Beacon Theater, New York, NY 12/28/07
By Ross WarnerJanuary 07, 2008
Gov’t Mule began their annual New Year's run at the Beacon Theater on Friday December, 28th. Opening with “Brighter Days,” one of their High & Mighty
tunes that usually appears much later in the show, they immediately threw their fans an even bigger curveball with Robert Johnson's “32/20 Blues.” A soulful cover of Elton John's “Mercy On The Criminal” was followed by an instrumental version of “Lively Up Yourself” with Warren Haynes urging the crowd to sing the chorus at the end. Haynes appeared to be having a great time and even threw in a couple of boogie moves with his searing guitar licks.
The set ended with opening act Keller Williams joining Gov’t Mule for Van Morrison's “He Ain't Give You None” and Buffalo Springfield's protest anthem “For What It's Worth.” While these were fun sing-a-longs, it was during the break that I began to wonder whether the band was holding back a bit. After all, this was the first show and they were scheduled to play George Porter Jr.'s 60th birthday party after the Saturday performance.
A stirring rendition of “Child Of The Earth” gave way to "Old School Mule" in the form of “Painted Silver Light” and “She Said, She Said.” “Streamline Woman” continues to be the best Led Zeppelin song written by Gov't Mule and after the drum solo, the band performed Zeppelin's version of “How Many More Years” with Howlin' Wolf's original lyrics. In other words, they said "years" instead of "times."
Haynes inserted another Wolf classic, “Wang Dang Doodle," in the middle of the song for good measure. For the encore, Haynes paid homage to Muddy Waters, with a perfect rendition of “Long Distance Call” which actually kept the rowdy crowd engaged even though they seemed ready for something more upbeat. The audience was rewarded with a fiery version of “Thirty Days In The Hole” which left everyone primed for the rest of the run, expect for those like myself who needed to return to the responsibilities of real life.