Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Gregg Allman Continues to Mention Dickey Betts Onstage, Is a Reunion Inevitable?
NEW YORK — Before playing the encore of his second show this week at City Winery in downtown Manhattan, Gregg Allman paid homage to an estranged Allman Brothers Band cohort.
“We’re going to finish this off by playing a song by Mr. Dickey Betts,” Allman said before launching into “Southbound” on the Hammond B3 organ.
Allman has been honoring his old bandmate on his solo tour this summer and fall, as Allman Brothers Band historian Alan Paul first wrote in the Wall Street Journal.
Across some 50 Allman Brothers Band shows I’ve seen in the last 15-plus years, I never heard Allman mention Betts once onstage before Monday night’s show.
Allman and his fellow original band members Butch Trucks and Jaimoe suspended Betts (reportedly via fax) prior to the launch of the band’s summer tour of 2000 because of Betts’ alcohol and drug problems. Among other lowlights, Betts was charged with putting a gun to his wife Donna Betts’s head in 1996.
Yet 15 years after the breakup, and one year after The Allman Brothers Band supposedly played their final show — an epic three-set concert at the Beacon Theatre that ended at 1:25 AM last Oct. 29 — Allman and Betts are clearly warming up to one another.
“I would love to play with him again,” Allman told Paul for a Wall Street Journal piece last July. “There’s nothing at all wrong with forgive and forget.”
Allman has openly talked about touring in some form with the Brothers in the future.
“Check with me in two or four years — I don’t know the timeline — but if we did [reunite], we’d do it right,” he told Rolling Stone in August. “And to do it right, we’d do a whole damn tour. I’m not ruling that out, and I never did.”
In January 2014, longtime Allmans guitarists Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes announced they were leaving the band. The group then supposedly played their final shows last October.
If they were to reform, it remains uncertain what form the Allmans would take.
No one wants to see a sad, pathetic affair with Betts, 71, and Allman, 67, fronting the group without young energy from someone like Trucks.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Trucks, 36, seemed to indicate he learned a lesson from the Betts feud with the band.
“The other part I took away was the things you don’t do — just the grudges and the saga with Dickey Betts, the lack of communication at times,” he said. “Susan and I have been really forward with our [Tedeschi-Trucks] band. When things come up, you deal with them. However uncomfortable that is, let’s have this discussion right now.”
Still, is it really that hard to imagine Derek and Warren joining up with Allman for a tour down the road?
No, but where would Betts fit into the two-guitar lineup?
Bass player Oteil Burbridge, currently crushing it alongside John Mayer with Dead and Company, would presumably play with The Allmans on a future tour, as would percussionist Marc Quinones, who plays in Allman’s current band.
Allman, meantime, sounded clear and confident during the second night of a five-night residency at City Winery that has temporarily replaced the Allman Brothers two-week gig at the Beacon Theater.
He played alternate versions of several Allmans classics, including standing up and playing “Whipping Post” on the Guitar.
“New York loves you,” one fan yelled.
“Glad to be here,” he said.
Allman will also appear on AXS Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET in the Big Interview with Dan Rather.
(Allman/Betts photo courtesy Kirk West)
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.