There’s a moment within every guitar solo where the song can either be taken to another place musically and become something both epic and heart wrenching, or it can fall into the self-parody ghetto. At this year’s Christmas Jam, Warren Haynes and friends knew this, and for the most part stayed away from the latter.
From the beginning of the show—which featured Haynes performing with a full choir—to the rousing finale, the concert was all about music, and not just artists playing their signature songs.
There were performances that were revelations: Peter Frampton showing everyone why he became a megastar in the ‘70s with an all-too-brief set; Gov’t Mule’s blistering performance which left audiences gasping for air; G Love & Special Sauce’s fresh perspective; and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’s performance which showed the band’s pensive side.
With the good came the simply out of place: Jackson Browne’s acoustic performance brought a hush over the audience at first, but then dragged on for ages, seamlessly transitioning into Bruce Horsnby’s performance, which was a rather brilliant piece of musicianship and song craft, but somewhere amid the jazz noodling lost the audience. By the time Hornsby brought the audience back to life with an impromptu performance of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”, it was too late.
Fortunately for everyone in attendance, there was only one blight on the evening: Stockholm Syndrome. The audience seems to come alive for the band, but they are still the most musically bland band I’ve ever heard in my life. They make Jackson Browne and James Taylor look like Mick Jaggar and Keith Richards all while their popularity makes me doubt humanity. Amid tepid songs about God knows what, the band churned out mediocre guitar riff after mediocre guitar riff, all while lead singer Jerry Joseph spouted “important” lyrics that he believe belonged on a fortune cookie somewhere, but in reality probably would be more in place on a Bazooka Joe bubblegum wrapper.
Thankfully, Stockholm Syndrome were the only blemish on what turned out to be a great night of music. By the end, the crowd was simultaneously begging for more and ready to go home. It was night of music that was amazing for fans of Haynes and his band of merry wanderers and well as for non fans, such as this reviewer.
— Jason Bugg