Everything you may or may not have wanted to know about Xmas Jam

Everything you may or may not  have wanted to know about Xmas Jam-attachment0

We sent the unlikely Jon Reid (aka Jar-E) to review this year’s Christmas Jam on Saturday, Dec. 12. And of course we sent Jesse Hamm, who shot some supreme footage of the all-night event. Here, Reid’s dispatch, starting with check-in outside the Civic Center, with some videos thrown in:

I didn’t know what to expect when Xpress sent me to cover Christmas Jam. I like the Allman Brothers a lot. I have been to 14 Phish shows. I saw the Grateful Dead for the first and last time a few months before Jerry Garcia died. In high school I tried to “get dreadlocks” on multiple occasions. This is all to say that I have most definitely done the “jam” thing. But sometimes it feels like that kid putting corn-starch in his hair so many years ago was a completely different person.

Recently, a friend at work asked me if I think I would have gone to Woodstock if I were alive back then. I told him that it would depend on what kind of mood I was in. This is to say, I know the “vibe” is still inside of me.

What follows is a minute by minute journey of one open-hearted skeptic trying to reconnect with his inner jam.

4:54 p.m. “Hey bro, you got my extra?”

5:01 Somebody has definitely been smoking weed in this parking garage stairwell.

5:04 Christlike figure selling tickets out in front of Civic Center.

5:05 Lots of “Deadnecks” spotted (a Deadneck is a redneck who loves the Grateful Dead).

5:14 Backstage watching Warren sound check on TV feed with other journalists.

5:15 Warren asks for more “wah-wah scratch,” realizing I haven’t eaten anything yet today.

5:50 Wanted to “save the magic” and not see to much of Warren’s sound check. Decided to grab some food off the premises. Fellow press folk say “the Jam” went on till 5 a.m. last year. I must pace myself, in more ways than one. Not sure I can make it.

6:35 Wandering around town. Wondering what the hell I got myself into.

6:36 Weird dude looking at me.

6:45 Walking back to the venue.

6:54 Dudes selling nitrous balloons, referring to them as “ice cold fatties.”

7:02 Making my first attempt at securing free alcohol.

7:06 Successful.

7:07 Watching one of the unknown “guests” perform on the TV backstage. Singer sounds a lot like Bob Dylan.

7:08 They are playing chords such as A minor and C major.

7:09 I hear live music from somewhere that doesn’t correspond to what’s on the TV. I’m confused.

John Bell performs “Silent Night” at the 2010 Xmas Jam in Asheville, NC from Jesse Hamm on Vimeo.

7:14 At the side stage for the first time. It is the same dudes from the TV downstairs. Crazy Cats or some shit like that.

7:15 Letting these dudes play must be an example of Warren Haynes being a really nice guy.

7:17 Just got chewed out by bouncer for drinking a beer in the “working area.” He says “My pass is a working pass, not a drinking pass. If I’m going to drink I need to go out into the audience.” We obviously have very different definitions of “work.”

7:20 Amazingly huge and effective stage crew descends breaks down the Crazy Cats set up for “some rock and roll.”

7:22 Drinking beer in “audience.” Much better view than from side stage.

7:23 Bad-ass old Southern dude with white hair and beard lights up cigarette in full view of security like there’s nothing at all wrong with it. He is wearing brown camouflage.

7:27 Dude has smoked entire cigarette without incident. Possibly my new hero.

7:30 A friend just informed me that it was Missing Cats that just played, not Crazy Cats and that their keyboardist is from Widespread Panic. God, I feel like an idiot.

7:36 Umphrey’s McGee taking the stage. Getting another drink.

 

Umphrey’s McGee “1348” live at the 2010 Xmas Jam in Asheville from Jesse Hamm on Vimeo.

7:42 I’m assuming all of these cool-looking older black dudes backstage are from Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

7:43 Umphrey’s has Kevin Spacey on keys. I’m watching on TV.

7:44 This music makes Phish seem super meaningful.

7:46 A dude named John Bell guesting. Who the f—k is he?

7:48 “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.” White musicians do a lot of drugging and drinking to try to convincingly sing the blues. Still usually doesn’t work.

7:51 I’m going to go out on a limb and say that is uninspired.

7:52 I can hear Gregg Allman and his full band rehearsing “Dreams” in some backstage cavern right now. Sounds great.

7:54 This next song sounds SO much like Phish. So far I’m thinking the best this band can be is when they sound like a Phish cover band.

7:55 Realizing I need to go upstairs to get the full “vibe.”

7:56 Most of the guys from Umphrey’s look like the young upstart partner in a dental office who will eventually buy everybody else out.

7:57 Kevin Spacey playing a Moog!

7:58 Tapping solo!

8:00 Methinks the emperor has no clothes.

8:04 Back upstairs. Smells like hella weed.

8:06 Realizing how much relative charisma Phish has for a jam band.

8:19 Hanging with buddies. Umphrey’s is done. Warren is next.

8:44 Warren cranking it up, he seems totally ready to jam but shit’s still being set up.

8:45 Wait, not Warren! It’s another big red-head dude with a beard.

8:48 Just saw Martin Anderson from WNCW from a distance.

8:49 It’s really hot up here in the audience with all of these winter clothes on. Increasingly worried that I’m going to lose my scarf this evening.

8:52 Warren Haynes band starting.

8:54 If they do another Beverly Hills Cop movie this is just the guy to do the soundtrack!

8:58 I keep running into the Kevin Spacey keyboardist from Umphrey’s. He seems like a nice person.

9:01 Second song. Also a shoe in for Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.

9:02 Drummer looking fresh! Looks like one of the guys from Boys II Men.

9:04 How is it that some blues playing can be so utterly transcendent and at other times SO boxed in?

9:05 Breakdown.

9:06 Ruthie Foster is a really cool name.

9:07 Warren Haynes still seeming like a really nice guy.

9:08 Third song now. Liking it. It’s about your baby being gone.

9:09 Three part harmonies killing it, Ruthie, Warren and Ivan Neville.

9:11 I’m nodding my head for the first time tonight.

9:13 I really liked that song.

9:15 Warren’s got jokes!!!

9:17 Now playing Otis Redding “I’ve Been Loving You.” Killing!!

9:18 Dirty Dozen horns sound magnificent.

9:21 This is good.

9:22 Warren has put on the slide. “Sneaking Sally Through the Alley.”

9:23 What’s the opposite of a nasal voice? That’s what Warren has.

9:24 First horn solo of the night by my calculations.

9:27 Pretty good.

9:28 I like how everyone keeps referring to Warren as “our host.”

9:29 Dude from Umphrey’s joining the band. I know this tune. “I’m Sick of My Shadow” ?

9:32 Wah-wah on sax = Unnecessary.

9:35 Warren’s done.

10:12 That was a long change-over. Steve Miller starting. “Big Old Jet Airliner.” I just walked by Ivan Neville in the stairwell. I got a big shit-eating grin. He said “Whats up man!”

10:16 “Take the Money and Run” I’m speechless.

10:23 Steve Miller is the man. What a killer voice.

 

Steve Miller Band with Warren Haynes “Don’t Cha Know” at the Xmas Jam from Jesse Hamm on Vimeo.

10:26 I can’t overstate how cool this is. Warren Haynes ripping some righteous slide soloing.

10:28 Dude saw me nodding my head, walked up and said, “This guy’s been doing it forever. He doesn’t give a f—k about being a rock star.”

10:29 “Merrily merrily down the stream, don’t you know that life is but a dream.”

10:30 Steve Miller says “We’re just getting started, so much fun!”

10:31 “Further On Up the Road” sung by other band member.

10:32 Ivan Neville’s standing next to me. I’m totally sweating him.

10:33 Steve Miller is taking ‘em to church.

10:34 Texas blues song now.

10:36 This seem obligatory, I want Steve Miller jams, not blues jams.

10:42 More songs please!

10:43 This dude CAN f—king sing though.

10:44 Maybe I just don’t dig rock blues. I’ve heard people refer to this as “dick rock.”

10:45 Steve Miller just told us that Dirty Dozen played at his God-daughter’s wedding.

10:46 Steve Miller has magnificent hair.

10:57 Now he’s singing a jazz standard with a harp. Pretty nice and unique.

11:00 Just spotted fake Warren Haynes again.

11:01 I’m at the side stage and everybody is drinking. That bouncer was full of shit.

11:02 “Wild Mountain Honey” slow version with harp and fiddle player.

11:03 Tried to tell my friend in the audience how to get over to meet me. I said “audience right.” But I think I might have screwed that up as always.

11:04 Steve Miller is underrated.

11:05 Fake Warren Haynes looks so much like real Warren Haynes.

11:06 Fake Warren standing next to me, headbanging a bit.

11:09 Fake Warren is cool.

11:14 Steve Miller might not be underrated.

11:16 This song is called “Abracadabra.”

11:18 Running into friends who don’t like Steve Miller.

11:21 I’m getting distracted by people who aren’t aging rock stars.

11:24 I’m sensing a “Fly Like An Eagle” ending.

11:25 Yup! Love it! I think its really funny that he sings “Shoe the children, with no shoes on their feet.” Rock points for using “shoe” as a verb.

11:30 Warren is playing dueling guitars with Steve Miller.

11:32 They are “jamming” in the best sense of the term.

11:33 Steve Miller is not a bad guitar player.

11:35 I think they might be jamming too much now.

11:39 They finally stopped.

11:53 Warren Haynes just walked by me. Seemed so nice!

11:56 Talking to a CPA who works festivals for fun. He’s been working Christmas Jam all weekend. Says “This is a well-oiled machine.”

12:16 a.m. John Bell from Widespread doing pretty soulful stuff on a National guitar now.

12:19 I don’t know much about Widespread Panic, but this guy seems a lot older than I would think he would be. He also has a pretty great voice.

12:25 I’m guessing that this dude is Widespread’s version of Jerry Garcia. I can see that.

12:28 I like Habitat for Humanity.

12:31 It still smells like hella weed.

12:36 Just walked by a dude who said “his back was killing him.”

12:37 Some people’s ego is too big to be funny.

12:41 #morebeer

12:42 I’m just gallavanting around.

12:44 If someone’s skin looks orange they have done ecstasy.

12:54 Hanging out with buds.

1:06 Gregg Allman has started his set with “Midnight Rider.” Would have been cooler if it was midnight right now.

1:07 Something smells like a litter box.

1:08 Gregg is giving props to Steve Miller and playing one of his tunes now.

1:13 Gregg Allman has a “take no prisoners” attitude towards performance

1:15 “Dreams.” Love it. You can’t fuck with this.

1:16 How do all these old rockstars have long hair. Plugs? Wigs?

1:18 It’s good to adjust your dreads after you hear a good guitar solo.

1:20 Sax solo now. Pretty great.

1:22 Warren Haynes is good at slide guitar. (He jams with everybody.)

1:24 Wow!

1:25 Damn! “Pull myself together … This will surely be the end of me.”

1:26 Ivan Neville standing next me, drunk.

1:28 Damn that song was good.

1:29 You gotta love Gregg for being a living bonafide rock star.

1:30 He is an amazing organ player. “Just Like a Woman.” Wow! What a voice.

1:31 Wow!

1:35 Wow!

1:39 New song.

1:41 I don’t like this song too much.

1:43 Am I supposed to like this song?

1:52. “Melissa.” It’s nice. I’m tired. Whatever.

1:55 “Unknown Highway.”

2:01 Gregg is done. Very impressive.

2:02 Dirty Dozen is playing next and then some kind of “super jam.”

2:04 I’m bored. I can’t do this anymore.

 

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16 thoughts on “Everything you may or may not have wanted to know about Xmas Jam

  1. Jeff

    That was a really lame review. He didn’t even know who JB was? He didn’t even stay for the end of the show?

    I’ve heard Jar-E’s music and I am now even less of a fan, if that’s possible.

  2. maggie7

    Fun read Jon! Is Warren really a nice guy? Loved Steve Miller. Fake warren is quite a character. Actually thought when he stole the show.Thought that was Warrens brother?

  3. maggie7

    BTW “keys to the highway” is a great old song by Derek and the dominoes(Clapton and Duane Allman) so it was a tribute tobrother Duane.

  4. asheville musician

    Amazingly poor coverage of a great show that continues to raise a lot of money for a local charity and bring national attention to the Asheville as a music destination for both locals and nationals… not quite sure of the decision to go with this “story” of coverage in the MtnX… very disappointed in the “jar-E” perspective

  5. i found this hilarious:

    Most of the guys from Umphrey’s look like the young upstart partner in a dental office who will eventually buy everybody else out.

    also good:
    9:23 What’s the opposite of a nasal voice? That’s what Warren has.

  6. James P. Fisher

    Must admit I stopped reading for a minute w/ the “who the f–k is he?” comment about John Bell. But, if you keep reading, he nails the Bell=Garcia of Panic description. Plus, he writes that Bell has a “pretty great voice” later, so he clearly is listening. All in all, interesting to see a perspective from someone who clearly is listening, has knowledge of music and is not simply being a fan-boy for blues/jam/rock based music…plus, there is some funny as hell stuff in here!

  7. tatuaje

    I gotta say that I was impressed as all hell with this dispatch.

    It takes some kinda journalist to finagle free tickets to one of the most sought-after events in town, get drunk off of free beer, leave early, write a piece that contains only a handful of compound sentences that reads like a bus schedule, and still get paid for it.

    Kudos.

  8. dpewen

    Didn’t make the jam but did make the pre-jam … always a great great show … I don’t know (nor care) about who is in panic so Jar-E is like me … does not care for jam bands. Fun read

  9. M. "GRANPAPPY" PYLE

    AS A LOCAL AND HIGHLY OPINIONATED MUSICIAN AND ARTIST I FOUND THIS PLAY BY PLAY REVIEW…WELL…KINDA SELF SERVING.I WATCHED JAR-E GET HASSLED FOR DRINKING IN THE WRONG SPOT.NO BIG DEAL…THEY HAD PLENTY OF PLACES FOR THE VIPS TO MINGLE AND DRINK…WITH A GREAT FEED OF THE MUSIC.WARREN HAYNES HAS BUILT A GREAT THING WITH THIS JAM AND IT DOES ALOT FOR OUR COMMUNITY…MUCH MORE THAN JAR-E,OR ANY NUMBER OF THE LOCAL…FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT…BS SUPERSTARS…BIG FISHES IN A SMALL POND. THIS JAM IS JUST AS MUCH A CRUCIAL ASPECT OF THIS COMMUNITY AND IS IN NO WAY WORTHY OF CRITIQUE ,SUCH AS THE ONE JON HAS GIVEN US HERE….WETHER YOU LIKE THE BANDS OR MUSICIANS IS NOT THE POINT…MY BIGGEST PROBLEM OF THE NIGHT WAS THE DOWN TIME IN BETWEEN ACTS….ANOTHER GREAT XMAS JAM IN MY PERSONAL OPINION.

  10. Jeff

    Here’s a different perspective on the evening:

    http://www.glidemagazine.com/hiddentrack/warren-haynes-christmas-jam-2010-recap-setlists-video-photos-audio/

    The setlists & videos go together well.

    The closing all star jam was a dancer’s choice for sure! Included:

    Papa Was A Rolling Stone w/ Warren Haynes
    Thats What Love Will Make You Do w/ Ron Johnson & Warren Haynes
    Spanish Moon w/ Warren Haynes, Ron Johnson, Ivan Neville & Artimus Pyle
    Superstitious w/ John Bell, Ron Holloway
    Use Me w/ Warren Haynes, John Bell & Ron Holloway

  11. guy

    “He didn’t even stay for the end of the show?”
    Yeah, 9 hours is totally not enough time to give a fair review.

    I think it’s important to understand the difference between a review (this) and news coverage. The Jam’s effect on the community was not debated or attacked. The review was simply one writers experience of the event. Seems like it does exactly what it sets out to do:

    “What follows is a minute by minute journey of one open-hearted skeptic trying to reconnect with his inner jam.”

  12. Jeff

    Nice comments all around. Jar-E, I meant no diss. My friends and I had a remarkable night and it ROCKED. Wow.

    ’10 22nd Annual Christmas Jam
    2010 XmasJam

    THE 22ND ANNUAL WARREN HAYNES CHRISTMAS JAM (12.11.10)

    MISSING CATS
    Smiling Assassin
    The Slaughter
    Step On Over Me
    Highwire
    Over Lubbuck

    UMPHREYS MCGEE
    Conduit
    1348
    Ain’t No Sunshine w/ John Bell
    Miss Tinkles Overture
    All In Time

    WARREN HAYNES BAND (Warren Haynes, Ivan Neville, Ron Johnson, Terrance Higgins, Ron Holloway & Ruthie Foster)
    Man In Motion w/ Andy Farag on Percussion & The Dirty Dozen Brass Band Horns
    Rivers Gonna Rise w/ Andy Farag on Percussion & The Dirty Dozen Brass Band Horns
    Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday
    I’ve Been Loving You Too Long w/ The Dirty Dozen Brass Band Horns
    Sick Of My Shadow w/ Andy Farag on Percussion & The Dirty Dozen Brass Band Horns

    STEVE MILLER BAND
    Jet Airliner
    Take The Money
    Mercury Blues
    Further Up On The Road w/ Warren Haynes
    Just Got Back From Texas
    Ooo Poo Pah Do w/ Carlos Reyes on Harp
    Shubada w/ Carlos Reyes on Harp
    Nature Boy w/ Carlos Reyes on Harp
    Wild Mountain Honey w/ Carlos Reyes on Harp
    Dance Dance Dance w/ Carlos Reyes on Harp
    The Stake
    Abracadabra
    Livin In The USA
    Fly Like An Eagle w/ Warren Haynes & w/ Carlos Reyes on Harp

    JOHN BELL
    Dobro Christmas Medley
    Papa’s Home
    May Your Glass Be Filled

    GREGG ALLMAN BAND
    Midnight Rider
    Just Another Rider> w/ Dirty Dozen Band Horns & Ron Holloway
    Dreams w/ Ron Holloway
    Just Like A Woman w/ John Bell
    Walk on Guilded Splinters w/ Dirty Dozen Band Horns & John Bell
    Melissa
    Lost Highway w/ Steve Miller

    DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND
    Ain’t Nothing By A Part >
    Papa Was A Rolling Stone w/ Warren Haynes
    Thats What Love Will Make You Do w/ Ron Johnson & Warren Haynes
    Spanish Moon w/ Warren Haynes, Ron Johnson, Ivan Neville & Artimus Pyle
    Superstitious w/ John Bell, Ron Holloway
    Use Me w/ Warren Haynes, John Bell & Ron Holloway

  13. North Coast

    What was funniest about this review was when he referred to “other journalists,” making the assumption that he is a journalist. Really? That was the biggest piece of crap that I have ever read. It was like reading a bunch of self-serving facebook updates. It told us nothing, yes nothing, about the event, the music…anything. You guys should seriously consider who you send to events like this because this was a very poor choice.

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