Southern rock jam favorites Gov’t Mule performed Saturday night at the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans, along with an array of special guests.
The mark of a good jam band is good musicianship. No one can improvise unless they are already a master of the instrument they play. That is what makes Gov’t Mule one of the legendary jam bands. Backed by Matt Abts on drums, Danny Louis on keys and guitar, and bassist Jorgen Carlsson, Warren Haynes is so good he makes it look easy.
The band provided fans with a two-set, guest-filled evening that included Alvin Youngblood Hart, Scott Sharrad, Eric McFadden, Smokey Greenwell, The Levee Horns, and Robert Randolph.
Guitarist Warren Haynes started off the night by leading the rest of the band in “Bad Little Doggie.” After performing several fan favorites, including “Blind Man in the Dark,” “Burning Point,” and “Devil Likes It Slow,” The Levee Horns came out to accompany the band in a cover of The Band’s “The Shape I’m In.” The Horns stuck around for the rest of the first set adding to the Etta James (and for many New Orleanian Irma Thomas) classic “I’d Rather Go Blind” as well as a cover of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River.”
After a brief intermission, Mule came back for the second set, starting with “Stoop So Low” and a cover of Bob Marley’s “Lively Up Yourself.” The crowd was rewarded by the return of The Levee Horns for James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and Little Feat’s “Spanish Moon.” Guitarist Scott Sharrard, best known as the lead guitarist and musical director of the Gregg Allman Band, came out to help with The Allman Brothers’ classic “Come and Go Blues” and Elmore James’ “Done Somebody Wrong,” which also had harmonica help from Smoky Greenwell. Greenwell stayed on for the closer “32/20 Blues,” which also saw Robert Randolph playing lap steel.
The band came back for one encore, Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer,” where they were joined by six-string virtuoso Eric McFadden. By the end of the evening, everyone in the band and in the audience was equally spent and equally happy.
The vibe in the audience was mellow and easy through the entire show. No one seemed to be having a bad time. Warren Haynes and the rest of Mule provided serene happiness to the mood of the entire evening.GOV’T MULE
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