Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Good Times Magazine, January 22, 2008 - "Gov't Mule"

By Erik Badia

If you don't know anything else about Gov't Mule, know this - the Mule doesn't disappoint on New Year's Eve! For the sixth consecutive year, Gov't Mule did its three-night run at The Beacon Theatre, a tradition that is rife with excitement, surprise,and amazing guitar work.

Warren Haynes' (of Allman Brothers Band fame) Gov't Mule is currently on their "Mighty High" tour, a fall circuit throughout North America. Now a Gov't Mule tradition, the Mule puts on a very special three-night run of shows leading up to New Year's Eve at the Beacon, with the final show on New Year's Eve being an "all-'Mule" three set night featuring a different theme each year. Previous years have seen "Mule-a-go-go," and "The Dub Side of the Mule," a reggae-inspired performance.

The 2007 show was no different, with Haynes and company putting on the "Winter of Love," featuring a trip back to 1967. The guitar legend Haynes, aiongwith Matt Abts on drums, Andy Hess on bass, and Danny Louis on keyboards, rocked the sold-out crowd at the Beacon, making for a very fun and energetic night. The first set got the crowd warmed up with a mix of some newer material, like a powerful rendition of "Mr. High & Mighty," and some older favorites such as "Lay Your Burden Down," complete with a rhythmic extended solo.

After a brief intermission and an alteration of the stage, a projection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. appeared before the audience. A clip of the famed "Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam" speech given at Riverside in April 1967 emanated from the stage, and an eerie silence came over the crowd as everyone stopped and listened to the great leader in remembrance. That silence was soon broken by a mock radio disc jockey, announcing that the audience had been transported back to the winter of 1967.

What would follow was an amazing recreation of the period's greatest music, starting with The Rolling Stones' psychedelic "2,000 Light Years Frorn Home" from their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesty's Request, moving on to Cream's famous "Sunshine Of Your Love" and subsequently on to The Beatles' infamous "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds." Other spectacular covers played by Haynes and his band included The Grateful Dead's "Morning Dew," straight from Haight-Ashbury, and on to some great soul classics, such as James Brown's "Cold Sweat," which featured help from special guest Steve Elson on sax, and Vanilla Fudge's classic remake of The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hanging On."

Of course, the night wouldn't be complete without some Jim Morrison, with performances of The Doors' "When The Music's Over" and "Light My Fire," and finally, a moving finale of The Beatles' industry-changing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" reprise and, quite fittingly, "All You Need Is Love." The 'Mule rounded out the night with a third set of mixed original Mule favorites and cover variants, including "Mule," "Blind Man In The Dark," and a dramatic encore featuring Dave Mason's "Sad And Deep As You."

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