Gov’t Mule’s The Deepest End concert album is nothing
short of a stroke of genius. Culminating a rigorous tour in tribute
to the late Allen Woody (who founded Mule along with front-man
Warren Haynes after breaking from the Allman Brothers), this two
album-plus DVD compilation fuses the incendiary guitar of Haynes
and the impeccable backing by drummer Matt Abst, with some of the
finest musical talent the world over.
The two concert albums kick off with the rocking blues riffs of
“Bad Little Doggie” and never stop to breathe. From the straight
rock of “Which Way Do We Run?” to the funkified “Sco-Mule” and
still reaching further to the softer “Beautifully Broken,”
featuring inserted lyrics from Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” The
Deepest End showcases the best of all the varying styles Mule
Obviously focused more on the incomparable instrumental
improvisations than lyrics, the band often takes its delicate time
to allow special guests to flaunt their best work. But
straight-rock tunes like “Patchwork Quilt” return focus to the
poignantly palpable poetry Haynes is capable of creating.
While the band had an entire wish list of rock legends on its
studio tribute albums The Deep End Volumes 1 & 2, it had
an equally jaw-dropping list of special guests to play on the
concert album. Ranging from the complete Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Horns to the individual contributions of Victor Wooten, Jack
Casady, Les Claypool and more than 15 additional supporting
appearances, one would be hard pressed to find a comparable list of
talent in a collective box set as in this double disc.
Still, the true treasure from the night comes in the DVD that
accompanies the concert album. Watching the show forces the visibly
striking image of Haynes literally pouring his soul onto the stage
as well as the sheer fun these musicians have together, many
playing with each other for the first time. And if all that wasn’t
enough, a nifty bonus video with interviews throughout the show is
probably the most enjoyable part of the package.
Rating: 4 stars.