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5 Questions From Sunday’s Blackberry Smoke Show

Southern rock in Uptown

Blackberry Smoke, Allman Betts Band
Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke performs at CMCU Amphitheatre on Sunday night. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Blackberry Smoke rolled into the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre on Sunday, Aug. 22, along with the Allman Betts Band and The Wild Feathers for a showcase of Southern-influenced rock. While the rain tried to dampen the energy a bit, it didn’t cause any delays. However, I left Sunday night’s show with a few questions…

1. What’s in the Atlanta-area water?
Outkast, Mastodon, TLC, Manchester Orchestra, Black Crowes, Blackberry Smoke. I’m not quite sure what’s in the Atlanta water, but people should take more notice of exactly how many outstanding bands and artists have come out of the Peach State. (While the Allman Brothers Band is often associated with Georgia, they formed in Florida).

2. Was the Allman Betts Band’s set satisfying?
Having never seen the Allman Betts Band live, I was curious to see how much of Devon Allman and Duane Betts’ mojo came from their famous fathers, Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts, respectively. However, only three members were present after a bus breakdown. While the trio tore through plenty of songs on acoustic guitars, I wondered how much a fully plugged-in set would have energized the crowd more than the acoustic one — especially on some of those Allman Brothers Band cover song solos.

3. Speaking of the Allmans, are we sure Duane Betts isn’t a time traveler?
Do a quick Google image search for Dickey Betts and then look at a recent photo of his son, Duane. Duane is the spitting image of his father, circa the mid-1970s, and can tear through a guitar riff or two just like dad, too. Whether he’s playing an original tune with the Allman Betts Band or shredding a classic Allman Brothers Band tune, Duane’s got plenty of talent and personality to soak up the spotlight.

Blackberry Smoke, Allman Betts Band
Devon Allman (left) and Duane Betts of the Allman Betts Band. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

4. Why isn’t Blackberry Smoke more of a household name?
The band celebrated 20 years of music on Sunday night and I couldn’t help but wonder why more people weren’t in attendance, or why the band isn’t playing bigger venues. If anyone was going to carry the torch of the Allman Brothers Band into the next decade, it could easily be Blackberry Smoke. Just give a listen to “I’ll Keep Ramblin'” and tell me that’s not one of the best Southern rock tunes you’ve heard in the last 10 years.

5. Why don’t more bands get together to perform while touring?
One of the highlights of the night was the end of the show when Blackberry Smoke returned for an encore and played a song with opening act, The Wild Feathers, along with “Midnight Rider” with the Allman Betts Band. Wouldn’t it be great if more touring artists teamed up on stage to make each performance a bit more unique and memorable?

Blackberry Smoke, The Wild Feathers
Blackberry Smoke jams with The Wild Feathers onstage on Sunday. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Blackberry Smoke setlist
You Hear Georgia
Live It Down
Good One Comin’ On
Workin’ for a Workin’ Man
Crimson Moon
Let It Burn
Hey Delilah
Sleeping Dogs
Ain’t Gonna Wait
Ain’t the Same
Ain’t Got the Blues
Run Away From It All
One Horse Town
I’ll Keep Ramblin’
Old Scarecrow
Ain’t Much Left of Me

Call Me the Breeze (J.J. Cale cover)
Can’t You See (The Marshall Tucker Band cover)
Long Haired Country Boy (The Charlie Daniels Band cover) (with The Wild Feathers)
Keep on Smilin’ (Wet Willie cover) (with Jimmy Hall)
Midnight Rider (The Allman Brothers Band cover) (with The Allman Betts Band)

Allman Betts Band setlist
Magnolia Road
Airboats & Cocaine
Blue Sky
Down to the River
Rivers Run
Carolina Song
One Way Out

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