Gov’t Mule parked itself at the Beacon Theater on Broadway in NYC for the first of two nights to again celebrate New Year’s Eve, continuing a tradition now known in some circles as “Mule Year”. It was a fine display of Rock/Jazz/Jam Band pyrotechnics, fueled by Warren Haynes and his huge assortment of mostly Gibson Les Paul guitars.
The Mule opened their first set with “Railroad Boy”, immediately followed by a cover of Humble Pie’s “Thirty Days In The Hole”, thoroughly enjoyed by the packed Beacon crowd as many of them sang along. With Matt Abts, Jorgen Carlsson, and Danny Louis, Warren kept it tight and flowing, providing tasteful lead guitar with that great tone of his, supported as usual by his heartfelt vocal performances. Guest sax player Bill Evans came on for a very jazzy version of “Birth of the Mule”. A lively version of Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” ended the first set on a high note, adding (frequent guest of the Mule) Hook Herrera, doing a fine job contributing his bluesy harp talents.
After an intermission, set two opened with “Mr. Man”. The set delved into what Warren called “acid jazz”, playing material with a sound very New Orleans in nature, with added guests Jimmy Vivino, and once again Bill Evans. It then evolved into a moving version of “John The Revelator”. At this point surprise guest (Grateful Dead drummer) Bill Kreutzman came out and replaced Matt Abts on drums for “Good Morning Little School Girl” with vocals from Hook, and the John Fogerty cover “Long As I Can See the Light”.
The evening ended with a twenty minute “Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” adding Andy Aledort on guitar. Union rules did not seem to apply here, as the happy crowd dispersed into the streets well past midnight, many of them to come back for more the following night.