Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY 12/30/08
By Ross WarnerJanuary 12, 2009
After two "acoustic" shows which you already read about on Hidden Track, Gov't Mule played the first of their annual year-end shows at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom on December 30th. Of course, this was a new venue for Gov’t Mule with the Beacon Theatre being recently renovated, however Warren Haynes immediately made the room his own by opening with “Blind Man In The Dark.” Not only was this another searing rendition, it signaled a set of old school Mule, as it was one of four songs played from the 1998’s Dose
. After a greasy version of “Lola Leave Your Light On,” the band went on a run from the aforementioned album with “Gameface,” “Towering Fool” and “She Said, She Said.” The band really threw us a curveball when Warren invited Allmans drummer Marc Quinones and show opener Ivan Neville to the stage. Instead of what sounded like “Rocking Horse,” the Mule covered Little Feat's “Spanish Moon” which went to some nice places, followed by a tender version of “Into The Mystic” was followed by the The Allman Brothers’ “Kind Of Bird.”
The second set looked to be blazing with “I Think You Know What I Mean” into a version of “When The Levee Breaks” that would have made Jimmy Page proud. “Time To Confess” brought its strong reggae groove to the proceedings after which Warren announced that the band would then pay tribute to jazz trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard, who had died the day before. Jimmy Vivino (Max Weinberg 7) and Jeff Young joined Warren onstage and Red Clay followed. While it slowed down the momentum of the set, it was a hell of a display as “I'm A Ram” emerged from the drum solo and gave us another helping of reggae. Vivino and Young returned to the stage for a fiery encore of Robert Johnson's “32-20 Blues.” Once again, I couldn't help be envious of those going to the following show, as I got the sense that the band was understandably holding back a little for New Year's. However, what they gave us this night was still pretty damn good.