The Warren Haynes Band is out on tour with their first album as a newly formed band including Warren Haynes, guitar, Ron Holloway, sax, Ruthie Foster, vocals, Ron Johnson, bass, Nigel Hall, piano/keys, and Terence Higgins, drums. (Set List Below.)
The new album, “Man in Motion” has seemingly found a buzz surrounding the cd, and if you judged the response from opening night in NYC, the crowd is equally excited as it was energized. I haven’t listened to the album yet, I have a penchant for live recordings, but have downloaded it from iTunes and plan to try to decipher the differences between what I heard at Christmas Jam, Wanee Festival and now at The Beacon.
First set at the Beacon, you could feel the energy amped for the Opening night of the Tour. A heavy Gov’t Mule-head crowd represented. I was seated next to the soundboard, and had a perfect shot of Warren and his guitar through the crowd. Unfortunately my neighbor had a few too many drinks a few songs too early, and wanted to be a chatty Cathy with me, while Warren and the band were busy playing. Sorry guy, didn’t mean to be rude but when I go to a show, I go to listen to the music, not chat with strangers. Sorry.
I was lucky though, one of my gals stopped by and grabbed me to go downstairs to the ladies room. Thankfully she ended what could have been my torture for the first set, trying to listen and watch the band while some grabby guy wanted to chat and bump into me. Thank you sister, you saved me from many bruises…
So – the scene is set, with the exception of the not such the coolest security guards ever, I can finally dance and listen. They sound great. The songs range from rock and roll to bluesy soul, to funky horns explosion.
Warren wails on his guitar. Warren sings. Warren banters back and forth with the amazing vocalist, Ruthie Foster. Foster has this sexy, strong voice which she uses as backup vocals for Haynes, and then her power comes out when she banters with Warren’s guitar licks with her voice. It’s incredible to watch.
Ron Holloway on saxophone. Holloway is the man. Click here for more and YouTube Videos. To quote Wikipedia: “He is listed in the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz where veteran jazz critic Ira Gitler describes Holloway as a “bear-down-hard-bopper who can blow authentic R&B and croon a ballad with warm, blue feeling.” In other words, he’s amazing, he playing opposite Haynes is pure genius. Perfect pitch, perfect attitude, perfect sound. Wow.
Ron Johnson on bass is funky, steady, right on setting the tone, playing off of Terence Higgins, drums. Johnson was another stand out of the evening, I look forward to seeing how this whole new band matures.
Nigel Hall on keys crushed it. At once a delicate tapping on the keys, bursts into explosions of sound intertwining with the Holloway’s sax, Johnson’s fast funky groove, Haynes’ insane fast riffs, Foster’s song swirling the stage and the audience along with her.
Special guests arrive at The Beacon, starting with William Bell, singing Born Under a Bad Sign with Haynes. What?! I mean, the guy was the original songwriter, and Bell sang it perfectly. It sounded so great, everyone on stage had huge grins, people were dancing and singing along. Electric. Amazing. He sang three songs, ending with Everyday Feels Like A Holiday. I felt like it was a holiday, I was shining.
I personally liked Warren’s acoustic songs. I liked the whole damn show.
More special guests arrive when Danny Louis, keyboards from Gov’t Mule, joins with Hall on keys while Warren busts out Prince’s When Doves Cry for a second before we get Mule’s Beautifully Broken. Crushingly great Beautifully Broken. I was beaming. Just a small taste of the ‘ole Mule.
Hattiesburg Hustle is a great rock and roll tune, and Sneakin’ Sally – who doesn’t love Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley? Another highlight was Haynes and Foster singing a capella during Grinning In Your Face.
Then, Nigel Hall on keyboard, teased us with his song before he brought in a crowd fave, Soulshine, beautifully, perfectly sang by Haynes and Foster together. The Beacon had no sunshine, no moonshine, no rain… just Soulshine breaking through.
The last special guest of the evening was Brad Whitford, guitarist for Aerosmith, and Danny Louis came back on for another encore, breaking The Beacon’s curfew for a smoking hot Feel Like Breaking Up Someone’s Home. Whitford bantering guitar style with Haynes, Louis and Hall amping up the air with keyboards and synthesizers, Holloway filling the space with his sax, sounding like 4 other brass instruments up there. Johnson on that bass, went so funky, kept the funky beat more than groovy. Damn kept it just as funky as Holloway was blasting, with double keys swirling, double electric plucking guitars squealing. Phew, it was after curfew and the party was raging.
Next time I see these guys will be at Mountain Jam. And Gov’t Mule will be there. I sense a party. Yes, yes I do.
See these guys. You’ll dance hard, and you’ll come out with a smile on your face. Promise.