Seeing as there there were a pair of Allman Brothers songs released as Rock Band DLC, I thought I’d take a look back at the album that truly showed them at the peak of the powers as a live act, 1971’s At The Fillmore East. I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been live a album that’s been CAT yet, and I can’t see anything wrong with this being the first considering it’s probably my favorite live album of all time.
After the release of their first few studio albums, The Allman’s felt that they couldn’t quite capture the intensity of their mesmerizing live shows. So they booked a number of shows at New York’s Fillmore East, and pieced together different parts of those performances to make what would be known as At The Fillmore East.
The album starts out with a rockin’ rendition of Statesboro Blues and the twin guitar attack of Dickie Betts and Duane Allman’s brilliant slide guitar never lets up. But it’s really what the whole band accomplishes as a tight cohesive unit that makes this albums so incredible. Each member brings something different that accounts for the Allman’s potent blend of Blues, Southern Rock, and there’s a definite jazz influence that can be heard on their cover of T-Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday”, or the Dickey Betts original, “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”.
However, the songs that really make the album special for me are the more jam-oriented ones, there’s a musical chemistry here that I’ve heard between very few musicians, in rock or any other genre. And all the longer cuts are never get dull, the band always seems ready to jump into some new riff or time signature and Duane Allman and Dickey Betts are always ready to blast off into some beautiful extended solo. The stand-out track for me has always been “Whipping Post”, at 22 minutes it’s pretty much the most intense, epic jam I’ve ever heard. I think I heard someone once describe it as a “side-long battlefield” and that sounds about right to me, I mean that song rocks hard.
At Fillmore East was the first album to really bring The Allman Brothers Band some mainstream success, but the success was somewhat bittersweet. Sadly this would be the last album to be completed with 24-year-old guitar prodigy, Duane Allman. However, At Fillmore East still stands as a testament to his and the Allman Brothers Band’s to reach heights that few live rock bands ever have.
Favorite Tracks: “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, “You Don’t Love Me”, “Whipping Post”