Allman, a month into his 66th year, was robust and fully engaged, backed by a six-piece band (five of them based in NYC, along with a Memphis drummer). He opened at his familiar stage-right perch behind a Hammond B-3 organ, then alternated between this spot and up front on guitar.
His rebounded health showed most profoundly in his voice — hearty, with a soulful graininess that easily pushed into a full-on blues shout (like when he let loose a roar with “the eagle flies on Friday” during “Stormy Monday”). In Allman Brothers Band shows, his vocals are often an accouterment to long guitar forays. For Allman solo gigs, it’s the focal point.
His singing ran the gamut: tender and reflective on ballads such as "These Days," "Queen of Hearts" and an utterly moving “Melissa”; rambunctious on a funked-up reworking of “Whipping Post” and rumba-fied “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”; playful on the boogie-blues “Kerosene”; and something like twangy on “Floating Bridge,” the Sleepy John Estes tune Allman covered on his 2011 album Low Country Blues.
In all, Allman and company delivered a warm, engaging performance on an uncommonly cold night for the 1,851 in attendance.