November 5, 2011
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Karlyn Suggs
Photos by Bill Ellison
Amidst the collage of assorted tie dyes that swarmed the Granada Nov. 5, there was a carnival-like atmosphere akin to the midway at the State Fair. Or better yet, the parking lot at a Grateful Dead show.
Half expecting to hear the call of "Grilled Cheese for a buck!" above the din of laughter and chatter, it was apparent that this crowd came not just for the music, but for lively atmosphere that is prevalent at festivals where Warren Haynes is certainly no stranger.
Opening with a little James Brown inspired intro that went into the funky, eclectic Gov't Mule song "Tear Me Down," the kinetic energy could have heated this venue just on the promise of what was to come. For the evening, Warren would choose only a pair of hollow-bodied Gibson's to set the ethereal tone for his signature jam that has been a trade mark of his career.
Touring behind a recently released album, Man in Motion, the first set combined the new songs with a mix of early tunes from 1993's Tales of Ordinary Madness.
"The River's Gonna Rise," the first of five songs played from the new album, is a poignant lyric directed at our collective past as a country, yet speaks out against the oppression that is still taking place in Africa. It expresses a desire for change and freedom from the wreckage that is still chained to the South. Add the powerhouse vocals of Alecia Chakour to the mix, and this one is sure to stay in the repertoire for years to come.
The second set kicked off with a splendid cover of Little Feat's "Sailin' Shoes," followed by "Sneakin' Sally through the Alley," an Allen Toussaint song that was made popular by Robert Palmer The real surprise came late into the set when the band broke into "Pretzel Logic" a song that Steely Dan has difficulty playing outside the studio, but was hardly a challenge for this group of talented musicians who fuse jazz, soul and the blues with a rocking back beat.
Outside of Haynes fuel driven Gibson's, the rest of the band consists of Ron Johnson and bass and Terence Higgins pounding the skins. Nigel Hall's fingers do some fanciful work on the piano / keys while Ron Holloway's sax work is exceptional. Speaking of Holloway, with the passing Bruce Springsteen's Big Man, Clarence Clemmons, this musician seems heir apparent to the vacant throne. He stole the second set with his sultry serenade of the audience while the rest of the band quietly left the stage during the "Spanish Moon" encore. They returned in New Orleans parade style, one by one, to close the night with an emotionally charged "Soulshine" a song penned by Haynes during his stint with the Allman Brothers.
I'll sum the Warren Haynes Band up with this simple analogy. If you want your music presented to you in a neat and tidy 3 to 5 minute package, this band is not for you. However, if you believe music should be about the possibilities and not the probability, then by all means, come and join the celebration. A change of pace never hurts anyone every now and then.
Tear Me Down
River's Gonna Rise
Man In Motion
I'll Take You There
I'll Be the One
On a Real Lonely Night
Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley
Fire in the Kitchen
Fiyo in the Bayou
Sick of My Shadow