Written by Eric Sperrazza
My childhood had a soundtrack of some of the greatest and most diverse music by the people in my tribe raising me. I have vivid memories of my father’s love of southern rock and how Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Allman Brothers Band would permeate through the car, as he would shuffle me back and forth to extracurricular activities.
Over the years, I grew an affinity for the sounds that would put wind into my Dad’s proverbial sails and I always keep an eye out, to this day, for moments I can share with him to celebrate the love of that genre he instilled in me. Luckily, for me, I didn’t have to search too hard for the next opportunity to make a memory with him!
On Thursday, December 9th, the Allman Family Revival will be front and center, at The Met in Philadelphia, for their annual multi-hour celebration and tribute to the legendary Allman Brothers Band.
A sheer spectacle of musicianship, I experienced no small amount of pleasure in speaking to Devon Allman, son of Gregg Allman and co-founder of the Allman Betts Band, about how the show got started.
“In 2017, I lost my Dad,” Devon said. “After six months of grieving, I realized I was denying myself of the power of healing through music and invited a bunch of friends to a comeback show. My agent came back and said San Francisco wanted the show at the Fillmore. I thought it was so cool because my Dad lived in San Francisco throughout the 90s and it became a second home to us. They only had one date to offer, though, December 8th,” he explained. “Which also would have happened to have been my Dad’s 70th birthday. I thought ‘Holy Shit! That’s serendipitous!’ So, we decided to make it a birthday present for my Dad and made it a tribute to him. It started off so innocently and then it evolved to where New York, Denver, and then more wanted the show. Now? We are in our 5th year and we have 31 offers which we whittled down to 18 shows.”
And evolved, it did. Today, everyone from Kenny Wayne Shepherd, G. Love to Lilly Hiatt, and Robert Randolph perform during the Allman Family Revival show. The structure of the actual show was described by Devon best when he said, “It’s amazing that all these musicians put three weeks aside, every year, to be a part of this. So, I modeled this event after The Band’s famous 1976 concert, ‘The Last Waltz.’ The Allman Betts Band will be the house band, and we will play a few songs and then begin introducing guests. The guests perform their take on an Allman Brothers song and then a song they are famous for. So, they can promote their music and then take on one of my Dad’s songs.”
It is truly an epic night honoring one of the greatest American songwriters and musicians in American history, but what of younger music lovers that might be unfamiliar with the Allman Brothers Band.
Devon had a message for them. When asked to give his elevator pitch to the new school of music fans, he was quoted as saying, “It’s a continuation of the wild wild west! We are doing it the way they did it in the ’60s and ’70s. Anyone who is out of their pop phase and looking for good organic music, this is the real stuff. I mean, good God! It’s a clinic in the electric guitar up there on that stage. If you are a fan of the electric guitar and you missed this you seriously missed the show of the year!”
Here’s the rub; If you miss the show this year, there is no guarantee that Philadelphia may always be on the annual tour stops. As Devon impressed upon me, there are so many markets that want this show and only so many days to perform so they may mix up where they go, from year to year. With great urgency, it would behoove anyone on the fence to get a ticket to the show and be a part of the Allman Family Revival.
As for me? I will be there, celebrating my father’s 70th birthday and celebrating Gregg Allman along with everyone else. As I sing Midnight Rider in the audience along with a cavalcade of stars on stage, I will simultaneously be honoring my dad and the lessons he imparted to me on what fun southern rock can be…even for a Yankee like myself.
Doors open at 7 pm at The Fillmore and the show kicks off at 8 pm. Tickets are still available here.
Hope to see you there!
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