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Gov’t Mule:
The Tabernacle - Atlanta, GA
October 18, 2012

Photos and words by Ian Rawn / playindead.org
On Thursday October 18th Gov’t Mule came to Atlanta in support of their latest live release The Georgia Bootleg Box which features three classic shows from 1996, specifically the Athens > Atlanta > Macon run. It was no coincidence that this fall tour would contain the same trio of meaningful cities and as you might imagine, expectations were high.

After what appeared to be a spectacular outing the night prior in Athens, the Atlanta show kicked off with an energetic “Bad Little Doggie.” This certainly got the crowd going who was eager for music after the always enjoyable Colonel Bruce/Tinsley Ellis collaboration that had opened the show. The first set progressed nicely and had some great highlights such as “Lola Leave Your Light On,” “Rocking Horse” and the closer “Thorazine Shuffle” which featured Oteil Burbidge on bass.

This was a very good start, but the second set really took it up a notch. Kicking it off was “No Reward” which was followed by Bob Marley’s “Lively Up Yourself.” This was a rather interesting version that was mostly instrumental with occasional lyrics. This definitely got things grooving along nicely and had some solid support by the crowd. Up next was one of my favorite moments of the evening, the sandwich of Deep Purple’s “Hush” between the always dirty “Slackjaw Jezebel.” At this point the crowd was in high gear; dancing, laughing and getting down. The set did not slow down from there as the band ripped into “Larger than Life,” “Child of the Earth,” and “Blind Man in the Dark.” Most notably was “Blind Man” which had both “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “When the Music’s Over” teases.

All this was just build up for the guests that would come out for the night ending double encore which contained four songs in total. With so many stellar musicians in the house, there was no doubt that the encore would be special. First up was Tinsley Ellis, who joined Mule for “Need Your Love so Bad” and the classic blues song “The Hunter” that was first recorded by Albert King. For the final song of the first encore, Mule and Tinsley were joined by Oteil Burbridge, Col. Bruce Hampton, and what must have been his entire band known as “Pharaoh’s Kitchen” for a massive always welcome “Turn On Your Lovelight.”

After this monster tune the show could have easily ended but the crowd cheered on. For another time, all members returned to the stage for one last tune, Little Milton’s “That’s What Love Will Make you Do.” As if the show wasn’t already smoking hot, this encore set the Tabernacle ablaze delivering on those high expectations and evoking thoughts of the fabled collaborations between Tinsley, Col. Bruce, Burbidge and Haynes.

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