BOOTLEG SERIES #5: The Allman Brothers Band – Live at Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA. 15th October 1971

This show marks Duane Allman’s third last with the band. They would go on to perform at Marietta College Gym, Marietta, Ohio the next day and Painters Mill Music Fair, Owings Mills, Maryland the day after. This bootleg contains the recordings of the band in the final stages of life before being ripped apart by the death of Duane Allman on the 29th October, 14 days later. The band would continue without him up until the present day but their sound would completely change.

As per usual in 1971, the band open with a fearsome rendition of the Blind Willie McTell song, Statesboro Blues. It’s interesting to note that Duane’s solo intro over the bands rhythm playing is almost note for note the same as the famous Fillmore performance earlier in the year. Both Duane Allman and Dickey Betts are on top form here with both trading solos while the rest of the band powers on. Berry Oakley’s bass playing is such a driving force as well, almost like a lead instrument with the two guitars.

Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’ and Done Somebody Wrong continue the hard hitting pace the band laid down in the first song, the latter being particularly explosive. One Way Out, one of my personal favourite songs the band performed live, sounds great. Betts begins the extended guitar intro with help from the audience before the rest of the band come in to start the 12 bar format which continues until the end. Such a great song, such a great rendition. Nearly every performance of this song ends before the 5 minute mark (until 1972 anyway) which is a shame.

During In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed, the band play their first “laid back” song of the set compared to the pace and fire of the four previous songs. At 10 minutes in length this is probably one of the shorter versions of the song but boy do the Brothers pack a lot in. A Dickey Betts song, it’s purely instrumental. Recorded on their second album Idlewild South, the band took this song to another level every time it was played live. Here is no exception. Hot ‘Lanta, another instrumental, follows. It contains the first drum solos of the night.

  1. Statesboro Blues
  2. Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
  3. Done Somebody Wrong
  4. One Way Out
  5. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed
  6. Hot ‘Lanta
  7. Stormy Monday
  8. You Don’t Love Me
  9. Revival
  10. Trouble No More

This is followed by one of the best songs they ever performed live in Stormy Monday. Gregg Allman sounds fantastic on vocals and his brother Duane explodes just like he did on every version of the song. Dickey Betts sounds great as well, absolutely untouchable. Just over midway through the song, the pace picks up and you know something fantastic is coming. At the 4:50 mark you’re rewarded with a wonderful solo that rivals any other solo ever played.

You Don’t Love Me, another personal favourite of mine, is performed incredibly by the band with Duane in particular firing on all cylinders. This very rendition contains some of the best solos he ever played with the band. You can’t help but wonder how much better he would have become if he hadn’t have been killed in a motorcycle accident only two weeks later. The things he did with a guitar are enough to give you goosebumps. Towards the end of this song, Duane and Dickey fire solos at each other while the band again sit back and power through. Berry Oakley’s bass playing is exquisite here.

Two songs remain, the first being a Dickey Betts song called Revival which featured on their second album Idlewild South. The band didn’t play this very often but they sound great here. And finally, Trouble No More, a Muddy Waters song the band always played live, especially in 1971. It also featured on their debut album, The Allman Brothers Band, in 1969. Betts takes the first solo here and Duane the second. It’s weird thinking that this is the last recorded solo Duane played.

What a show. And pretty good quality too. The setlist differed somewhat to previous shows they played in 1971, with Whipping Post and Mountain Jam being the most noticeable songs they didn’t play. You can only wonder what new heights the band would have reached in 1972 if Duane had lived. They powered on with just one guitar in 1972 before Berry Oakley was tragically killed at the end of the year, nearly a year to the day that Duane was killed the year before. A member overhaul would occur after that with the band never sounding the same again.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s