Saturday, August 15, 2015

Gregg Allman and the Restorative Powers of Music

One of my most cherished bootlegs is a dub of the board tape from the Scorpion from the opening (and closing) night of the Nighthawks and special guest Gregg Allman tour.  I was waiting in line outside the Bayou in D.C. the next night, a line  that stretched all the way down the block and will never forget the bouncer coming out and telling everyone to go home as Gregg was a no show or as I like to say "he was doing a mean impression of No Show Jones".  

Gregg has more than made up for that disappointment over the years including most memorably the night after John Lennon was murdered.  It was December 9, 1980 and the Allman Brothers were playing the Met Center in Bloomington Minnesota and just like everybody in the audience that night, you could tell the band was hurting and confused.  But instead of wallowing in the hurt and pain of it all, that night the Allmans provided "musical healing" to paraphrase Marvin and got us through the day we truly thought the music had died.  (That same night in downtown Mpls Curtiss A and his band turned the night into a tribute to Lennon and has played a Lennon tribute show at First Ave every Dec. 9th since, again proving the healing powers of music.) 

And just to prove there was no hard feelings,  in 1986, some 8 years after walking off his tour with the Nighthawks, Gregg was a special guest at what was then thought to be the Nighthawks farewell show at the Carter Baron Amphitheater in D.C.  As it turned out, reports of the bands demise following the departure of Jimmy Thackery from the Hawks  had been greatly exaggerated.  The Hawks resurrected like a Phoenix and have been burning it up ever since.

Perhaps Gregg's greatest legacy is his resilience.  I cannot think of another musician who has suffered as much tragedy, personal setbacks and most recently health battles that would have sapped the  life out of most people, but he keeps coming back, coming back for more.  I gotta believe Gregg perseveres due in large part to the restorative powers of his music.  And for that I thank him.

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