Live review: Warren Haynes @ the Ogden Theatre, Day 2By Jason Blevins | May 26th, 2011 | 1 Comment »
It took a while for Warren Haynes to grab the Ogden Theatre on Wednesday night. After a first set of mostly newly minted — and largely predictable and un-engaging — cuts off his new “Man In Motion” album, Haynes had not really taken control of the room as he often does.
But slung with an acoustic to start the second set, Haynes found the crowd’s sweet spot for the first or second time of the night with his “Patchwork Quilt,” an ode to the late Jerry Garcia, whose captivating gravitas survives — at least a little bit — in Haynes’ swirling growl. His beguiling covers of Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic” and John Lennon’s Dylan-esque “Working Class Hero,” were subtly elevated.
Like the vast quiver of covers Haynes enhances with studied style, elevating those who surround him is the 51-year-old’s strongest gift. Yes, he shreds powerful, seductive leads and sings with moving intensity. But his skill at cajoling his bandmates to excellence — serving as a springboard that jettisons their work into inspired, thicker grooves — anchors Haynes’ best moments.
It was no different Wednesday night. Haynes — armed with a rotating pair of his treasured Les Pauls — cleaved electricity into operatic singer Alfreda Gerald’s resonant touch in Little Feat’s “Sailing Shoes.” He wove Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey,” featuring Gerald at her gospel-tinged finest, into a soaring “Soulshine” in the first set. He slowed Clapton’s “Sneaking Sally Through The Alley” to a syrupy slink, intensifying Gerald’s stirring voice. His light wah-wah on the Feat’s “Spanish Moon” gave rise to saxman Ron Holloway’s creamy licks.
While there was plenty of Haynes ripping his trademark vibrant solos, Haynes’ work glowed as he mellowed and opened doors for his band. He animates the already gifted with subtle coaxing that builds to monster, often unexpected jams. Think about it: young Derek Trucks and Matt Abt, the late Alan Woody and the great Dicky Betts — have all climbed to some of their brightest moments with Haynes. He did the same thing Wednesday with the Warren Haynes Band.
Jason Blevins is a strange dancer, but that has never stopped him.