Sarasota welcomes Gregg Allman home

Review: Former Manatee resident rocks blues away Wednesday

mclear@bradenton.comJanuary 9, 2014 

Every seat at Sarasota's Sailor Circus Arena was filled Wednesday night, and by just a few minutes into the headliner's set every seat was occupied by a satisfied music lover.

Legendary Southern rocker/ bluesman Gregg Allman played his first concert in Sarasota in several years. The concert sold out as soon as it was announced.

Gregg's son, Devon Allman, took to the stage first with his band and played an emotional and polished set.

The soulful Greg Billings Band followed, with solid musicianship (especially from Pinellas County guitar wiz George Harris), with an awful lot of plugs about the band's new CD being for sale at the merchandise table.

Gregg Allman and his seven-piece band, including Devon Allman as a second keyboardist, started off with Allman Brothers classics, and it seemed obvious that was what the crowd wanted to hear.

"Stateboro Blues" ignited the crowd and "I'm No Angel" kept the fires burning

Allman's had some very public heath problems, but he looks fit for someone who's now a senior citizen, and, more importantly, his playing and singing were phenomenal. His singing has lost none of its power and emotion, but he could still sing high and light when needed.

The band, which beside the Allmans, included a guitar, bass, drums and sax, was impeccable.

Allman, of course, was a member of the Allman Brothers Band, who have been credited as the prinicipal architects of Southern rock -- a fusion of rock, blues and country that dominated music in the early and mid '70s. Allman and his fellow band members were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

Now 66 years old, Allman still tours and records, both with his own band and with the Allman Brothers Band. His most recent album, "Low Country Blues" is a critically acclaimed collection of blues covers, plus one original song.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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