Warren Haynes, Ogden Theater, Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One thing about people in Colorado, they LOVE their jam bands!  I just read a joke somewhere about ‘death, taxes and Widespread at Red Rocks’.  I have had to explain that I don’t smoke pot just as many times as people have tried to convince me on the merits of the 27 minute jam.  That being said, my buddy DLabbs and his girlfriend are not your average Deadheads, but they do enjoy jammin’ out once in awhile and judging by this review it’s not just so I don’t infringe on their date night…even if this show turned out to be more blues than jam. – k martini

With the pedigree of bands that Warren Haynes has played with, I anticipated a big sound for a venue the size of the Ogden. I had previously seen Warren Haynes hold his own with the likes of Phil Lesh and Friends, The Allman Brothers, and Widespread Panic. That is some SERIOUS company to be jamming with!

So what would Warren and his band bring to Denver on this random Tuesday night at the Ogden Theater? ‘Panic-type hippy jams? Allman-esque southern infused dabblings? Grateful Dead type interludes? All of the above? None of the above?

Warren and the band made it clear from the beginning…this would not be a jam band show… this would be a blues show. The first set of the show was full-on New Orleans blues with plenty of soul. Instead of channeling Widespread Panic, Warren and his band would channel The Neville Brothers. The band and the crowd got down and dirty for the first set.

The second set of the show began with Warren playing two solo and soulful bluesy ballads – just him and his guitar standing under the smoky lights. At this point in the show I could close my eyes and imagine that BB King was standing on stage playing for the crowd. I daresay Warren Haynes is venturing beyond skillful and adaptive guitarist into blues-legend territory, if he has not already arrived.

Just when I thought I had this show figured out… just when I had decided that Warren had reminded his ‘jam-band brethren of past’ what the blues is really all about (rather than the jam bands having been the influence over Warren in their time together), he switched gears and tricked me. After his ballads, the band joined him on stage and played several blues-oriented songs that ventured into some amazing “mini-jam sessions” that could have been straight out of a ‘Panic show. First and foremost, Warren is coming from the blues influence, but he made it clear that the all the jamming of the past had rubbed off.

A fellow concert go-er leaned over at one point in the second set and said, “I can’t wait to hear what he’s going to do next! You know he’s got a catalogue of over 400 songs to choose from!

Warren Haynes and his band are playing again tonight at The Ogden for round two. He let the crowd know there would be a completely different set for the second night. After last night, I’m wishing I had tickets for tonight too!

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