When Dickey Betts and Great Southern took the Turning Stone Casino Showroom stage Wednesday night, the sold out crowd roared. When he played his first solo seconds into the show, the crowd roared. For two solid hours the crowd roared.
Dickey Betts is a living legend who has a reputation for being a little mean, a whole lot of tough, and in a love-hate relationship with the bottle. The gloom of the Allman Brothers breakup lingers around his name. Last year when the Allman Brothers received the Grammy for Lifetime Achievement, Dickey Betts didn’t show. He said he wanted to be there but couldn’t. But after departing ways with the Allman Brothers in 2000 under an unsavory situation, it is often Dickey’s name that got tossed around as the problem. While Greg Allman and ABB continued the way of being a jam band; Dickey went back to his roots and approached his music from a Southern Rock perspective.
The majority of Dickey Betts and Great Southern’s show is without vocals. In fact, the only break from mind-blowing guitar was when James Varnado & Frank Lombardi took turns offering up funky drum solos. On keyboards and offering vocals was Mike Kach. Mike has played with numerous acts including touring with Molly Hatchet. Pedro Arevalo was on electric bass and offered the deep, pulsating rhythm that Dickey set his numerous solos to. On the other side of the stage was Andy Aledort. Andy played second lead guitar and worked in the slide often in a style reflective of Duane Allman. Andy is recognized as one of the top guitarists around and is a Senior Editor at Guitar World.
Then there was the prodigal son, Duane Betts, on lead guitar. Imagine living up to having your father be Dickey Betts, and knowing that you were named after Duane Allman. Duane Betts seems to be handling it just fine, and filling those big shoes given to him at birth. In fact, while Dickey was notorious for playing the Les Paul Goldtop, that legendary guitar seems to have passed from father to son. Dickey was playing his Gibson SG and sharing lead with his son. Most solos were definitely Dickey’s, but when Duane got a lick or two in, they stuck.
The setlist was a good mix of popular Allman Brother songs: “Blue Sky”, “Jessica”, “Liz Reed”; and well-known guitar covers such as “Statesboro Blues” and “Hoochie Coochie Man”. The pace throughout the concert was good and you can tell the band has been holding strong with this grouping since 2006 when Andy and James joined Frankie (2000), Mike (2003) and Pedro (2004). The transitions were smooth and all eyes were on Dickey as he was the obvious band leader and in complete control of the stage.
When the night ended and Dickey Betts and Great Southern played the encore of the Allman Brothers’ most famous song, penned by Betts, “Ramblin’ Man” the crowd roared it’s loudest.
Look for Dickey Betts and Great Southern throughout the year. Instead of their typical single four-show run each month, the band is hoping for two four-show runs a month. That’s twice as much DB & GS for the Dick Heads in 2013.
Also look for more legends performing at Turning Stone in the upcoming months. The Wailers will be at the casino on January 23rd, George Thorogood in March, and BB King in April.
SETLIST: High Falls, Nothin You Can Do, Statesboro Blues, Change My Way of Living, Blue Sky, One Way Out, You Don’t Love Me, Southbound, Jessica, Back Where It All Begins, 7-Turns, Hoochie Coochie Man, Having a Hard Time, My Get Away, Long Time Gone, Nobody Knows, Liz Reed, No One Left to Run With
ENCORE: Ramblin’ Man