As lead singer and keyboardist for the Allman Brothers, Gregg Allman was always overshadowed by the guitar-playing that was the group's trademark. Before a packed house at the Bayou last night, Allman showed exactly how important his soulful keyboard stylings and world-weary singing were to that band. Despite featuring lots of dual guitar and percussion work in the Allmans' style, his show was based very much on his own identifiably downbeat, but lyrical, sensibility.
He kicked off his show with an expertly arranged version of "Dreams" that showcased the precise timing and phrasing that makes his gravelly drawl so effective. "Old Time Feeling" had the crowd clapping along as the band rocked the song gospel-style. In fact, Allman rocked the crowd all night with the confidence of a bluesman who knows that you can rock 'em slow as well as fast.
Opening was a Florida quintet, One-Eyed Jack, with all the designed-for-radio cliche's used by the likes of Styx and REO Speedwagon. With a hard-rock rhythm section and soft center of melodic courses, soaring guitar passages and hysterically impassioned singing, the band created dramatic musical moments worthy of a Harlequin novel.