A piece of Georgia music history hits stores Tuesday as a legendary Allman Brothers Band live recording from the Macon City Auditorium gets its first wide release.
On February 11, 1972, the band returned to their hometown of Macon to play their first concert there as a five-piece.
Just months before, lead guitarist Duane Allman had been killed in a motorcycle accident a few miles from the Big House, the mansion he and his band mates shared in Macon's tony Vineville neighborhood.
"I can only imagine what the extended family of the Allman Brothers Band felt like that day," said E. J. Devokaitis, curator-archivist of the Allman Brothers Museum at the Big House. "Getting in their cars, or on their bikes, and heading downtown for the first show without Duane. It had to be a real intense experience."
Fans who saw the concert say any doubts about the band's ability to carry on without their lead guitarist were quickly put to rest.
"I was amazed at how they stepped up to the plate," recalled Skoots Lyndon, who watched the show from the wings.
Second guitarist Dickey Betts had big shoes to fill that night, and "he really started to shine," Lyndon said.
Also apparent on the concert recording is how bassist Berry Oakley started playing more melodic lines further up the neck, filling some of the space Duane Allman left behind.
A recording of the show was previously released in limited quantities via mail order, but this CD release is the first time it's being made widely available.