WARREN HAYNES TURNS EDINBURGH INTO ASHES AND DUST
Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, 22nd July 2016
It's taken a long time for Warren Haynes to play in Scotland. In a career spanning nearly four decades he finally made it this far north but not with The Allman Brothers Band or Gov't Mule but as a solo artist playing with his Ashes & Dust band. All that matters to those in attendance though is that the legend is here.
Wandering onto the stage and somehow managing to make tuning up sound like an orchestrated introduction Haynes and his five piece backing band ease gently into 'Is It Me Or You' from that 'Ashes & Dust' album.
The Americana vibe of the album and the bluegrass overtones are all present and accounted for with electric mandolin and banjo a big part of the sound as they would remain all night. The fiddle (or violin according to your preference) was there too, superbly played all night by Ross Holmes and kudos to him too for the nice kilt and cowboy boots ensemble outfit.
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It was a pretty full on sound from the band despite the bluegrass vibe and I actually moved a couple of times to find a better sound but the most important element was always the voice and even more importantly that fluid, melodic guitar sound from the man himself. Whether it was one of the tracks from the latest album or one of the multitude of songs packed into the set from throughout his storied career he could find a place within the setting of the song to let loose a fiery solo, many of which brought the crowd to their feet in appreciation.
Never having seen the man live before I thought we might get some of the stories behind the songs but there wasn't much in the way of interaction with the crowd, just song after song of finely crafted musicianship. Due to my own prejudices I could have done without the drum solo though.
Encore time brought us a near fifteen minute version of 'Jessica', the Allman Brothers Band instrumental famous in the UK as the theme tune to tv's 'Top Gear'. It was beautifully put together with a superb Band really in a groove together and full of that quality guitar playing that everyone really came to hear. The standing ovation was richly deserved and amazingly a two and a quarter hour set seemed too short. Warren Haynes may be a legend but he is one who still delivers the goods.