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  • John Geiger

Gov't Mule Exposes The 'Dark Side Of The Mule' In Indy At Ruoff Music Center

Gov't Mule exposes the 'Dark Side Of The Mule' in Indy with opener Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Evening on August 3rd, 2023.

Gov't Mule live at Ruoff Music Center
Gov't Mule live at Ruoff Music Center

Since 1995, Gov't Mule has established itself as a fundamental presence at music festivals throughout North America. The band's composition infuses diverse blues rock, southern rock, funk, and jam band components into their musical repertoire and the night of August 3rd proved to be an exceptional evening.

It started off with the opening act, "Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Evening", which was an electrifying experience that brought the timeless music of Zeppelin back to life and captured the essence and spirit of the iconic band.

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience live at Ruoff Music Center
Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience live at Ruoff Music Center

Son of the legendary late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, Jason's incredible drumming skills were tightly intertwined with bassist Dorian Heartsong, combined with Jimmy Sakurai on guitar and the amazing vocalist James Dylan, who hit all of the notes that you‘d want to hear.

The performance was a nostalgic journey through Led Zeppelin's greatest hits, leaving the audience cheering and singing along. If you're a fan of classic rock or appreciate great music, this show was a must-see for an unforgettable night of rock 'n' roll magic.

At around 8 pm, Gov’t Mule started their evening with a six-pack of original songs that showcased the bad-ass guitar skills of Warren Haynes who was an integral member of The Allman Brothers Band beginning in 1989.

Gov't Mule live at Ruoff Music Center
Gov't Mule live at Ruoff Music Center

Haynes is not only a recipient of a prestigious GRAMMY Award but also stands as a distinguished songwriter, vocalist, critically-revered guitarist, and an accomplished producer. The experience of witnessing someone I hold in high personal regard as a guitar hero performing just mere feet away was an absolute delight for me.

Gov't Mule originated as a supplementary endeavor of guitarist Haynes and late bassist Allen Woody from the Allman Brothers Band. Currently, the band consists of Matt Abts on drums, Danny Louis on keys, and an amazing bassist Kevin Scott, and fans often refer to them simply as 'Mule.'

Each Gov't Mule performance stands alone, as the band taps into their extensive repertoire of over 300 songs (often accompanied by a variety of special guests), creating an unparalleled experience on every occasion and this evening was no exception.

As the sun began to set at Deer Creek... I mean Ruoff Music Center, the band's fearless approach to covering Pink Floyd's iconic album "The Dark Side of the Moon" was nothing short of spectacular.

Their unique interpretation breathed new life into the classic tracks while staying true to the original's essence. The added improvisational elements showcased the band's musical prowess and ability to make each song unique.

Instead of literal film interpretations on a screen, the mesmerizing laser light show created an immersive atmosphere, making it feel much more inclusive. The real magic of "Dark Side of the Mule" was how they managed to pay homage to Pink Floyd while injecting their own creativity.

“The Great Gig in the Sky,” is a great song on the original Floyd album, but Mule’s rendition hit it out of the park due to the extraordinary ability of backing vocals of Machan Taylor and Sophia Ramos. The audience was up on their feet and I actually had goosebumps listening to those two amazing women sing.

The encore, “Wish You Were Here” started at 10:49 and lasted 10 minutes. The venue has a strict 11 pm curfew, so the show was perfectly over at 10:59 pm; however, I have no doubt they would have played longer if given the chance.

Even with 2023 marking the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s album 'Dark Side of the Moon,' Mule previously performed it live only 10 times in total. For fans of either Pink Floyd or Gov't Mule, this concert was a true gem. It was a celebration of musical craftsmanship, a blending of eras, and a testament to the timelessness of great music. "Dark Side of the Mule" wasn't just a cover show. It was a transformative encounter that happens when musical legends collide.

Buy new music by Gov't Mule from Indy CD & Vinyl HERE. Check out Indy CD & Vinyl's massive selection of used collectible vinyl HERE, just type Gov't Mule in the search.

Gov't Mule setlist: Bad Little Doggie / Blind Man in the Dark / About to Rage / Thorazine Shuffle / Made My Peace / Same as It Ever Was / Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) (Pink Floyd cover) / Have a Cigar (Pink Floyd cover) / Welcome to the Machine (Pink Floyd cover) / Speak to Me (Pink Floyd cover) / Breathe (Pink Floyd cover) / On the Run (Pink Floyd cover) / Time (Pink Floyd cover) / Breathe (Reprise) (Pink Floyd cover) / The Great Gig in the Sky (Pink Floyd cover) / Money (Pink Floyd cover) / One of These Days (Pink Floyd cover) / Fearless (Pink Floyd cover) / Echoes (Pink Floyd cover) / Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd cover) Encore: Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd cover)

Photos and Review by John Geiger for Indy CD & Vinyl

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