The Last Performance Of The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers Band live at Fillmore East - Allman Brothers on MV / Youtube
Nearly ten years ago, Southern rock giants The Allman Brothers Band concluded their musical journey at NYC’s The Beacon Theatre in 2014.
Commemorating 45 years of music, the trio of original members—singer/organist Gregg Allman, and drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe—wrapped up their tenure alongside Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Oteil Burbridge, and Marc Quiñones. This lineup had persevered as the band’s longest-standing configuration since the untimely deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley.
On the night of October 28th, the band treated the audience to three sets, two encores, and a poignant four-hour musical performance, concluding around 1:30 a.m. on October 29th—coincidentally, the death anniversary of the band’s founder Duane Allman.
The concert marked the 238th consecutive sold-out show for the band at the Beacon Theatre. As they concluded their rendition of “Whipping Post”, the seven members gathered at the front of the stage, reflecting on the day it all began in Jacksonville, FL, bringing the memorable night to a close.
Only two of the original members were left
Due to a bout of bronchitis, Gregg Allman’s last run of shows at the Beacon Theatre in New York was briefly interrupted. An era came to an end on October 28, 2014, as the last of the sellout shows took place. Sadly, this health setback was a sign of worse things to come.
As the years passed following the conclusion of the three-set performance, the founding members Dickey Betts and Jaimoe were the only ones left on the road.
Originally, Jaimoe’s side project, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, was formed during Allman Brothers Band schedule lulls. Betts had left the starting lineup in 2000 following a confrontation with Gregg Allman.
The dual guitars of Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, the nephew of co-founding drummer Butch Trucks, were the focal point of the band’s metamorphosis. A persistent hope of a reunion persisted despite this evolution, but sadly it never came to pass.
A bittersweet occasion
The details of reintegrating Betts into the Beacon gigs were still being worked out, as Derek Trucks disclosed, and talks continued “right up to rehearsal, even during the show week.”
He admitted that Betts should have been present at the occasion but expressed a notion that if no one took advantage of the opportunity, it wasn’t meant to be. In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, he added, “It’s too much history to wrap up in showing up and playing a set.”
Butch Trucks suggested that the Allman Brothers Band play “Trouble No More”, a song by Muddy Waters, to cap off the last concert. The group opened the last song with a lengthy medley that traced their beginnings to the late Duane Allman.
A few weeks later, Haynes reflected on the occasion and expressed conflicted feelings, calling it “a little bittersweet”. He also highlighted the profound emotional impact and the important role the band played in his life, both before and during his stay.
The sad events that followed
After the Allman Brothers Band broke up, Butch Trucks first turned his attention to his Freight Train Band. In addition, he oversaw the Les Brers project, which included some former members of the group, and coordinated a number of Allmans-related super-jams. He tragically committed suicide in January 2017.
Not too many months afterward, the heartbroken Gregg Allman also passed away. He had battled cancer and recovered from surgeries, a fractured wrist, atrial fibrillation, a serious episode of pneumonia, bulging discs, and a liver transplant in 2010.
Allman had a recurrence of liver cancer in 2012 while recording a solo album while the Allman Brothers Band was still touring and selling out shows at the Beacon Theatre. 2017 saw the posthumous release of this album, Southern Blood.
September of the same year saw the death of Johnny Sandlin from cancer, an early Allman Brothers Band collaborator who went on to produce the band’s multiplatinum Brothers and Sisters album. Dickey Betts abruptly left the music industry a few months later, only to reappear in the spring.
“I don’t count my band completely out”
By August 2018, Betts was once more off the tour after what was initially believed to be a minor stroke. He had a successful brain surgery after a slip and tumble at home one month later.
Although Betts recorded a live album, Ramblin’ Man Live at the St. George Theatre, in 2019, he hasn’t performed live since.
The guitarist, who was instrumental in leading the Allman Brothers Band through the period following Duane’s passing, persevered in the face of health issues. He showed confidence in a March 2019 interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, saying, “I don’t count my band completely out.”
Few studio recordings from the band’s subsequent incarnation exist; their last album as a whole is Hittin’ the Note from 2003. At that time, Gregg Allman worked on his first solo endeavor since 1997, and his 2011 album Low Country Blues peaked at No. 5.
“That night everybody got out of the way”
“There was a spirit and reverence they brought to it. I hoped it would be that way, but I didn’t know how it would turn out. People have a tendency—you let your ego get in the way of the big moments. That night everybody got out of the way,” Derek Trucks vividly recalled that legendary final performance in a Rolling Stone interview in 2015.
The guitarist—who was also a renowned handler of the instrument having shown up in Rolling Stone’s list of 100 best guitarists—remembered seeing his uncle Butch in between sets contemplating and getting worked up.
Derek went on: “I could see my uncle between sets—you could see the wheels turning. It was all in the right spirit. That night was one of the few times you get off stage and feel, ‘That’s how it was supposed to be.’”
The Beacon Theatre performance witnessed the reunion of the Allman Brothers Band’s three original members—Gregg, Jaimoe, and Butch—coming together just before the last song of the encore. Expressing his sentiments, Gregg Allman admitted, “Never did I have any idea it would come to this. We give you a heartfelt thank you.”
The setlist of Allman Brothers’ last performance at the Beacon
Set One: “Little Martha, Mountain Jam” > “Don’t Want You No More” > “It’s Not My Cross To Bear” > “One Way Out” / “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” / “Midnight Rider” / “The High Cost of Low Living” / “Hot ‘Lanta” / “Blue Sky” / “You Don’t Need Me”
Set Two: “Statesboro Blues” / “Ain’t Wastin Time No More” / “Black Hearted Woman” / “The Sky Is Crying / “Dreams” / “Don’t Keep Me Wondering” / “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed”
Set Three: “Melissa” / “Revival” / “Southbound” / “Mountain Jam” > “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” > “Mountain Jam” (Reprise)
Encore: “Whipping Post”, “Trouble No More”