business on "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed." Here, the band takes flight, soaring upward with Betts' and Allman's inspired guitar playing, riffs vacillating from beautiful to furious. This is also a testament to Berry Oakley's bass playing as an integral melodic factor to the band's overall sound.
Following a straightforward, concise rendition of "Midnight Rider," the band takes flight again on the fierce, propulsive instrumental "Hot 'Lanta." Next up is the ever popular "Whipping Post," here stretched out to almost twenty minutes of epic jamming that never loses interest as Duane Allman explores the farthest reaches of possibility on slide guitar. With the band's allotted time having just run out, Bill Graham returns to the stage to say thanks and goodbye to the Fillmore East audience. The band, still hungry to play, begins the classic riff that launches "You Don't Love Me," and before you know it, are off on another epic jam that would go down in history as the last song ever played at the Fillmore East.
Of course nobody knew it at the time, but Duane Allman had less than 100 days left to live after this performance. He would be killed in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971 in Macon, Georgia, when his bike collided with a truck. Approximately a year after that tragic loss, Berry Oakley died in another motorcycle accident, only three blocks away from the site of Allman's fatal accident, on November 11, 1972.
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