of big shows, reunions, festivals, and the like coming up in 2012,
but the one to beat was actually in progress as 2001 faded into
2012. Gov't Mule were on stage at the Beacon Theatre for the second
night of their tenth annual New York New Year's Eve gig and they
delivered big time.
first set featured Mule material with Warren Haynes playing like
it was an encore at Bonaroo rather than the first few tunes of the
evening. They started with Railroad Boy" and ran through a
magnificent set that included "Mule; a stretched out "Thorazine
Shuffle;" about a half dozen other tunes, and closed with a
lively "St. Stephen > Eternity's Breath > Trane with
a tasty Beatles "Norwegian Wood" as a tease.
After a break they returned for the second set where they covered
Joe Cocker's classic "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" live
album. Mule was accompanied by the Chronic Horns; Jenny Hill on
saxophone, Pam Fleming on trumpet, and Buford O'Sullivan on trombone
and vocalists Alicia Shakur (from Warren's band), Machan Taylor
and Mint Carlsson. Together they recreated the sound of a band that
was only together for one historic tour. With the exception of "Delta
Lady,' and "Superstar,' both penned by Leon Russell and Bonnie
Bramlett, the tunes Mad Dogs covered were written by Lennon &
McCartney, Dave Mason, Jagger & Richards, Leonard Cohen, Ashford
& Simpson, Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding and Jerry Butler, Bob Dylan
and more. So Mule were doing covers of covers and it was brilliant.
They were into Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" as the clock approached
midnight. Then keyboardist Danny Louis led them into "Auld
Lang Syne," as red, white and blue balloons dropped from the
Beacon's rafters. Instantly Mule kicked into "Feelin' Alright"
and the entire audience was feeling just that as the new year began.
The entire second set consisted of: Intro, "Honky Tonk Women,"
"Sticks & Stones," "Cry Me a River," "Bird
on a Wire," "Feelin' Alright," "Superstar;"
then two tunes that spotlighted what a great soul singer Warren
Haynes is; his version of Ray Charles classic "Let's Go Get
Stoned," and then Sam & Dave, and Otis Redding got respect
they deserved when he sang in the Blues Medley: "I'll Drown
in My Own Tears/When Something Is Wrong with My Baby/I've Been Loving
You Too Long." The soul portion of the show was outstanding.
It was followed by a Keith Richards moment as drummer Mat Abts came
out from behind his kit and sang a duet with Warren on Dylan's,
"Girl From The North Country."
The full band, chorus, and horns were back to wind things up with
"Give Peace a Chance," "She Came In Through The Bathroom
Window," "Space Captain," "The Letter,"
and "Delta Lady."
this one of a kind album was a brilliant idea and well executed.
The keyboard work by Danny Louis was nothing short of magnificent.
Keyboards were played by two guys in the original Mad Dogs, Leon
Russell and Chris Stainton, but Louis hit it out of the park.
There no doubt will be live CD's of the evening available through
the Mule organization, but nothing will capture the excitement of
having been there. They probably won't do it again, but you never
know. The point is anytime you go to see Gov't Mule you are in for
a treat and surprises so don't miss their next one.
was also a reminder that the original "Mad Dogs & Englishmen
"CD is available. There's also a DVD documentary of the entire
tour which shares the same name. Most of the album was recorded
at New York's Fillmore East in the spring of 1970. Joe Cocker is
the front man and the bandleader is Leon Russell. The band consists
of 21 singers and players who would go on to become Derek &
the Dominoes' rhythm-section and the Rolling Stones' horn section.
Other members included, Jim Gordon, Rita Coolidge, Bobby Keyes,
Jim Keltner, and Claudia Lennear. And there are tunes that Mule
didn't include in their set on the CD such as "Darling Be Home
Soon," "Further on up the Road," "Something,"
Meanwhile back at the Beacon, Mule returned for a short third set
featuring "Sco-Mule," a gospel take on "Soulshine,"
and closed out the entire extravaganza with Bob Dylan's "I
Shall Be Released."
So the last night of the old year ended and the very first few hours
of the New Year began with a concert that enters my top ten of all
time. The show, Warren Haynes, and Gov't Mule were that good. They
are that good
see them live any time you can.