Bill Evans and Soulgrass opened the show. I’d never seen a rock band with a tenor sax as the lead instrument before, but I was blown away. And they set the stage for what was to come…
Opening with “I’m A Ram,” Gov’t Mule proceeded to rock the house for over three-and-a-half hours, mixing covers and originals, flowing along from one long rocker to another. Bill Evans joined in on “The Other One Jam” and “Opium” in the first set. Warren Haynes started the second set with a comment to the audience about “making some noise,” and then dove into a roaring “Forevermore.” They followed with a beautifully soulful “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” joined by Mini Carlsson and Machan Taylor of The Better-Half Singers. Evans returned for “Dreams” and a version of “Blind Man In The Dark” that included lyrics from Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” to end the show.
For an encore, drummer Matt Abts walked out and sat behind his kit as Haynes joined him on stage with an acoustic guitar for a beautiful cover of George Harrison’s “Give Me Love.” Finally, the rest of the band came out, as well as Evans, Carlsson and Taylor for a show ending, incredible “Million Miles from Yesterday.”
And I can’t forget to mention the drum solo: Halfway through set two, the rest of the band walked off stage, leaving Abts to deliver the most incredible drum solo I have ever seen or heard.
Without a doubt, this was the best show of the year… Ok ok, so it was only early January, but I have a feeling it will hold up as the best all year long.
– Mark Smith
Photos by Mark Smith