It was last call for Concerts at Commons Beach and Tahoe City was ready to rock on Sunday.
Concertgoers arrived with picnic baskets and blankets, anticipating what was about to go down, a concert to end the summer and a one to remember for a long time, featuring a well-loved local band, the Roemers, and none other than the Devon Allman Band.
The Roemers, an upbeat band playing funk, blues, rock covers, and some original tunes, are Joe Roemer on lead and rhythm guitar and vocals, Ryan Roemer, lead and rhythm guitar and vocals, Matt Roemer on bass, Beth Tschantre on percussion and vocals, and Michael McCollom on drums.
The Devon Allman Band, priding itself in playing blues and more blues, some rock and some jam, are Devon Allman on lead guitar and vocals, Steve Duerst on bass, Anthony Nanney on drums, Brendan Moore on the keys, and Bobby Schneck Jr. on rhythm and lead guitar. Allman’s band has been on a Northern California tour.
The Roemers played a 45-minute set, getting the crowd grooving in a Tahoe way, relaxed and then feeling Tschantre’s vocals as she wailed out a Janice Joplin tune, “Take Another Piece of My Heart.” It brought the crowd to full attention and it swayed with the breeze and flattened grass and sand flies.
Joe Roemer’s wife, who on occasion sings and plays with the band, was in the audience, right up front, feeling happy and dancing with the crowd that started to grow. Roemer’s lead on “Elizabeth Reed” was beautiful and well noticed by all. The band ended its set with “Ah Shucks,” which is a Roemers’ original. Everyone was on their feet, clapping and cheering.
It was 4:20 p.m. and time for the Devon Allman Band to play. The crowd seemed to have almost doubled in size, and folks were ready to dance. The band took the stage, Allman in a black T-shirt and black jeans and a fedora. The rest of the band looking casual but sharp, and they opened with a tune called “Jam in D,” and it was out of this world.
This band is well polished, shining and bright like the sun that was sharing the last of its afternoon’s warmth. Allman, Gregg Allman’s son, is very much his own person with his own identity, and he has his own style of playing and singing.
Schneck Jr., though young in years, is an old soul when it comes to playing guitar. He makes those strings sing.
Allman said he doesn’t like crowds, although he walked into the audience with his guitar, smiling and watching the fans practically fall to his feet. He encouraged everyone to sing along on several songs and invited all to come and say hello after the show as he would be at the merchandise table.
Allman is one hell of a guitar player and his voice is powerful and bluesy and incredibly beautiful. He was blown away by the crowd, and the number of concertgoers, both young and old, seemed to really touch him.
The band played “Leave the City” from Allman’s “Ragged & Dirty” album, and the crowd was almost on the stage. The enthusiasm and love both from the band and the crowd seemed to bounce back and forth and then blend together and rise into the early evening. It was spectacular.
Allman Brothers covers “One Way Out” and “Melissa” played in Devon Allman’s own voice would make anyone proud. He nailed both those songs, and every other song, as matter of fact. The band also shined on “Stairway to Heaven,” which made some in the audience teary eyed as they remembered Commons Beach’s founding soundman Blake Beeman, who passed away last summer.
I was moved by this show, both bands giving it their all, sharing what they love. What a way to end the summer series. The community really came out Sept. 6 and it made me proud to watch and to be a part of that, that feeling of oneness. Though the summer series is over, the music never stops here at the lake. Support live music, it does a soul good, and the community too. There really is no place like home.