Dickey Betts Opens Tour in Macon

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Dickey Betts (Photo from his website)

Just last fall, former Allman Brothers Band guitarist/singer Dickey Betts was still insisting that his career was over, that he would not perform live music again. Then he had a change of heart and announced a new tour for 2018.

Last night (May 17), Betts and his band opened that tour in the Allmans’ old home base of Macon, Ga., and by all accounts he was in top form.

The show, at the Macon City Auditorium, followed a 10-song, live rehearsal show on May 15 in Sarasota, Fla., Betts hometown. Fans at the Macon show received an additional treat when Allmans drummer Jaimoe sat in with Betts and his band for a run-through of the ABB classic “Whipping Post.”

Watch them perform “Whipping Post” at the White Buffalo Saloon on May 15

Betts’ band includes his son Duane on guitar, third guitarist Damon Fowler, keyboardist Mike Kach, bassist Pedro Arevalo and drummers Frankie Lombardi and Steve Camilleri.

Watch “Statesboro Blues” from that same Sarasota warmup

Watch Betts and band perform “Midnight Rider” at the Georgia show on May 17

Also joining Betts and company were Bonnie Bramlett (of Delaney and Bonnie fame) and her daughter Bekka Bramlett. Kris Jensen, the saxophonist in Jaimoe’s own band, joined the crew for “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” another Allmans staple.

Related: 11 great Southern Rock albums

Watch Betts and band perform “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” in Macon

Betts’ decision to go out and play live music again is a reversal of a decision he made a few years earlier to quit. In an interview with Rolling Stone following his now-suspended retirement announcement, the guitarist attributed his withdrawal from touring to “a little bit of burnout, a little sour grapes, a little bit like a boxer who gives it up.”

Betts’ return to the road is good news for Allman Brothers fans who were besieged by one piece of tragic news after another in 2017. Last year, founding band members Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks passed away, as did Johnny Sandlin, who produced three of the ABB’s albums. Guitarist Jimmy Nalls, a member of Allmans offshoot Sea Level, also passed away last year.

Betts was scheduled to play tomorrow night (May 19) at Florida Jam in Boca Raton, Fla., but predicted bad weather has moved that concert to Oct. 20. He returns in July with a handful of dates in the Northeast.

Watch the band play “Hot ‘Lanta” at the Macon gig

Dickey Betts 2018 Tour Dates (Tickets are available here and here)
Jul 15 – Patchogue, NY – Great South Bay Music Festival
Jul 18 – New York, NY – Beacon Theatre (with Marshall Tucker Band and Devon Allman ftg Duane Betts)
Jul 20 – Ridgefield, CT – Ridgefield Playhouse
Jul 21 – Staten Island, NY – St. George Theatre
Jul 22 – Scranton, PA – Peace Music Festival
August 28 – Syracuse, NY — New York State Fairgrounds
August 31 – Hampton Beach, NH — Casino Ballroom

Watch Betts perform “Ramblin’ Man” at the Macon concert

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4 Comments so far

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  1. wrsjr
    #1 wrsjr 18 May, 2018, 18:38

    We were there. Solid show. Moments of brilliance for sure. Struggled on vocals. Very well received by near sell-out crowd. Bad mix in sound, especially on bass. Glad to be a part of this history.
    I must say, VERY impressed with Devon Allman and his band, especially with Duane Betts accompanying. Great to see them having so much fun playing together.

    Reply this comment
    • Charlie
      Charlie 19 May, 2018, 10:46

      This show was awful. I’m sorry, but Dickey was either drinking or he just can’t play anymore. He doesn’t sing so much he yells. I know it’s the first show all, but to call this particular performance solid, or suggest that DB is in “top form” as the review states isn’t being honest. He was a half step behind, he was missing notes. The only songs that weren’t butchered were the Gregg songs that showcased the rest of the band. What the band needs is an on stage musical director similar to Scott Sherards role with Gregg’s band, or Waddy Wachtel in Stevie Nicks’ band.

      People are going to be nice and talk about the good moments of which there were a few, but when you charge $80 a ticket you have to hit tne note

      Reply this comment
    • Ibemarkmedic
      Ibemarkmedic 20 May, 2018, 08:15

      I agree with WRSJR about the mix, specifically the bass. What the hay? Moments of brilliance? Hmmmm…there were some moments that were very good, but overall, I can’t say it was a “solid show”. Dickie’s timing was off (often), and at times he seemed lost. Vocals were indeed a struggle, but I am also glad to be part of the history of the show, and wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Being a guitar geek, I was disappointed not to see and hear him play a Les Paul or his big ol’ red Gibson 335 (I think it was). He played a black modern looking SG, which is MUCH lighter in weight compared to the afore mentioned axes, so I can’t blame him there. Hell, I usually pick up my Gibson Melody Maker for the same reason! The SG sounded good though. Dickie stumbled around a few times as well. There were awkward, long pauses between songs and confusion on stage. I know I am being critical here, but I also firmly believe that each show will get better and better. I would not hesitate to shell out the dough to see him again. Basically it just seemed like there was not enough rehearsal before the tour started. One thing that made me go ahead and leave a bit early was this: there were 3 or 4 guitarists on stage when those beautiful opening chords and notes of Elizabeth Reed began, yet Kris Jensen on saxophone was playing the melodic lines of perhaps one of the greatest instrumentals of all time, and it just didn’t work. Nothing against Kris, he’s a great player. The Allman Brothers music is NOT simple music, and it requires great skill, timing, and at times, improvisation. What’s become a pretty common thing these days is Duane’s Gold Top Les Paul showing up in Macon shows. Jason Isbell had a go with it, as well as Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood). Pretty durn cool. As a side note, Neal may be the only dude alive that has played Duane’s Gibby AND Jerry’s “Wolf”! Wow. (I told you I was a geek).
      I also agree that Devon Allman Project’s set was solid as Georgia granite. In fact, I bought their tee shirt and a CD. Oh yeah, one more thing then I’ll shut up: I have never seen a line for merch that long! I stood in line for a loooong time just to find out there were no 2xl tee shirts available! C’mon, the average age at this show was probably 60 (I’m 63 myself), and some of us old farts “ain’t what I used to was,” to quote my late father-in-law, who BTW, gigged with guitar and harmonica right up until he died a few years ago! So no cool DB shirt for me, and they were VERY cool shirts. I did by a bandana LOL. Struck up a great conversation with a cool dude in line though…I digress….one last thing (I lied)…the staff at the Macon Coliseum were kinda pushy and rude. They behaved as if all of us were thugs and kept threatening us with “no entry” if we had anything in our pockets blah blah blah…sheez, you couldn’t find a more laid back group of brothers and sisters anywhere. We don’t get thrown out of concerts….anymore I mean….
      Peace & Love, ABB Forever!

      Reply this comment
      • wrsjr
        wrsjr 23 May, 2018, 17:25

        Mark, I will have to say, I was being generous in my review, because there were times I was just sitting there shaking my head.
        But, I cant say enough about the Devon Allman Project with young Betts. If I had known they were doing a full show at the Opera House the next night, I would have made that show the one to see. But, I couldnt get back up to Macon the very next night. Sure hope to see an album from this ‘Project’. Devon is maturing nicely, and the affinity he and Duane B have for each other is obvious. Devons band is stellar, and he really pours his heart into it.

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