Wednesday, February 22, 2006

12/31/05 New Year's Eve with Gov't Mule

OK, I'm going to finally get around to talking about my New Year's this past December. Wife and I spent late December and early January in New York City. I have always loved seeing a band for NYE, since doing with the Grateful Dead for their last ten years of it was so much fun. So I lined up tickets to see Gov't Mule, Warren Haynes' band at the Beacon, which is right on Broadway.

The Beacon is a fine old place, much like the Orpheum in SF with all permanent seats, a loge, and a balcony. We were in the loge, slightly stage left, row F. I had never seen Gov’t Mule before, but I’d seen Warren Haynes with the Allman’s, Phil and Friends, and the Dead. The only Mule tune I knew was a cover, “Soulshine,” although I know from setlists they do a lot of covers. The warm up wasn’t an opening band, but they did show video from an old ‘60’s show called “The Beat.” It was hosted by a white guy but almost all the performers were black. I saw Dusty Springfield and what looked like young B.B. King and Albert Collins. The cool thing was the girl dancers in the white go-go boots.

The band came on around 9:26. They’re a four-piece band, drums, guitar, bass, and keyboards. I didn’t recognize the first two tunes, but they seemed a little boring. But then they got loosened up, and a stagehand came on to flash us huge cue cards like “Don’t be such an assh*le, Sam” so we could sing along with the chorus. They played a very sweet slow tune that built up that we really liked, including a drift into “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at the end. Then Warren switched guitars to another Gibson and he started noodling around, sounding like Jerry when he’s got the “waka-waka” sound going. I mentioned to Wife that he was sounding like Jerry, and then Warren launched into “Loser” and the place went nuts. “Loser” was great… it really rocked the house. They stuck a “Terrapin” jam in the middle, which was pretty cool. They finished the first set with “Train Kept a-Rollin’ All Night Long” around 10:35.

When the second set started at 11:10, we were completely taken by surprise as the curtain lifted to reveal a stage set up like the one from “The Beat.” The band all had black suits and ties on, and the keyboard player was wearing a big rasta wig. There was a four-piece horn section and two go-go dancers in white boots and colorful vinyl dresses (one red, one blue). There was one guest member of the band… a guy named Jimmy Vivino who sang and played a red and white Strat. Warren still hadn’t taken the stage, but after all the rave-ups, he walked on sans guitar, and also wearing a black suit. The place went nuts! The band kicked in to “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and he sang a killer lead on that. They followed with another old R&B cover, and then “I’ve Been Loving You (For So Long)” and Warren got handed his guitar from Jimmy mid-song so he could tear up the solo. This set went on and on with great covers, including “What Is Hip” and “The Letter.” That was a smokin’ great surprise! At midnight they counted down between songs and then balloons came down and they played “Night Time (Is the Right Time”) and Warren played the woman singer’s parts on his guitar.” The set closed with “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” at 12:15.

The third set was back to normal, although all the musicians eventually came back. They started at 12:50 with “30 Days in the Hole” and eventually covered “Folsom Prison Blues” as an instrumental jam and then “That’s What Love Will Make You Do.” The encore was “Hurts Me Too” and finally the second encore and last song gave me “Soulshine,” leaving no stone unturned, as far as I was concerned. I don’t think there could have been another place in New York that gave me as much as I wanted as this. They f*cking delivered! It was finally all done just before 2 AM.

Full set list
12.31.05 Beacon Theatre - New York, NY
Set 1:
Bad Man Walking
Lay Your Burden Down
About To Rage
Don't Stop On The Grass, Sam
I'll Be The One
Life Before Insanity
I'm A Ram
Loser >
Terrapin Station >
Train Kept A Rollin' w/ Danny on Guitar

Set 2(w/ Ron Holloway's Holographic Horns* and Jimmy Vivino on guitar):
Intro Theme (San Ho-Say) No Warren
Can't Turn You Loose Warren on Vocals Only, no guitar
Shake Warren on Vocals Only, no guitar
I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) Warren back on guitar
Down & Out In New York City
What Is Hip?
Thelonius Beck Interlude
I Shall Return
Thelonius Beck Interlude
The Letter
Thelonius Beck Interlude
I Believe To My Soul
New Year's Countdown
Night Time Is The Right Time
Bad Little Doggie
Papa's Got a Brand New Bag w/ Danny on Guitar

Set 3:
30 Days In The Hole > w/ Jimmy Vivino
I Don't Need NO Doctor w/ Jimmy Vivino
Beautifully Broken w/ Jimmy Vivino
Effigy > w/ Jimmy Vivino
Folsom Prison Blues > w/ Jimmy Vivino
That's What Love Will Make You Do w/ Jimmy Vivino and Ron Holloway's Holographic Horns
Blind Man In The Dark w/ Ron Holloway

Hurts Me Too w/ Hook Harrera and Alvin Youngblood Hart

Encore 2:
Soulshine w/ Ron Holloway's Holographic Horns and Jimmy Vivino on keys

*: Holloway Horns are:
Chris Battistone on trumpet
David Zalud on Trumpet
Chris Karlic on Baritone Sax
Ron Holloway on Tenor Sax

Links: More pictures and the music download.

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