Friday afternoon I headed east to see Gov't Mule at Le National on Ste Catherine's Street in Montreal. This show was promising to be a heavy dose of Mule. No opening act. Two and a half hours of Warren Haynes' smoking voice and rocking guitar. Needless to say, the evening surpassed even my high expectations.
Warren Haynes... Now if all you do is listen to the radio and watch American Idol you may not know this man. However if you've ever bothered to step out into the real world and flick off your mainstream pop swill you'd know that Warren is not just a man but he is a machine.
In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine placed Warren 23rd on the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list. There's no doubt that he's moved up since then.
He's been the driving force behind The Allman Brothers Band since 1989 and he's toured and performed with a list of bands a mile long. Warren is the same guy who steps from stage to stage to stage jammin' with numerous bands at the weekend music festivals before pickin' up a full set with either Gov't Mule, Allman Brothers, Phil Lesh, or his own solo act. Hours of pickin', sometimes as many as 7 or 8 in a single day. That folks, is unheard of. Nowadays you're lucky to get a straight 45 minute set from a band. What is up with that anyway?
Anyhow, this evening was awesome. Warren rolled through one song to the next and as per usual he slipped in several teases and of course a couple of full length covers. "Smokestack Lightning" (Howlin' Wolf) was a driving force leading to an inevitable train wreck. I'm sure the Wolf was howling in his grave.
In the middle of the first set Warren proved his guitar-god status with a 12 minute instrumental version of Bob Marley's "Lively Up Yourself". The crowd chanted the lyrics and Haynes sang them through his guitar. Sweet.
Warren's "Lola" (Kinks) tease got the crowd singing before he faded off into "Lola Leave Your Light On". In hindsight, the Lola tease was likely a little humor on Warren's part as Le National Theatre is located at the heart of "Le Village Gai" (the gay district for those of you that don't speak French). But that's another story...
"Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)" was a pump for the recently announced Led Zeppelin reunion concert scheduled for November 26 at the O2 Arena in London.
In the second set Warren paid tribute to Canada's Gordie Johnson with his rendition of "I'm a Ram" (by Al Green but more familiar to us Canadians thanks to Gordie's Big Sugar) and it was kickin' to say the least.
Last but not least, Matt Abts the drummer and fellow founding member of Gov't Mule raised the roof with an amazing drum solo in the second set. As far as drummers go this guy is at the top of the heap. Sporting nearly as many tattoos as Tommy Lee, Matt took control of the crowd for 10 minutes while he threw down a flurry of sticks complete with cowbell.
Nuff said. Download the bootleg here:
| Set I:|
Brand New Angel
Mr. High & Mighty
Lay Your Burden Down->
Lay Your Burden Down Reprise
Banks Of The Deep End
Lively Up Yourself
A Million Miles From Yesterday
Lola Leave Your Light On
Livin' Lovin' Maid
| Set 2:|
I'm A Ram->
Love Me Do->
I'm A Ram
Fallen Down-> Gimme Shelter Tease
The Other One Jam