Music review: Warren Haynes Christmas Jam

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

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6 thoughts on “Music review: Warren Haynes Christmas Jam

  1. Jim McKernan

    Jackson Browne out of place? Isn’t that the whole point of Xmas jam to bring different musical genre’s together. Amazing musicianship on display. If you are writing the longest paragraph of a 5 paragraph review on what you didn’t like, you missed the whole point of the evening. Thank you Warren for another magical evening!

  2. harry hood

    Diverse is good… however, music that does not lend itself to producing a jamming, dancing, boogying crowd just does not fit into the xmas jam. Slow, mellow songs do fit in as an occasional break, but not several sets of it. As Jason said, they completely lost the audience until G. Love and especially Frampton brought some real action.

  3. emma

    And wasn’t Frampton a wonderful surprise. I’m so glad he got to break out of that 70’s “competent musician marketed by the record industry”, as Rolling Stone once described him, and into the spotlight of phenomenal guitarist that he really is.

  4. Wally

    I agree for the most part. Jackson Browne got the shaft. A Christmas carol then a couple of war protest songs. Where were any songs that made him famous or make me smile?

    Bruce Hornsby was great and Peter Frampton stole the show. That guy is one incredible guitar player. Do you feel like I do felt like a seminal record, which it was. Those are great guitar licks.

    As for Stockholm… they played the same thing both nights except they did play that great cover on Saturday.. Middle of the night? That was actually really good.. credit where credit is due.

    Overall … thanks WARREN!

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