Gregg AllmanGregg Allman at The Usher Hall, Edinburgh
6th July 2011
Photograph by marc marnie
The Boss is not a clarty man, but has spent much of the last week in his favourite T-shirt, a souvenir of the only time he saw a real live Allman Bro.
Nearly the whole front row of Edinburgh's Usher Hall was block booked by friends, many more were dotted around the auditorium. Everyone loves the Allman Bros.
It was the 6th of July 2011.
Photo passes had been arranged weeks in advance, Getty Images were awaiting images. The only worry was a delay in the train returning Janet from a work trip to London.
Texts also flew to America where there was sudden confusion over the photo pass...
Here's the system: Photographer applies for pass, pass is arranged, photographer arrives at venue, collects the pass and spends the first three numbers making photographs. This is a wonderful example of a universe in harmony with itself.
Just occasionally, though, there is a bump on the event horizon and the photographer arrives to find that nobody knows anything about a pass. Not only that, but nobody really cares very much about the pass. Other, that is, than the photographer.
The most annoying thing is it's entirely understandable. Only the photographer really imagines that, in an evening dedicated to a stage full of Olympian heroes playing actual live music, his role is of any great significance. It really isn't. At least not until at very least the next day when the photos appear in the press or, better still, forty years on when they have become history.
Imagine you are a Tour Manager:
The get-in and get-out are probably the least of your worries; there's also accommodation, meals, transport, per diems, equipment, merchandise, ticket sales, backlines, lighting, sound, accounting and much, much more. And this assumes the band to be automata - not a wavy brained bunch of artists who are appropriately behaviourally challenged. I don't mean to imply they are all Keith Moons, but certain artist related needs must also be catered for.
Anyway; now you have the band behind the curtain.... the audience, hopefully, in front.. and you get a call to say "there's some guy out here with a camera asking about his photo pass..."
Even as 'some guy with a camera' I know the Boss's sympathies are usually with the T.M. (There are some notable exceptions which will undoubtedly appear in later blogs)
To cut a long story short, if it's not too late, after a number of gut wrenchingly expensive mobile calls to London and New York, a pass was grudgingly forthcoming and access permitted from a distance for two numbers only.
The backstage portrait got away.
Yet the abiding memory is of the beautiful show
It may have been mellower and sadder than anticipated but from the opening Statesboro' Blues it was clear that the former wild man's heart and soul were more than a match for any aging of the bones. Gregg Allman's voice remains one of the most recognisable and finest in the history of music.
And he wrote Whipping Post.
To cap things off Janet rushed in direct from the train and just in time for the final, and best, four numbers.
Afterwards, claiming she needed a change of shirt after the train journey and despite protestations from the ever financially challenged Boss, she bought an obscenely expensive T-shirt.
Of course, it later turned out to be a gift for him.
He is wearing it now.
RIP GREGG ALLMAN (8.12.1947 - 27.5.2017)