Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Allman Brothers Band: One Way Out: Live at the Beacon Theatre [Sanctuary/Peach, 2004]
The best live album of their career because both age and youth suit them, and because--just compare this 2003-vintage double-CD to the recently dug-out Atlanta International Pop Festival set or the expanded Live at the Fillmore East--they're better now than they ever were. Right, the original Allmans were true visionaries, and there's no reason to think Warren Haynes or Derek Trucks would have become what they became in the blank space that vision filled. But both have more chops than 2001 layoff Dickey Betts or, sorry, Duane himself. On their solo/leader records, both prove better-than-average virtuosos. But in the band context they have the good sense to play Duane's kind of music. Power audio, curtailed drum solos, and songs not yet buried alive in the uncharted expanses of the Allmans' live catalog finish the concept, and at 55 Gregg finally sounds as if there's more to a man's life than the parlous fate of his latest erection. A-