Tributee: Gregg Allman.
On January 10, 2014, a star-studded tribute concert to Gregg Allman directed by Don Was was held at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. All My Friends showcases this show in double-CD/single-DVD and, in light of the subsequent announcement that the Allman Brothers Band would retire at the end of 2014 in the wake of the twin departures of Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, it gains a certain sense of poignancy. Truthfully, it's hard not to envision this 26-song concert as the inaugural event in a year designed to showcase precisely how rich the legacy of the Allmans and Gregg in particular is. To that end, All My Friends is a rousing success. Perhaps Brantley Gilbert and Pat Monahan seem a little slight compared to all the other muscle on-stage, but both acquit themselves admirably and also indicate how the featured lineup encompasses all sides of the Allmans. Haynes and Trucks open up the show, then there's a stretch that showcases the group's blues and soul roots -- Sam Moore and Keb' Mo' show up, then Taj Mahal and Dr. John show up later -- and there's space made for Americana maverick John Hiatt, '70s peer Jackson Browne, jam band Widespread Panic, and country stars Trace Adkins, Vince Gill, Zac Brown, and Eric Church before the Allman Brothers Band ties things up with "Dreams" and "Whipping Post." Some shine more than others -- Church delights with his sly, soulful singing, Hiatt sounds like a live wire, Moore doesn't sound like he's aged a day -- but there are no weak spots and the overall effect of All My Friends is dazzling; it illustrates just how rich Gregg Allman's contribution to American music is and what we'll miss when he retires. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine