Words & Photos by Rod Snyder
The Mule rode into Upper Darby with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood in tow on their “Come What May Tour”. The band is touring for their upcoming release “Revolution Come…Revolution Go” which will hit the streets next month.
The show started off with the burning of Nag Champa, prior to the Chris Robinson Brotherhood taking the stage, a long tradition for the Brother Robinson. The set consisted of 8 songs, but the standout for me was “Rosalee”. Guitarist Neil Casal was dialed-in this night, and showed his talent throughout the set. Their opening slot ended with a cover of Slim Harpo’s “Got Love If You Want It”. One thing I noticed about Chris this set, was how happy he seems now. I’ve seen him in concert a lot, and he was all smiles this night – smiles abound!
Mule took the stage a little after 9:00 for their first set. Warren Haynes greeted the crowd then turned to his trusty Les Paul and kick-started the show with an amazing version of the Allman Brothers tune, “Dreams”. The crowd ate it up of course, and asked for seconds!
A few songs later, they paid tribute to the late Chris Cornell with a cover of Soundgarden’s hit, “Fell On Black Days”. I believe this was only the second time they played this, the first being in 2008. The last song of the first set approached, and out walks Chris Robinson and Neil Casal to join Warren for a song. But what would they play? Chris’s band the New Earth Mud opened up for Gov’t Mule in 2004 and they sang together each night for a few songs, so they did have a selection of songs they could play. They settled in and the opening chords of “Sometimes Salvation” echoed through the halls of the Tower Theater. Many people in attendance (including myself) didn’t think they’d ever hear Chris sing that song again, let alone with Warren & Co. It may not have been so unexpected, but Chris was a recent guest on the Howard Stern Show, and said some things regarding the Black Crowes disbanding. This among other things said in other interviews, made any Black Crowes song an unexpected candidate. All that aside, as a big Black Crowes fan, it was great to hear it sung live again…perhaps for the last time??
The second set opened up with “Effigy” and some older selections and covers done throughout Mule’s 23 year journey. The show ended with 2 encores – a cover of the classic Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah”, followed by “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” a Blind Willie Johnson cover.
The show ended a few minutes before midnight, and I’d say the crowd got it’s money’s worth. Warren knows how to put on a show!
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