Gov’t Mule rolled through The Met in Philadelphia on Friday night. Warren Haynes and company welcomed a bevy of guests including Devon Allman, Duane Betts (The Allman Betts Band opened the show), Ron Holloway, John Ginty, Johnny Stachela, Berry Oakley Jr. and The Better Half Singers featuring Machan Taylor and Mini Carlsson to kick off their New Year’s run.
Mule got the first set going with “Traveling Tune” from their 2017 album Revolution Come…Revolution Go before heading into the classic “Thorazine Shuffle.” The band continued with “Pressure Under Fire” and “Banks Of The Deep End.” After “Rocking Horse,” Mule delivered a cover of Bob Marley’s “Lively Up Yourself” ahead of “Captured.” Saxophonist Ron Halloway then joined the band on “Devil Likes It Slow” followed by Robert Johnson’s “32/20 Blues” which stretched to over 12 minutes. Keyboardist Danny Louis and Halloway got the riffing started and bassist Jorgen Carlsson thumped out an extended solo before Haynes busted out the slide and tore things up to cap off the first frame.
The Son House song “Grinnin’ In Your Face” got the second set underway. “Wandering Child” followed ahead of “Broke Down On The Brazos” off of the 2009 album By A Thread which led into “Tributary Jam.” Mule then welcomed Michan Taylor and Mini Carlsson of The Better Half Singers on “Million Miles From Yesterday.” Halloway reemerged along with keyboardist John Ginty to join The Better Half Singers and Mule on The Box Tops song made popular by Joe Cocker, “The Letter.” Ginty joined Louis — who manned the Fender Rhodes — in keyboard world and delivered some scorching B3 on the staple cover.
Speaking of staple covers, after “Funny Little Tragedy” (which contained “Message In A Bottle” and “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” lyrics), Mule offered up a rendition of “Statesboro Blues.” For the Blind Willie McTell song made popular by The Allman Brothers, the band welcomed guitarist Johnny Stachela and bassist Berry Oakley Jr. from Allman Betts Band, giving Mule bassist Jorgen Carlsson a breather. Both Haynes and Stachela showed off their slide skills over drummer Matt Abts‘ steady backbeat followed Louis presiding over a barrel-house piano vamp which gave the rendition a slower, even more blusier feel with Warren and Johnny taking it home. Halloway would come back out for the closing segment, a “Blind Man In The Dark” sandwich containing “Trane.”
Gov’t Mule retook the stage with Duane Betts in tow for the classic closer, “Whipping Post,” which got going with a spooky jam and stretched to over 15 minutes. Check out video from the show captured by Sean Roche at Jambase.com.
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