Review and photographs by Stanley Johnson
After attending eight of the previous nine years of Mountain Jam, I knew I could not miss this year: It would be the final area performance of the Allman Brothers Band. I have followed this band since I heard “Whipping Post” from the At the Fillmore East album played on WRPI upon its release in 1971. A few months later I learned of Duane Allman’s death on the same radio station when they played the same track.
The first chance I got to see and hear the ABB was a couple years later at SPAC in 1973. The thing I remember most about that show was seeing an empty whiskey bottle flying in the air from the lawn into the amphitheater because everyone in the amphitheater was standing on their chairs. This prompted Gregg Allman to come out to tell the rowdy crowd that if they wanted to hear the band play then they better settle down. Then they came out and played most of the Brothers and Sisters album.
I’ve lost track of how many times since I’ve seen the band or its members play, but I’ve seen at least one show from every tour, including most solo projects. I’m going to miss this band, but I think it’s wise they leave on a very high note. The music this particular version of the ABB has been making in the last few years has kept the high standards established by Duane, Gregg, Dickey, Berry, Butch and Jaimo in the early years.
And Mountain Jam has consistently brought some of the best music being played to this area since its start ten years ago. I’m not going to spend three days at a festival unless I hear real musicians who can actually sing and play at a level that makes my eyebrows raise, my jaw drop and my body boogie. Thank you for establishing this standard, Mountain Jam.