SHOW REVIEW: Gov’t Mule Kicks Off NYE Run at Beacon Theatre [Pics, Setlist, Review]
The Beacon Theatre is old. Gov’t Mule fans are old. Pretty much everything on the upper west side of New York City is old stuff for old, rich people. As a 24 year-old, a ticket to the Mule show is essentially my ride into a generation I wish I was apart of.
“My wife’s not here; she’s at home with the dog,” I heard one guy said to a woman. This is typical for a Mule show, where the majority of the crowd is past their glory days of seeing the Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead, or even Gov’t Mule themselves. For their New Years Eve shows, it’s tradition for the Mule to thoroughly cover another band. This year, they’re recreating the Watkins Glen Summer Jam by covering The Band, The Grateful Dead, and The Allman Brothers Band.
Despite the nostalgic vibe that Mule and their fans carry, the band is still pretty goddamn great. They played a couple of fiery shows at the Capitol Theater earlier this year, which we caught. Warren Haynes is still known as one of the harder working guitarists in music, releasing a solo album this year and touring alongside Railroad Earth and the new Ashes & Dust Band. Luckily, through all the years of playing with various projects, Haynes hasn’t lost the chemistry created with his baby Gov’t Mule.
Last night, the band raged through a first set of mostly original material. It’s a treat to hear Haynes stick to his own material of swampy southern blues-rock instead of relying heavily on covers. The opener “Blind Man in the Dark” brought the band out with a bang before moving onto “Mr. Man” and “Any Open Window.” “Far Away” brought the first instance of thoroughly impressive improv, where Haynes laid into the slow and psychedelic groove provided by Matt Abts, Danny Louis, and Jorgen Carlsson to create some of the more interesting music of the evening. The set ended with “Painted Silver Light” off the Mule’s debut LP and then “Soulshine,” Haynes’ standout track from the ABB days.
Second set saw the band get away from their Mule material a little bit, inviting the guests for their Summer Jam show out to jam on some covers. Jack Pearson,, Chuck Leavell, Jimmy Vivino and Steve Kimock were on stage to help Gov’t Mule out with Garcia’s “Sugaree,” Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released,” and the Brothers’ “Dreams.” The joyful sound coming from the stage filled up each nook and cranny of the ornate Beacon Theater. For an encore, Mule channeled their inner Stevie Wonder with “Superstition.”
Gov’t Mule will resume their NYE run tonight at the Beacon Theater before heading to Philadelphia for another show on January 2nd.
Set 1: Blind Man in the Dark, Mr. Man Any Open Window Far Away Rocking Horse > Thelonius Beck Beautifully Broken > Dolphineus > Painted Silver Light (with ‘Here Comes Sunshine’ tease) > Soulshine (The Allman Brothers Band cover) (with ‘Voodoo Child’ tease)
Set 2: Unring the Bell (with ‘Les Brers in A Minor’ tease) Endless Parade Bad Little Doggie I’ll Be the One (Warren Haynes song) Sugaree (Jerry Garcia cover) (with Jack Pearson) (also withChuck Leavell, Jimmy Vivino & Steve Kimock ) I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan cover) (with Steve Kimock) (also withChuck Leavell, Jack Pearson & Will Lee; without Jorgen Carlsson ) Dreams (The Allman Brothers Band cover) (with Will Lee) (also withalso with Chuck Leavell, Jack Pearson & Steve Kimock; without Jorgen Carlsson )
Encore: Superstition (Stevie Wonder cover) (with Carmine Appice) (also with Jimmy Vivino; without Matt Abts)