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” We Wish You Were Here” ~ Allen Woody Benefit ~

Allen Woody

Allen Woody

An absolutely historical night of music.  A bitter-sweet night of music.  A magical combination of guitar-shredding artists who came together for the memory of one man. Allen Woody!

Allen Woody!! For those of us who tend to seek out a bass line in a song, the name Allen Woody should register in your brain’s musical library.  Specifically, in the southern rock genre. He was the stand-out bassist for bands such as The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, The Artimus Pyle Band and more.

Allen Woody

Allen Woody

His unexpected passing on August 26, 2000 encouraged his fellow musicians to hold the first benefit called One For Woody in September 2000.  Tonight, ten years later, Warren Haynes and an ARSENAL of guitar-wielding friends put together the second benefit for this greatly missed musician: Another One For Woody: “Wish You Were Here!”

This was a man whose musical presence touched the lives of numerous musicians, inspired a genre and who’s musical contribution deserves recognition.  Tonight, people paid over $140 a ticket to pay homage to this dearly missed bass player whose tragically early departure from music left a gaping whole in the sound of southern rock.  The proceeds from this 10th Anniversary event went to raising money for musical education in schools.  For every person we heard complaining about the price, we politely reminded them of this fact.  Having just had the privilege of attending T-Bone Burnett’s “Waiting For Superman” Benefit at The Beacon (click for my review) a few weeks earlier, it is safe to say that the quest for keeping music & art in the school system is not going to ever be ignored. We are all soldiers in that fight.

“It’s too loud? Too fuckin’ bad” -Allen Woody 4/4/96

Roseland Ballroom

Roseland Ballroom

Arriving at 6:45pm, I had quibbled with my man over arriving to the venue early. He didn’t want to stand around for hours and I wanted to make sure we had ample time to arrive early enough for good viewing locations.  Roseland Ballroom is one of those venues, like Terminal 5, that has a sardine-like feeling with horrible site lines due to low ceilings and poor design.  Doors were meant to open at 6pm but didn’t open until after 7pm.  When we arrived, the line to the venue was wrapped completely around the block. Of course, even being an hour early, we were still slightly late but the first of our friends. Our section of the line starting to bulge as more friends joined our space.

Dino Perucci (Dino Perrucci Photography) and Allison Murphy (Allison Murphy Photography), two of my favorite NY based photographers, were walking the front of the stage.  My smile swelled because I knew that I didn’t need my camera tonight.  Throughout this article, many of the pictures you will see are shots through their lens.  Thanks to both photographers for allowing this Tiny Raging blogger to stand there and take it all in, not having to worry about the pictures.  And thank you, not simply for this show, but for the hundreds you do every year. Thank you, from all the people who admire your talent and work, for doing what you do and bringing the music to our eyes.

The show was supposed to start at 7pm and the doors didn’t even open until after 7pm.  After a lovely chat with the lovely Allison Murphy while the unusually long sound check and stage set-up it seemed about that time.  Those of us in the front were debating which musicians would be standing/sitting/playing where.  As long as I could see a full-on shot of Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes and Luther Dickinson, I didn’t care where I was standing.

Warren Haynes Acoustic Set

Warren Haynes – Guitar
Edwin McCain – Guitar
Kevin Kinney – Guitar

Out walks Warren Haynes with two other musicians that I am unsure of.  It wasn’t until maybe an hour later that I found out that the men were Edwin McCain and Kevin Kinney. This was the acoustic set and it was beautiful.

As soon as Warren Haynes started his strumming into Kevin Kinney‘s Just Outside Of Heaven (A Good Country Mile), I got that religious swell that I sometimes reach when the beauty of the music overwhelms me.  This time, it was just as much the energy in the room as the music.  I looked behind me and saw the faces of all my friends just beaming with excitement and love.  Edwin McCain sang The Lucky One.  All three sang on a gorgeous rendition of I Shall Be Released.

Set: Just Outside Of Heaven (A Good Country Mile), The Lucky One, I Shall Be Released

North Mississippi Allstars Duo

Luther Dickinson – Guitar & Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Drums, & Electric Washboard

Special Guests:

Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) – Guitar
Artimis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – Drums
Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule) – Keys
Audley Freed (Cry of Love) – Guitar

Around 8:15pm, the Dickinson Brothers,  tonight calling themselves the North Mississippi Allstars Duo, took the stage.  The Dickinson family had a wonderful connection to Allen Woody over the years.  The late Jim Dickinson, the Duo’s father, was good friends with the members of the Allman Brothers Band back in the day and when the North Mississippi Allstars toured with Gov’t Mule, they have fond memories of Allen Woody sitting in with them.

Warren Haynes + Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

The Brothers Dickinson brought the Memphis blues to our ears with Sitting On Top of the World, a 1930’s standard. The gospel tone came out with Shimmy She Wobble > Station Blues > Preachin’ Blues, all North Mississippi Allstars originals.  It was at this time that standing in front of the speakers began to take effect and I had to pop in the ear plugs.  It never fails and as usual, I ended up passing out the rest to friends and strangers around me who were clearly in need.

And then it was time for the guests.  Gordie Johnson, Big Sugar guitarist and recent Gov’t Mule producer, came out to join the Duo for Po Black Maddie. Initially, it looked as though Gordie was going to sing the song but it almost appeared as if he was unsure of the words.  Did anyone else catch this mumbling into the microphone?? Luther ended up singing the song.


Hook Herrera, Warren Haynes + Luther Dickinson (Allison Murphy)

Hook Herrera, Warren Haynes + Luther Dickinson (Allison Murphy)

Gordie Johnson remained for Straight to Hell. Cody Dickinson‘s smile never left his face the entire set.  It almost looked plastered on but we all know he was truly happy. How could anyone not be?  There was a stand-alone drum solo by Cody Dickinson while Luther and Gordie Johnson switch sides of the stage for the final song of the set.

The end of their set was FIRE!!  The Duo welcomed Artimis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) on drums, Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule) on keys and Audley Freed (Cry of Love & the Black Crowes) to the stage to perform Whiskey Rock A Rolla! There was now an arsenal of musicians on the stage to sing about whiskey and rock-n-roll! Four guitarists as Cody Dickinson moved from his drums to a guitar, tambourines, keyboards…What a mess of Southern rednecks.  Their vests, boots, long stringy hair, cowboy hats…all screaming of their bluesy country background.


Set: Sitting On Top of the World, Shimmy She Wobble > Station Blues > Preachin’ Blues, Glory Glory, Po Black Maddie, Straight To Hell, Whiskey Rockin Rolla

Gov’t Mule

Warren Haynes – Guitar & Vocals
Matt Abts – Drums
Danny Louis – Keyboards, Background Vocals and Other Goodies
Jorgen Carlsson – Bass

Special Guests:

Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) – Guitar
Jim Loughlin (moe)- Drums
Vinnie Amico (moe) Drums
Chuck Garvey (moe) – Guitar
Hook Herrera – Harmonica
Luther Dickinson – Guitar & Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Drums, & Electric Washboard
Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Drums
Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Robert Kearns (Cry of Love) – Bass
Audley Freed (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Savannah Woody – Vocals

The members of Gov’t Mule take the stage after a few minutes of stage setting. Warren‘s iconic raspy voice heads into Railroad Boy. The screen behind the band was projecting a black background with “GOT MULE?” plastered across in white. Warren ripped a solo and the set just launched into southern goodness at its best.

There was a spacey rip into Blind Man in the Dark, a personal favorite to sing around my apartment. Warren asked us how we were feeling and the place erupted with a happy reply.  Danny Louis jumped off the keys and onto guitar for Steppin’ Lightly.  At this point, there were old picture of Woody shooting or lingering across the screen behind the band. His face smiling at us, showing his appreciation for the music in front of him.

Sometimes there is nothing better then watching the hands of your favorite guitar player.  Personally, my favorite guitar player had not yet hit the stage but here in front of me was Warren.  He is simply amazing.  Watching Warren, I was in tune with his hands much more then usual.  I equate that to the fact that I have never been this close to his hands before. I was so happy to be in the front row. Banks of the Deep End sprang out of his hands and so it went…full on Warren!

And now it was time for some GUESTS!!!  Gordie Johnson once again joined the stage, this time followed by Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico, the drummers from Moe.  They raged I’m A Ram before jamming into Dear Prudence where Chuck Garvey, also of  Moe, joined with his guitar. I LOVE Moe.

Warren Haynes + Chuck Garvey (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Chuck Garvey (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Dear Prudence with the members of Moe.  AWESOME! THIS little addition to the stage made me very VERY happy.  Seeing Chuck on stage with Warren was interesting.  Their sounds are so different so vibing them together was great even though I silently wished it had been Al who was joining the stage.   Chuck lead while Warren sang. There were whimsy art paintings across the screen behind the stage.  Chuck gave a great solo and then tagged in Luther.

Warren Haynes + Hook Herrera (Photo by Allsion Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Hook Herrera (Photo by Allsion Murphy)

The 320 Blues saw Hook Herrera join the stage with his mighty harmonica.  Oh, the harmonica. I LOOOOOOOOOVE the layer of sound a harmonica add to a musical journey.  As well,  Luther and Cody Dickinson joined the stage followed by Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd).  GOD! It just kept getting better and better! So many musicians had been touched by Allen’s friendship, music and memory.  Cody busted out his washboard and I finally heard the North Mississippi Allstars sound that I associate so much to that washboard.  The place was on FIRE!! and the music was so loud and vibrant that the musicians drinks were shaking off the amps.   As far as energy was concerned, this was the pop-off song of the night, so far.

Audley Freed + Robert Kearns (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Audley Freed + Robert Kearns (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren then spoke of how Big Sugar used to open for Gov’t Mule and how he and Allen Woody would rage this Al Green song. He welcomed Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) to the stage for Stay With Me, Rick’s slide guitar sound melting everyone’s ears.  Danny Louis was back on his keyboard.  This song was so pretty.  Warren ripped a solo and then they all hugged. The next song saw Rich Robinson staying on stage and being joined by Robert Kearns (Cry of Love) replacing Jorgen Carlsson on bass and Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) jumping on drums.  They flew into Sometimes Salvation, a Black Crowes cover, and the venue cheered.

Simple Man was next.  I love this song. It never gets old for me. Matt Abts left the stage this time leaving only Artemis Pyle to play the drums. Audley Freed was back out on guitar and so they went…


Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Wishing Well was next with the same people gracing the stage. And then we were given an emotional surprise. Savannah Woody, Allen Woody’s daughter, came out to the front of the stage to sing Soul Shine. And  she sang the line:  Now you gotta let your soul Shine / Just like my daddy used to say...the entire place erupted with the longest loudest cheer of the night and Warren’s tears took over the gleam in his eye.  It took some time for people to realize who Savannah Woody was but when she sang that line, I knew immediately that it must be SOME kind of close relative to Woody.

During the song, she was standing on stage, arms dangling while solos were being taken.  A stage hand brought out a tambourine in the cutest way but she still didn’t move that much.

Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

When Allen died, a fund for Savannah’s education was established in his memory. She didn’t look any older then a high school student and it made me sad to know she lost her father so young. But the fact that she was up there, singing in her father’s memory, and not crying…we knew she was a strong. Certainly stronger then me as I teared up once I realized who she was and what she meant to the show.  It must feel wonderful to see that your father touched so many lives.  It must be wonderful to know that all those amazing guitar legends up on stage were actually men who look after their own and I am sure have taken her under their wing over the years.  It was a lovely and touching performance of an otherwise tedious song.

This show was supposed to end at 11:50pm, due to city/venue rules.  This set ended at 11:30pm and we KNEW that we were not going anywhere for sometime because now….it was time for The Allman Brothers Band, but not before almost a 40 minute set break.

Set List: Railroad Boy > Blind Man In The Dark, Steppin’ Lightly, Banks Of The Deep End, I’m A Ram (with Gordie Johnson, Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico), Dear Prudence (with Chuck Garvey, Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico), 32/20 Blues (with Hook Herrera, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson & Artemis Pyle), Stay With Me (with Rich Robinson & Artemis Pyle), Sometimes Salvation (with Rich Robinson, Robert Kearns & Artemis Pyle, without Jorgen Carlsson), Simple Man (with Artemis Pyle, Audley Freed & Robert Kearns, without Matt Abts & Jorgen Carlsson),Wishing Well (with Artemis Pyle & Audley Freed), Soulshine (with Savannah Woody & Artemis Pyle)

The Allman Brothers Band

Gregg Allman – Keys
Butch Trucks – Drums
Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson – Percussion
Warren Haynes – Guitar
Marc Quiñones – Percussion
Oteil Burbridge – Bass
Derek Trucks – Guitar

Special Guests:

Hook Herrera – Harmonica
Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Drums
Berry Oakley, Jr. (Bloodline, OKB) – Guitar
Audley Freed (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Chuck Garvey (moe) – Guitar
Danny Louis – Keyboards, Background Vocals
Vinnie Amico (moe) Drums
Jim Loughlin (moe)- Drums
Luther Dickinson – Guitar & Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Drums, & Electric Washboard
Matt Abts – Drums

The set break must have last over 40 minutes.  Sadly, my date for the evening felt the weight of the tiresome day during the obsessively long break and had to leave.  A set that was supposed to end at 11:40pm and didn’t even start until at least midnight.  This was insane but I only knew good things would come from those of us who had been standing on our feet for over five hours at this point.

Allman Brothers Band, Warren Haynes + Derek Trucks (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Allman Brothers Band, Warren Haynes + Derek Trucks (Photo by Allison Murphy)

When the music final started, my feet were aching, I was missing my date and fighting to hold my place up in the front row.  The masses pushed even closer as Derek entered the stage.  And for the first time since I was able to meet him on his tour bus during Mountain Jam (click to read), I was back into a super fan.  My legs buckled at first site, my smile exploded out the side of my face and I screamed like one of those chicks who faint when seeing the Beatles or Justin Beiber.  Derek-Mania was going through my entire body.  He is the one musician that makes me completely lose control.

Derek Trucks + Marc Quinones  (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Derek Trucks + Marc Quinones (Photo by Allison Murphy)

At this point, I am afraid I won’t be doing a great job of writing out exactly what went down.  Like I said, I get a little more then weak in the knees when I see Derek Trucks and stopping to takes notes or trying to recall everything when all I want to be doing is staring at his fingers, well…..I didn’t write much at all.

First, the overly handsome Oteil Burbridge joins the stage, followed by Warren Haynes and Gregg Allman who wander to their respective instruments.  It didn’t take more then 60 seconds for the rest of the members of The Allman Brothers Band, including Marc Quiñones on percussion, to lock into place and blast right into Don’t Want You No More, the first song on the first Allman Brothers album and an instrumental that was originally recorded by The Spencer Davis Group in 1967.  All I wrote in my notes is “Ok, I just need to dance now.”

Gregg Allman continued striking the keys and singing into This is Not My Cross to Bear, a song Greg wrote about an old girlfriend.  Both Derek and Warren were given ample time to release their talents through solos during this song so be sure to watch.  And as you watch Derek smile towards the camera right in the beginning of the following video, you can be sure he is smiling at me.  Oh yes!  To be sure **wink**

End of the Line was next.  Warren changed out his guitars for this one and ripped out an astounding solo.  Sometimes I just don’t understand how things can sound so different with every show.  Same style but soooo different in sounds.  At this point it is still only the members of The Allman Brothers Band gracing the stage and it proceeded that way for the following 5 songs.

Greg Allman + Danny Louis (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Greg Allman + Danny Louis (Photo by Allison Murphy)

So at this point, there is a lull in the sound throughout the audience and I catch myself SCREAMING like one of those Beatles Mania fans again: “DEREK I LOOOOOOOOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.”  No One Left To Run With was next, one of the few songs Dickey Betts wrote for the group but never sang.

Fun fact: This song was included on the 2002 compilation CD Mullets Rock!. For a while, The Allman Brothers were prime offenders of the haircut that was “Business in the front, party in the back.”

There was a gnarly guitar duel between Warren and Derek.  I mean it just never ends with these two.  Warren was  presenting us with such a phenomenal night of music and he was the ONLY musician to play in almost every song and at least in ever set.  He was the hardest working man in show buisness that night!  The drums in this song were killer.

Black Hearted Woman, also a song written by Gregg Allman about the same woman he wrote This is Not My Cross to Bear about, followed and continued right into Other One Jam, a Grateful Dead cover, until they begin inviting out the guests!!! Greg sang his heart out and the video shows it!


Hook Herrera came out and joined the boys for Who’s Been Talking. That man is an absolutely phenomenal harmonica player. I’ve said it a million times but I LOVE THAT INSTRUMENT. You can’t get a sound from any other instrument the way a sound is produced through a harmonica. It’s just soulful and the epitome of the blues to this southern gal.

Artimus Pyle + Audley Freed (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Artimus Pyle + Audley Freed (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Midnight Rider, a crowd favorite,followed.  Now, the original version of the song was with Duane Allman playing.  I believe  Gregg Allman re-made it a few years later (correct me if I am wrong).  If you listen to older recordings, you can hear and feel Duane and Dickeys’ opposing styles very well. So amazing.  Also, in 2005, this was used in the opening credits of Rob Zombie‘s horror flick The Devil’s Rejects.  Who doesn’t love that kind of product placement!?

Midnight Rider was followed by One Way Out. This song welcomed out Rich Robinson, Berry Oakley Jr. & Artemis Pyle to the stage.  I don’t know why but the videographers apparently must have run out of time or video because the Allman Brothers YouTube videos begin dying off around this point.

Warren Haynes + Berry Oakley Jr (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Berry Oakley Jr (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Statesboro Blues saw all guests leave the stage except for Berry Oakley Jr..  Berry Oakley Jr. is the son of Berry Oakley, a founding member and original bass player for The Allman Brothers Band who sadly passed away in 1972.  It was a tribute for many people this evening and I was hoping people recognized the significance.   Berry Oakley, Jr. left the stage and was replaced by Audley Freed & Danny Louis on guitar and keys respectively for The Band‘s The Weight.

Chuck Garvey, Jim Loughlin, Jimmy Vanderbogart & Vinnie Amico came out to join The Allmans during one of my all time favorite Grateful Dead songs, Franklin’s Tower. Got to be honest with you and admit I have NO CLUE who Jimmy Vanderbogart is and I can’t find any info online that can give me more insight – If you know, please comment.

Southbound followed with the addition of the Dickenson Brothers joining the crowd on stage along side Hook Herrera and Danny Louis.  This was one of my favorite songs of the set simply because it was The Allman Brothers with this North Mississippi Allstars Duo and a freaking harmonica.  SOUTHERN GREATNESS!!!

All guests exited the stage and a RAGING Whipping Post closed out the set.  Derek Trucks once again showing us he is the king of the slide guitar. Once again showing me that he is the king of kings in my world when it comes to the guitar.

Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

As my girlfriend and I walked away, we realized it was almost 2am in the morning on a work night.  We discussed leaving before the encore and went to the restroom.  Coming back up from the basement bathrooms, we smiled at each other as we heard the   stage light up again.  We couldn’t leave.  Not this time.  Warren Haynes began strumming the chords to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. And without uttering a word, the entire venue began singing the lyrics.  Warren places his hand behind his ears and the venue sings louder.  Berry Oakley, Jr., Gordie Johnson, Danny Louis and Matt Abts joined the stage for the remainder of the song with images of Woody’s face flashing smiles across the screen behind them.  And I cried…for the third or fourth time that night.

Set List: Don’t Want You No More, Ain’t My Cross To Bear, End Of The Line, No One Left To Run With, Black Hearted Woman > Other One Jam, Who’s Been Talking, Midnight Rider, One Way Out, Statesboro Blues, The Weight, Franklin’s Tower, Southbound, Whipping Post

Encore: Wish You Were Here

What an amazing night of music!!  Simply amazing. The epitome of love and community within southern rock was found on that stage this night.  I truly wish I could offer you a free download but alas…..

Click here to DOWNLOAD/STREAM/LISTEN to the show!

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LET THE FESTIVAL SEASON BEGIN…

(or as I like to call it: On Your Marks, Get Set, RAAAAAAAGE!!!)

Hudson Valley Resort and Spa

Hudson Valley Resort and Spa

Rock The Resort II.  What a mess of a success!  Where does one begin?  I was slated to leave my apartment at 10:30am to meet my buddies at the end of the 4 train in Woodlawn.  I was up at 7am wide awake after falling asleep only 5 hours earlier. It was like Christmas, too excited to sleep.  At the same time around the East Coast in Upstate NY, Vermont and Philadelphia, I knew my kindred spirits in music were waking up and beginning their own trips toward their Rock the Resort II adventures.  This made me smile.

Driving with Eric and Tony @ Rock The Resort II

"Listen, we are listening to nothing but New Riders on the way up."

When Eric picked me up from the train station, his first words when I got in the car were “You’re excited aren’t you?  I could see your smile from a couple blocks away.”  Indeed, I was geeking out at this point!!!  After a much needed chill session in Woodlawn, Eric, T, and I piled our gear into the car and set off for the 2 hours trip to Kerhonkson, New York.  Half an hour into the ride, I felt I wasn’t in the city anymore and I loved it.  The trees were turning green and signs of Spring were everywhere.  The rolling hills threw me back to The Valley in Virginia and I fiercely missed home at that moment.  With the roof top open, the smells of Spring were welcoming unlike in parts of Manhattan where I believe we should all wear gas masks.

Fatty McRage

Fatty McRage ~ He was my fav 🙂

Arriving at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa, it was immediately clear that the place had seen some better days.  Run down and tired, there were stains all over the carpet, holes in our closet door, bottle openers attached to the back of our bathroom doors…the list goes on.  Don’t get me wrong, the Resort totally served it’s purpose that weekend but the place was by no means classy!  And it is just as well because the majority of wookies attending this festival were not the kind to take their time and put their trash in the trashcan or their cigarette out in the ashtrays.  I mean, as soon as we entered the lobby, we saw a dog take a leak right on the carpet.  Dayum!  Apparently, the resort was animal friendly so dogs were allowed in the venue and even in the stage areas.  At times, it was very captivating to turn and see a dog resting his head on his paws, watching the show with you.  I just wish they they not be allowed on the dance floor.  That made for a lot of jerked leashes and frightened dogs.  And above you, Fatty McRage.  I deemed him so as the poor thing was, as the talented Jeffery Lockhart would later say, “To fat to even bark!”

View from 1707
View from 1707 ~ I can dig it!

Everyone arrived just about the same time.   Parting ways from Eric and T in the check-in line, I joined up with Aaron, my roommate for the weekend and a fabulous cat I met on Jamcruise 8!!  The sign-in process was a mess.  There was no organization and the staff had little to no knowledge on what was going on.  After trying to gather information from the website in the weeks  prior and recognizing it’s lack of organization, I knew we were in for a little mess.  We managed to get through the line a lot faster then most and went to check out our room.   All the way at the end of the hall, with a king bed and a large windowed view of the lake and Willow trees,  it was a nice place to face plant when the time would come.  I immediately jumped all over the bed when I entered the room.  I suggest you always jump on the bed in the hotels!  I do it every single time!

Murry, Trance & J-Man @ Rock The Resort II
Murray, Trance & J-Man wookin out the lobby

When we got settled in I set off to meet up with some friends, old and new.  My boys who drove me were right across the hall, Woot!  Justin, a fellow blogger and friend who maintains the Music Marauders website, was apparently kickin’ it in the Jacuzzi suite that weekend.  Seriously, he and Murray were raging in what turned out to be the nicest suite at the resort.  Apparently, the room had been booked months prior through Murray but it had been high-jacked for an “After Party” room of sorts so it was stocked with tons of mini fridges and what not.  Aside from the jacuzzi, there were plush leather couches and pretty bar near the front door and tons of space for wookies to pass out, which is just what happened.  We After-partied and Pre-partied the SHIT out of that room and ironically, numerous artists raged in the room as well, so really, all was as it was meant to be in reality.

Jaden and her fan!
Jaden @ Rock The Resort II

There was music at this thing right?  Got to be honest, it was nice not having a jam packed lineup of amazing music.  This festival is perfect for hanging out with friends, chillin with the artists, networking, and just going full face melt.  I had a friggen blast.  I never felt I was truly missing anything if I was not in front of the stage.  There were, of course, those few bands I HAD to see this weekend, but if I were at Wanee or Jam Cruise, I wouldn’t have moved from the stage and ended up speaking to no one.  So, bare with me because by the time I checked out my first show, my handwritten notes had already become illegible.  At 7pm the music was set to begin; Jaden on the Empire Stage and Roots of Creation on the Manhattan Stage.  Both acts I had never seen.  Both venues were located side by side so you could just walk 55 feet and be in front of the other stage.  The wall dividing them was a wall of windows sometimes covered by curtains…or not.

Jaden @ Rock The Resort II
Jaden @ Rock The Resort II

The first act I caught was Jaden.  I had heard so much about this little lady that I had to check her out.  Wow.  The talent that child has playing the guitar is going to grow and I can’t WAIT to see her in like 10 years.  Hell, I can’t wait to see her in five.  I only checked out a song or two, both of which were covers; Bob Marley’s Mellow Moon and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.  Both of which she played consistently on point. When she starts taking liberties with her solos I have a feeling she is going to spit fire.  She has quite a way to go with her voice but she has talent in those fingers at the age of 8 that some won’t have when they are 80.  And how sweet was it to see that Jaden had a posse of about 8 tweens who were there fanning it up!

Roots Of Creation @ Rock The Resort II
Roots Of Creation @ Rock The Resort II

After a few songs I walked over to watch Roots of Creation’s set. I had heard good things.  There were maybe 15 people in the theater.  I sat in one of the rolling chairs on the first tier of the theater and propped my feet up for the rest of their set.  My understanding was that they were reggae but the first few songs I heard were groovy and full of trippy jam.  I remember feeling that it was too slow for the moment but I didn’t move. I was locked in my chair and my arms were to heavy to write.  I turned in my chair and saw a golden retriever, head resting on it’s paws, laying serenely on the table, straight up smiling.  Yeah, I guess they did kinda rock!

Soulive @ Rock The Resort II
Soulive @ Rock The Resort II

At this point I peeled myself out of the chair and made my way up to the Jacuzzi suite and a few other friends rooms, missing Sellassie & Alchemy Unit.  My hall had become Shakedown Street within the first hour so I stayed away from that floor most of the night.  I was able to kick it with Nigel Hall while he got ready for his set.  We talked music and wardrobe.  He was lookin’ forward to the show and going to see his son the following day!  We headed to the lobby by way of the elevator where we ran into Justin, Trance and the rest of the guys making their way down for the Soulive set.  See, the very FEW of us who were there to see live music knew when to get their our asses out of our rooms.  Soulive was one of the shows NOT to miss this weekend.

Skerik and Nigel Hall @ Rock The Resort II
Skerik and Nigel Hall @ Rock The Resort II

They completely kicked it off hard.  This was the first time all day that the theater had more then 30 people in it!! It was the first time all day I actually heard a CHEER from a CROWD.  But that is exactly what I expected. When Soulive plays, people go see them.  And they planted it hard.  The trio kicked it off with a few throw backs from their older discs and a few from their new Rubber Soulive album. Eleanor Rigby made it’s way in as it always does.  Nigel Hall was brought on stage as he always is.  The moment I was really waiting for was coming.  Skerik..Skerik…Skerik with Soulive.  Two of my favorites…together.  This is why I had bought my ticket.

Al Evans @ Rock The Resort II
Al Evans @ Rock The Resort II

When Skerik came out, the stage decided to fight back. The microphone that had been set up for Skerik was not working.  This was incredibly frustrating but the only thing you can do is hope the artist bend and that is what they did.  Nigel went from singing into the mic to planting it in Skerik’s horn so we could hear him solo.  The exchange went on  for a few songs and the mic never never did get fixed even after an extensive attempt.  But that was the charm of it all, no?  Skerik left Nigel with the microphone and exited the stage.  Soulive, with Nigel raging his vocals, belted out a few more songs before ending the set.  It was time to go play with friends again.  At this point the elevator rides were getting longer and more animated as they both decided to just pick and choose which floor they would stop on only after going between the basement and lobby three times.  Reminding me of Jam Cruise, they had a formula; the formula was fun.  The elevators are crucial to the experience!

Particle @ Rock The Resort II

Particle @ Rock The Resort II

After running around the resort again, it was time for more music.  Particle was playing next and I had not seen them in YEARS!!  I made my way down to the theater and set myself up.  The people packed the theater for this group as well.  I am not sure if they played numerous songs or if it was one long song but I felt like they didn’t stop for a very long time once they started.  I liked what I heard.  It was consistent and rockin’ pretty hard when I decided to use the restroom.  THANK GOD for a tiny bladder because in the Lobby was Nigel Hall, Soulive and a grand piano that was about to Rock the Resort hard!  I am not even sure if this was on the schedule to be honest.  Everything was so disorganized and there were none available to us.  But scheduled or not, this was magic in the making.

Soulive watching Nigel Hall and Skerik @ Rock The Resort II

Soulive watching Nigel Hall and Skerik @ Rock The Resort II

As I walk over, Eric tells me to put my boa on Nigel.  Apparently he needs a little pick me up!  Ha!  It wasn’t long before the boa was off and the music was on!!!   At first it was Neal and Nigel on the Grand, Eric on the congas and Alan smiling widely behind them; just playing around and feelin’ things out.  Then Eric and Alan stepped away as the microphone was handed to Nigel.  He sang a lovely rendition of Donnie Hathaway’s “Singing this Song to You,” while Neal played the keys.  Skerik shows up at this point and his horn case was laid down besides him.  The word was out!  It was funny because you could see Skerik itching to jump in.  He bites his lower lip.  MMMM!!!   It was Nigel’s turn to take the lobby over for himself.  Just him, his voice, and his keys. It was beautiful, as it always is.  Skerik can’t handle it anymore and he pulls up a chair beside Nigel as they play a beautiful, slow melodic tune with a soft horn and simple keys.

Soulive, Nigel Hall & Skerik @ Rock The Resort II

Soulive, Nigel Hall & Skerik @ Rock The Resort II

The lobby was slowly filling up with people as they had heard a completely different sound then what was coming from the theater.  At one point someone ran out of the theater and screamed, “Particle is playing live right over here!!”  The lobby responded by not moving and sticking around to see what was definitely the most special of moments for those who knew what they were witnessing.  Improvisation and musical freedom at its best.  Talent mixing at its best.  The artists themselves were having a BLAST at that moment.  Kraz’s smile never faded.  After the slow tune it was on.  Nigel and Skerik are both out of their seats and Neal is back down on the keys, Alan is on the congas and into “I’ll Never Know” with Kraz helpin’ out on the chorus!  Such a family affair!!

There is a mix of players all over the instruments.  At one point we had Nigel Hall and Neal Evans on the Grand.  Alan Evans on the congas and Skerik on the horn. Then Eric had his guitar.  The wookies were picking up the percussion instruments and the lobby was on fire!!!  Particle apparently played a great set and it was a shame that I was unable to truly give them a listen before running into the magic land.  But I truly enjoyed the hell out of the lobby performance.  Those are the moments that make it all worth it.

Break Science @ Rock The Resort II

Break Science @ Rock The Resort II

After that awesome musical adventure, we had tons tons of time to kill before Break Science would make their way to the stage.  I was able to kick it with the boys from Soulive for a while before I started wanting familiar faces.  During that time, Kraz is on the phone asking Adam Deitch when he plans on getting here as his set was meant to happen 20 minutes ago and he was still 2 hours away in Brooklyn.   That is how things went at this festival.  And it was ok, because like I said, it was so much fun getting to hang with your friends without feeling like you were missing great music.  And half the people never left their rooms anyway.  The lulls and downtime allowed for some rather rad adventures that otherwise wouldn’t have happened if things had happened on schedule.  I headed up to the 8th floor where the Jacuzzi suite entertained me until Break Science finally arrived!!

Borahm Lee @ Rock The Resort II

Borahm Lee @ Rock The Resort II

Meant to go on Saturday night, Break Science was moved to replace Segway that night as Deicth had an engagement in Australia that he need to attend.  I arrived at the theater a little early so I wandered into the Empire stage.  The window wall had the curtains opened so as I listened to a rather funky band, who I have no idea of their name, as  I watched Break Science set up.  What an interesting perspective.  I could hear Break Science’s sound in my head as they set up but my actual music backdrop was the jam happening on the stage behind me.  Finally, I saw Deitch sit down at the drums.  It was time to walk through the window…

Adam Deitch @ Rock The Resort II

Adam Deitch @ Rock The Resort II

I swear Adam Detich’s bones are made of drum sticks.  Seriously, he is amazing.  And Borham Lee, I would like to get inside his brain.  With grimy dubstep and hiphop beats flaring, we danced our asses off until 6am I believe. I had completely and utterly lost track of time at that place hours ago.  The highlight of the show was the Drums vs. Beat battle between Adam Deitch and Radioactive.  Scheduled to battler earlier that day, they ended the day with an assault on the senses.  Radio would beat box a gnarly beat and Deitch would rock it back through his drums and visa versa.  It takes a talented ear to do what they did and it really was awesome.  After a heavy session of dance beats and a battle like that, the night of music was finally over.

At the end of the Break Science set,  everyone headed off to their various rooms for a raging night of various mixed adventures with their friends; the cracked out elevator stopping to open on every thrashed floor.  Heading to the eight floor, everyone exited the packed elevator aside from myself, Skerik and RadioActive.  I mention that Radio’s shirt is off the hook as it looks like a ribcage made of microphones.  Radio jokes that he is thinking of having it tattooed on his chest as Skerik sees it and gets wide eyed. “Yeah man, that’s really cool,” says Skerik as he opens Radio’s hoodie to get a better look.  No, chillin’ in the elevator with Skerik and Radio was cool 🙂  The shirt pattern was a bonus!   We all exited the elevator and headed to the room of our fancy.   I spent the rest of the night/morning, chillin’ with my favorite wookies in the Jacuzzi suite.  Ben from Particle, among others, raged with us and we all talked music, listetend to music and made music.  Eventually, the sun came up which meant it was time for us to lay down.  We had another day of fun coming up in a few hours.

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