I went to my third Allman Brothers show on Sunday night. It was a blast! Mrs. Mellow's been a fan for years and I'm only recently beginning to really enjoy them. I've always liked their more well-known, popular songs. It's just that in the past several years, I've become more familiar with their body of work and impressed by their improvisational jam style when performing live. So, after church on Sunday, we jumped into CarrieAnne and headed off to Raleigh for the show.
We got to the show with enough time to wander around a little bit and get something to eat. We bought a few souvenirs (I got a hat pin) and our ticket to get an Instant Live CD after the show. More on that later.
We found our seats, which I had only purchased a few days earlier. They were in the pavilion, but not under the covered part. Since we didn't get our tickets early, all of the "great" seats were already sold out. I thought we might just get lawn seats to save some money since we'd be so far away anyhow, but it turned out that a local radio station was running a special and the seats in the uncovered part of the pavilion were actually cheaper than lawn seats! That turned out to be pretty cool, 'cause I enjoy having real seats more than having lawn seats anyway. It began to rain a little bit, so we put on some ponchos to keep us dry. It never rained hard, and the rain didn't make the show any less enjoyable.
For about two and a half hours, the Allman Brothers just rocked and jammed. It was the last show of their tour, and you could tell they were having a great time. They even had some special surprises -- guest performers included Susan Tedeschi and Branford Marsalis! Loads and loads of fun. I was a little disappointed that they didn't play "Layla" like they had at other recent shows, but oh well, maybe next time, right?
After the show, we went to pick up our Instant Live CD of the show. That's right, there was a company there selling CDs of the actual show that we just watched. I knew they were going to be doing it, because I had read about it on the web a few days before the show, and I was pretty excited about it. Briefly, here's how it works: Clear Channel owns a lot of venues and they're providing the manpower for this. If an artist wants to participate, Clear Channel does all the work (except for performing, duh) and they split the profits 50/50 with the band. They record the show from the soundboard and a handful of microphones. Then they burn, burn, burn some CDs. It took 3 CDs to capture the entire concert, including the encore. After the show, the interested fans could pick up a copy of the CDs to take home with them. It's a great souvenir of the show that you actually attended. They were fairly quick, too -- they were distributing the CDs about 15 or 20 minutes after the show was over. You can read more about the process, and other bands that are participating in it, over at the Instant Live website.
I'm really impressed with the whole concept of what Instant Live is doing. I know that there are a lot of people out there who are wary of Clear Channel getting one more of their tentacles into the business, but I think it's OK here. I will change my tune, however, if this turns into a way for bands that are normally "tape friendly" to back away from that and insist that the fans get the "official" recording of the show. For someone like me, who doesn't even have a CD burner, it can be difficult to get into the "tape trading" community. Having something like Instant Live available for me as an option is pretty cool.
After the show, we drove on back to Greensboro and listened to about half of the concert again. I was in bed, exhausted, by about one in the morning.