The Allman Brothers Band, At Fillmore East
One year for my birthday, one of my best friends bought me two very different live albums. One was Ben Folds Live! and the other was At Fillmore East. Up until then, I had never really been a fan of live recordings. I mistakenly thought that all live songs should sound just like their studio-recorded counterparts. I also hadn’t been to many concerts at that point in my life, so I didn’t understand there is a certain energy that is trying to be captured with live albums. But I was willing to give At Fillmore East a try at the recommendation of my friend, especially because I had recently gained interest in blues music, and I was relatively unfamiliar with The Allman Brothers. My mind was blown. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend Duane Allman’s gut-wrenching slide-guitar work, and songs like the near 20-minute jams “You Don’t Love Me” and the album closer, “Whipping Post,” begged for repeated listens, despite their length. This can be heard near the end of the former track when the band slows down, gliding into the “Joy to the World” section, and someone in the audience emphatically yells out, “Play all night!” At Fillmore East captures the talent of a band in its heyday that not only played well, but played well together, showcasing the group’s vigor, exquisite timing and precision in what may be the greatest live album of all time.