Allman Brothers’ NYC Show Offered Chance to ‘Suspend Reality’
The performance, at which the group billed itself as the Brothers, was a tribute to late co-founders Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks, who both died in 2017. It took place at Madison Square Garden just as the severity of the coronavirus began to become clear. Precautions were already being taken, but the idea of calling off of the show remained no more than a thought.
“You were definitely trying to avoid shaking hands and getting too close to people,” Trucks told Rolling Stone. “There was a lot of Purell. Everyone was OCD-ing washing their hands. I had guests, but I stayed in the dressing room and saw just my immediate family and crew. I try to self-quarantine before a gig anyway to make sure my head’s in the right place. So in that sense it wasn’t that different.”
Asked if canceling had been considered, Trucks replied, “I certainly was floating it around in my head, but it wasn’t my call. It was just starting to dawn on everyone that day that this isn’t something to fuck around with. We were doing four days of rehearsals, and everyone was playing that music for the first time in a while and telling stories and remembering people we’d lost. You’re kind of in two different worlds. You’re of two minds. If you postpone six or eight months, you never know how it’s going to be between now and then. But it also felt like one of the last moments for a long time when people would be able to suspend reality and let go.”
Two days later, Trucks took part in the Love Rocks benefit show also in New York. By that time more restrictions were in place, and the performance was streamed with a cut-down audience in the room.
“That was the day they shut down - no gatherings over 500 people,” he recalled. “So they did the show just for the webcast with maybe 200 or 300 guests in the audience. It felt so strange to look at over the Beacon and see a few hundred people dancing and having a good time but keeping their distance. It was an odd scene. That one felt like the last party before the end of the world.”
He added that he was feeling well at home. “It feels like I should probably get tested," he said. "But you need to stay home and quarantine for two weeks. You don’t want to be responsible for passing it along. My parents are right down the street. My grandfather is a mile away. So you can’t take that chance.”