The Allman Brothers Band
Nassau Coliseum - Uniondale, NY

by John Lynskey

      By the spring of 1973, the members of the Allman Brothers Band had rebounded from two devastating tragedies, regrouped, and were back doing what they did better than any other band - performing their groundbreaking music in a live setting.
       After losing guitarist Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley to motorcycle accidents in October 1971, and November 1972, respectively, the remaining players - vocalist/organist Gregg Allman, drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe, and guitarist/vocalist Dickey Betts - were determined to carry on what they had started in 1969. Adding Chuck Leavell on keyboards and Lamar Williams on bass, the ABB gathered in Macon, Georgia’s Capricorn Studios, and by early 1973 was in the process of completing the album Brothers and Sisters. They then hit the road, playing their unique blend of rock, blues, jazz, country and R&B - albeit in a slightly altered format - but one that was still as potent and fiery as the classic sound they had created with Duane and Berry. On May 1, 1973, the Allman Brothers Band rolled into Uniondale, New York, for a gig at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Long Island home of the NHL’s New York Islanders and the ABA’s New York Nets. With a seating capacity of 15,000, it was one of the largest venues the ABB had played up to this point, but they would return to Nassau several times in the coming years, as they became one of the first American rock bands to schedule arena tours.
       The show kicks off with a funky, mid-tempo “Wasted Words,” the first track on the upcoming Brothers and Sisters, and it features all the distinctive nuances of this line-up. Gregg is on vocals and rhythm guitar, with Dickey playing tasteful slide guitar licks, a role he had taken on since Duane’s death. Butch, Jaimoe and Lamar provide a rock-solid foundation, while Chuck’s distinctive piano work is quite evident in a nice call and response sequence with Dickey. Everything gels on a nasty version of “Done Somebody Wrong,” with Chuck contributing a rollicking solo, and when Gregg - still brandishing his six-string - declares “Play on, Richard,” Dickey obliges with some blistering slide. Gregg moves over to his usual slot behind the Hammond B-3 for “Statesboro Blues,” and Dickey once again demonstrates his dexterity on the slide that proves however reluctant he may have been to play Duane’s parts, he was more than capable. The band powers through “One Way Out,” and then they ease into a blues-soaked version of “Stormy Monday,” where Gregg displays both his vocal range and swirling B-3 work. “Midnight Rider” is suitably re-arranged for this configuration, and is followed by three tunes from Brothers and Sisters. “Jessica” takes flight from the opening chords, and soars from there. Chuck delivers a joyous run down the keys, and Dickey responds in kind, with some great rhythm work from Butch and Jaimoe behind him. Gregg’s delivery sparks “Come and Go Blues,” while “Ramblin’ Man” showcases Dickey’s hickory-smoked vocals. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” is turned into a jazzy 15-minute masterpiece that closes out Disc One.
       The best is yet to come, however, as the second disc captures this version of the Brothers at its pinnacle. Gregg leads the way into a riff-filled “Trouble No More,” while a quick but potent “You Don’t Love Me” has Dickey and Chuck spraying rapid-fire notes throughout. From there, the band segues into a 20-minute “Les Brers in A Minor”; Lamar’s bass line opens, Gregg and Chuck take high-flying solos, then Jaimoe and Butch grab center stage before Dickey blazes the way to a smokin’ finish. Things get even hotter with a wickedly emotive “Whipping Post” that stretches out for 18 minutes, and then just when it seems the music has hit its absolute peak, the ABB heads into the stratosphere with a full-blown “Mountain Jam.” It is sans guests, which was the usual format for this number in 1973. Melodic and flowing with energy, the essence of this line-up is displayed throughout. After Butch and Jaimoe shine on their second wonderfully syncopated drum break of the evening, Lamar Williams - who in many ways is the M.V.P. of this show - unleashes a thundering bass run which removes any doubt that he was a worthy successor to Berry Oakley. Chuck and Gregg then perform an extended, intertwined dance of piano and B-3 before Dickey returns with the main theme, and 31 minutes of pure magic comes to a shimmering climax.
       1973 would be a high-water mark for the Allman Brothers Band. Brothers and Sisters would top the album charts, the single “Ramblin’ Man” peaked at #2, they would headline at the Watkins Glen Summer Jam in July, and Rolling Stone would name the ABB “Band of the Year” as well.
       Nassau Coliseum 5/1/73 captures an important segment of Allman Brothers Band history - after the tragedies, before the turmoil - and harkens back to the days when the ABB was commonly referred to as the “Best damn band in the land.” Play this one loud, and hear why.

John Lynskey
Hittin’ the Note Magazine

Allman Brothers Band
Nassau Coliseum - Uniondale, NY - 5/1/73

Disc #1
  1. Wasted Words 4:58
  2. Done Somebody Wrong 3:52
  3. Statesboro Blues 4:15
  4. One Way Out 7:42
  5. Stormy Monday 8:46
  6. Intros: Lamar & Chuck
  7. Midnight Rider 3:13
  8. Jessica 10:25
  9. Come and Go Blues 4:58
  10. Ramblin' Man 7:55
  11. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed 15:06
Disc #2
  1. Trouble No More 4:02
  2. You Don't Love Me 6:19
  3. Les Brers in A Minor 19:12
  4. Whipping Post 18:40
  5. Mountain Jam 31:05

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