Allman Brothers plotting star-studded 40th

Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:27pm EDT
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By Gary Graff

DETROIT (Billboard) - The Allman Brothers Band plans to use its 2009 engagement at New York's Beacon Theatre as the focal point for the Southern blues-rock group's 40th anniversary celebration.

"We're planning a big one, man, a real big one," founding band member Gregg Allman told "We're trying to get all the people we know that we've played with to come and sit in and play."

A number of performers have confirmed that they'll be part of the celebratory shows, Allman said, but he declined to offers specifics.

"I can't tell you all the secrets," Allman said with a laugh. "Just think about all the people we've played with. We're shooting to get all of them. Of course, people are on tour, but not usually so much in March as they would be, say, in August."

The Allmans' 2009 return to the Beacon -- where their spring multi-night stands have become a tradition over the past 20 years -- will also be big news because the group had to cancel a 15-show stint in May while Allman was treated for long-festering hepatitis C.

"I've never done that," the singer and keyboardist said of the cancellation, "and had it not been a total emergency, I wouldn't have done it this time. But I just flat couldn't make it, man. They make you take this (medication), you might as well plan on staying home for half a year.

"It's hell, man. It's really hell, but it worked. I don't have all my strength back yet, but I'm getting totally back up on my feet again. And the shows have been wonderful."

The Allmans are on a stretch of late-summer shows that wraps October 11 in Atlanta. The group, whose last studio album was 2003's "Hittin' the Note," is playing a couple of new songs, and guitarist Warren Haynes said there's "probably about half an album done" and ready to record.

"We haven't been able to think about much lately except getting through this year," Allman noted, "but, yeah, next year will be really nice to get into the studio. We're looking forward to that."