Finally Ate That Peach: The Allman Brothers Band Host Their Final Music Festival
The Allman Brothers Band has been the host of two popular music festivals on the east coast: in the spring, the band has put on Wanee (their original festival which had its inaugural run in 2005) in Live Oak, FL, and in the summer for the past three years they have held the Peach in Scranton, PA. However, earlier this year the band announced that this year would see their final performances together, as Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, and Gregg Allman will all change gears and focus on their personal projects. This past weekend, Peach 2014 took place, and with it came ABB’s final run as music festival host. The festival as a whole was a success by any definition – you can read our run-down of our favorite highlights from the festival. But we’re not here to talk about the festival. We are here to talk about Allman.
The Allman Brothers Band began developing its following in 1969. The band and their followers have been through many ups and downs together, and have seen a rotating cast of band members. As is true with any band with such an extensive history, passion and expectations among the fan base were, and are, very high. This was especially true at the festival given that the band would be playing their iconic 1972 album Eat a Peach, the final album on which the late Duane Allman performed in its entirety. Some grumblings from the diehard base is often unavoidable in such situations, but despite the occasional expression of disappointment by some, the band put on a solid performance. Highlights included a fun and fluid “Mountain Jam” and a beautiful “Blue Sky” to close out the set before returning for the encore, which ended in a “Black Hearted Woman” that flooded the aisles with dancing.
Their second performance closed out the festival on Sunday night. The consensus seemed to be that the band played their better show this night. Taj Mahal, whose version of “Statesboro Blues” inspired Duane Allman to learn slide guitar, sat in with the band for that number, singing and playing harmonica, while Ron Holloway laid down some sax during “Soulshine.” Gregg Allman Band keyboardist Peter Levin played a mean “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” with the band, as well as a “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’” which had the crowd clapping along. After the set ended, the crowd roared until the band returned to the stage for a “Whipping Post” encore.
Though not quite as energetic as I expected, the Allman Brothers Band performed well this past weekend and closed out what looks to be their last Peach Music Festival on a high note. It is sad to think that next year we likely will return to Montage Mountain for a Peach absent of the great Allman. You never know, though. After all, Gregg did say he would see us next year. Sure, that may mean with the Gregg Allman Band. But maybe, just maybe, Allman will reunite for yet another Peach. A girl can dream, right?
All pictures used in this article were taken by Sensible Reason photographer Eric Madar, who, like writer Ali Kramen, returned to the Peach to cover the festival for Sensible Reason for a second consecutive year. Stay tuned to Sensible Reason’s Facebook page for the release of a complete album of his full-sized images from the weekend, coming soon!