One of the most heartwarming rock & roll comebacks in the early 21st century was made by the Allman Brothers Band. The acrimonious sacking of vocalist/guitarist Dickey Betts in 2000 ultimately resulted in a creative rebirth. After a couple of years in flux the lineup finally settled and solidified with original vocalist/keyboardist Gregg Allman, drummers Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, and longtime percussionist Marc Quiñones joined by vocalist/guitarist Warren Haynes, guitarist Derek Trucks (Butch's nephew), and bass guitarist Oteil Burbridge. The resulting album, 2003's Hittin' the Note, was the band's strongest effort in decades. This fact made the annual run of spring shows at the Beacon Theatre in New York City even more exciting. The exceptional two-DVD set Live at the Beacon Theatre was filmed on March 25 and 26, 2003. Haynes' return after the death of bass guitarist Allen Woody, his partner in both Gov't Mule and the Allman Brothers Band, was particularly welcome. Live at the Beacon Theatre is just as exciting during Hittin' the Note songs like "Woman Across the River," "Rockin' Horse," "Desdemona," "High Cost of Low Living," and "Instrumental Illness" as it is during classics such as "Statesboro Blues," "Midnight Rider," "Melissa," "Dreams," "Whipping Post," and "One Way Out." "Soulshine" is one of the better recent songs. Older material presented here not flogged relentlessly by classic rock radio includes "Ain't Wastin' Time No More," "Black Hearted Woman," "Come & Go Blues," "Don't Keep Me Wondering," and "Leave My Blues at Home." The individual performances are incredible: Allman's voice is amazing and Haynes' and Derek Trucks' lead and slide guitar parts alternate effortlessly while the rhythm section of Jaimoe, Butch, Quiñones, and Burbridge supplies both the heartbeat and backbeat. The plentiful bonus features include Haynes and Derek Trucks performing "Old Friend" in the dressing room, revelatory in-depth interviews with all seven members, a photo gallery, a discography, a biography, and Hittin' the Note information.
AllMusic Review by Bret Adams