Sarasota was happy to see the next generation of Dickey Betts, Gregg Allman & Berry Oakley bring their tour home! Not just because they are the sons of the original Allman Brothers Band members but because locals have been watching these young musicians earn their chops around town for years. Duane is a hometown kid as Dickey “Ramblin’ Man” Betts resides here as well as Berry Duane Oakley’s family. Devon Allman has been coming here for years in the footsteps of his late father Gregg, who lived on Anna Maria Island. Great musical history indeed, but these musicians have come into their own!
Both of their albums, 2019’s “Down to the River” and the currently released “Bless Your Heart” have broken Billboard’s Top 40, not an easy feat for any band these days. They are writing their own music and paying their dues touring along that road that goes on forever. This leg of the tour is taking them through Florida then to the musical home of where it all started Macon and to South Carolina. Socially distanced seating, masks and a drive-thru gig, they are in unchartered territory that their fathers never imagined playing in.
In Sarasota, they played Evie’s Tavern & Grill, which boasts a driving range and for this event was used for an outdoor stage and audience. Bring your own chair and mask, plenty of room to spread out and be comfortable. The crowd of around 300 were ready when the band hit the stage! It takes a village as they say and these guys have a great band working with them. Besides both Allman & Betts on guitar and Oakley on bass, Johnny Stachela on guitar, John Lum on drums and R.Scott Bryan on percussion. John Ginty blew the crowd away on keyboards! Vocals shared by Allman and Betts with Oakley stepping up to the mic & keys with the haunting “The Doctor’s Daughter”.
The setlist was a mix of their original material with “Pale Horse Rider” and the single “Magnolia Road”. Check out the cool Official cartoon video on YouTube for “Magnolia”. Treating the audience to a few Allman Brothers classics which included from “Eat a Peach” was “Blue Sky” and “Jessica” on which Pedro Arevalo from Dickey Betts Great Southern sat in with the guys. They honored their fathers and the musical roots they hail from. Some members of the audience did some dancing and one guy grabbed the American flag and ran around the perimeter of the show for a humorous moment reminiscent of those normal concert antics. It was a great reminder of how much we are missing live music and we can keep it going with drive-in shows, distancing and outdoor venues safely if we all work it!
The band will perform at the Allman Family Revival at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on December 11th to commemorate the birthday of Gregg Allman. Devon will host the event and special guest Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie among others are playing this special show. You can Livestream it for $15.00! Check it out at HERE.
Photos by Vicky Sullivan