LIVE REVIEW: Gregg Allman In Iowa City, Iowa (3/28/2015)

gregg allman iowa city show review 2015

Historic American rock ‘n’ roll figure Gregg Allman and his band graced the stage of the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort in Riverside, Iowa, performing a set of admirable numbers that reflect a vibrant career from the seasoned musician.

The lights dimmed and the legend, best known for his tenured work with The Allman Brothers Band, took the stage behind his piano (he would switch between this, acoustic and electric guitar for the show) and began ripping through an array of songs, mostly coming from the back catalog of Allman Brothers material.

Songs like “Melissa” and “Don’t Want You No More,” absolutely lit the room on fire that evening. Although The Allman Brothers Band stopped playing live last year, Gregg is still showing he can come out and deliver a show on par with the best of his time. The classic songs fueled the crowd for his roughly 100-minute set that evening — leaving no doubt of the impression Gregg and his music has made on multiple generations of music lovers.

The show, which was the last date of this leg of Gregg’s current tour, wasn’t a spectacle the way some seasoned musicians turn toward flashy arena shows — it was intimate. The room wasn’t small the way a hole-in-the-wall bar show would be small but it wasn’t big like an arena or large theatre either. You felt the energy come off the stage and roll into the crowd. You felt like you were part of the music. It was close enough to feel and embrace — which happened many times throughout the set.

From beginning to finish, the set could be defined with one word: strong. The highlight of the night came with the back-to-back delivery of “Midnight Rider” and “Whipping Post.” If anyone in the crowd was sitting, they found their feet when these two numbers rang in. Just the sheer nostalgic gleam of these tracks are enough to turn a would-be, faux fan into a true, undeniable lover of American rock ‘n’ roll.

Although his rendition lacked the bite captured on The Allman Brothers Band’s 1969 self-titled debut, seeing a song like “Whipping Post” live has a lasting effect on anyone who is experiencing it for the first time. His band’s use of horns and percussion throughout the show (Gregg had a trio of horns and an auxiliary percussionist on stage with him for the duration of the show alongside a traditional guitarist, bassist, drummer, and pianist) made for some interesting twists on old Allman classics, such as “Whipping Post.” It added depth and an edge to the song. While taking away from the rock-driven bite, it was still a collection of fun renditions of old favorites.

Overall, watching a rock ‘n’ roll legend play through some of his best material isn’t the worst way to spend an evening. The mixture of Allman Brothers, solo, and cover material (which you’ll have to go to a show and find out for yourself), made things simply entertaining. It wasn’t the elaborate, mystical outing like you’d see at an arena show, but it was an all-together memorable event.

*feature photo courtesy of Radio.com

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