It is not often you get to experience a historic moment in the making, but on March 7th I witnessed just that, a historic musical moment where the sons of two music legends took the stage and performed two of their dads’ all-time hits, Blue Sky and Midnight Rider.
It was Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville TN. The show was Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam XX where I was the video producer for Blackbird Presents and AXS TV. This was Charlie Daniels’ 20th Volunteer Jam and it included an amazing lineup of southern rock royalty, including The Charlie Daniels Band, ALABAMA, Alison Krauss, Billy F Gibbons, Chuck Leavell, Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ricky Skaggs, The Oak Ridge Boys, Travis Tritt and Devon Allman & Duane Betts.
In the days leading up to the show, each artist rehearsed at a local sound studio at which point we got a glimpse of what was going to be a magical moment… Devon Allman (the son of the late famed southern rocker Gregg Allman and Duane Betts (the son of legendary Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts) came together to perform two classic Allman Brothers hits, Blue Sky and Midnight Rider. Right from the start, you could feel the chill in the air as the two came together on stage along with an incredible backing band which included Jamey Johnson, Audley Freed, Sam Bush and another Allman alumni, Chuck Leavell.
And then it happened, those first set of chords that are so unmistakenly “Blue Sky”. It was a surreal moment to see their fingers dance across the frets in perfect harmony. Together with Audley Freed taking the solo and then all four guitars melting together perfectly across the chorus echoing that classic Allman Brothers sound. At that moment I remember turning to the director in the production truck and yelling “you’ve got to get that jib shot with all four guitars playing simultaneously in harmony “, and sure enough if you watch the video (link below) you’ll see the shot as the camera swung across the stage from Jamey to Audley then Devon and Duane. It was a chilling moment.
Since then, the song has been mixed, mastered (by our good friend Dave Pirrocco) and the performance has been cut and aired on AXS TV. I can now sit back and listen to a historic musical moment that I was fortunate enough to see live.
Listen to a few seconds of the song above and check out the full video of the Blue Sky performance here.