Monday, April 26, 2010
We just got back from Macon Georgia. We spent three days in town went to the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Big House Museum and saw a spirited show Friday night. It was the first time the Allman Brothers Band had been in Macon in nearly twenty years.
The recession stalled a revival it was going through and there has been some disappointment with the two previous mayors. There are panhandlers downtown and some dicey areas of town but that is true of any city. However, there is a lot of positives about Macon and I would recommend the city develop its water front as a destination tied together to the museum district and downtown area. The antebellum homes on college street are stunning and they have a strong arts community. We took advantage of the art exhibit "Fired Works" in the city park but missed the farmers market. The infrastructure is in place, and with a little more TLC and a rebound in the economy Macon is positioned to be a little "Savannah" but they have to watch the small town politics, think big and pull in the same direction.
We had a blast and everywhere we went the people were just terrific. I would like to mention Mike Falduti the owner of the Red Tomato for his outstanding welcome, hospitality and cooking. The best meal by far we had in our brief stay. The Red Tomato is out in Bolingbroke a half hour north of the city. It is beyond being well worth the drive. High end dinning in a casual atmosphere in an historic farm home with a large front porch for dinning. Mike outdid himself.
The Allman Brothers Band:
I've been meaning to get to Macon to pay my respects to Duane and Berry Oakley since the days they died. I'm not kidding. I spent ten years on public radio promoting their music when no one cared. The 1980s were a lost decade for the band but the fans kept the music alive. When I heard about the Big House Museum finally opening and that they were getting aligned with the Smithsonian I was even more anxious to go. Then they announced their concert. Within minutes I got tickets, and arranged the trip.
We had three gorgeous days of sun shine and nothing but great vibes all around. We got a chance to say hi to Butch Trucks as he was filming a documentary around town and visited the Big House Museum three times. I had a guitar shipped to me from guitar affair which was easy breezy, and the Big House staff welcomed me to play on the front porch of the Big House.
We even got a little jam session of our own going and I thought while playing, "this is what it is all about...getting together...making music and having fun".
Of course a tree branch clattered high out of an old tree in the front yard while I was going through this and accentuated the thought in a very loud and wonderful way. The spirits were definitely with us big time!
We felt some strange and beautiful vibes in that home and show stopping chills ran down our backs. All that memorabilia and history collected from around the world re-assembled and re-concentrated back in that home is bound to be a vector of positive and creative energy.
We had two very legitimate poltergeist experiences too personal to mention and lost in translation but all the same legit and physical manifestations. You have to be open to it.
E.J. Devokatis the curator and archivist did an outstanding job. I have a ton of pictures from the trip and museum that I'll post up on Journey Home MySpace and Facebook plus a short video I'll post on YouTube in the next few days.
Make the Trip to Macon to visit The Allman Brother Museum it's well worth it and flights in and out of Atlanta are cheap because it is a major hub.
I recommend the following places to dine:
The above mentioned Red Tomato
The Back Burner Restaurant
The Downtown Grill
Richie and Richard made the night extra special with their hospitality and service. For casual fun on the water the Fish n' Pig has several big decks overlooking a lake.
The Georgia Music Hall of Fame is worth the visit and of course Rose Hill Cemetery. Besides being the site of Duane and Berry's graves it is a wonderful historic cemetery with a huge plot dedicated to the soldiers of the Civil War. Be respectful of all who lay there and to those who visit otherwise know you just don't get it at all.
The Ribbon Cutting:
This was a major event CNN, Wall Street Journal, CBS, and all the local stations were in attendance. I haven't been to too many ribbon cuttings but was anxious to spend a few non-concert moments with the band. It was a small gathering on a beautiful day and we got in tight for some great photos and some choice moments. Gregg, Butch, Jaimoe, Warren Haynes and Berry Oakley's son were all there. Everybody is just blown away by the Museum. They have done an outstanding job and visiting it is reason enough to go to Macon. People from all over the globe were there. We bonded with Jack from Mexico and made way so our Japanese friends could get pictures. Germany, England and Scandinavia were all represented.
Well Macon really lets you enjoy a concert. Gone were the usher bullies clearing the isle, looking for dope to confiscate and hippies to pound. On Friday nights it's like New Orleans you can walk the center city district with open containers and the venue the Macon City Auditorium is ornate, comfortable and intimate.
The first set was blistering. Derek Trucks apparently broke his ankle shooting hoops that morning but was otherworldly in the first set. We all fell out quipping about the pharmaceuticals he must be on, but the second set was too much for him and I think the percocets finally did him in - seriously. The band was pretty cute checking on Derek to see if he was alright and Oteil was stunned and laughing at the blistering fret work by Derek. Latter in the second set it was obvious the poor guy was out of gas and done in by big pharma and no one even blinked when he didn't return after the brief bass and drum break.
Warren was of course strong and dialed in and Jack Pearson was in town. Jack is a phenomenal guitar player and actually was in the band for a while, and filled in admirably.
It was a relaxed party atmosphere for friends and family and a great vibe and show. There's a set list below. The second set stumbled along a bit because Derek was struggling with his medication. I bet he cut his doses down for the next show but it was a biblical first set.
That's all for now enjoy the pictures repost at will.
The vibe in town was extremely positive for this mini reunion. Although the Band was only in town for 24 hours they were out and about everywhere.
Local News Broadcast of the Event (lots of video clips)