Devon Allman & Donavon Frankenreiter – See It All Tour
The Newton Theatre – Newton, NJ – August 13, 2023
Review & Photos – Rebecca Wolf
August 13th at The Newton Theatre was the 10th stop of Devon Allman and Donavon Frankenreiter’s record breaking 50-stop music tour. This is no ordinary music tour that’s stretched over an extended, more leisurely period of time. There’s nothing leisurely about Allman and Frankenreiter’s See It All Tour. These extremely ambitious musicians will be playing 50 Shows, in all 50 States, in less than 50 days (49 days to be exact.) There have been a couple of other artists who reportedly accomplished the feat of performing 50 shows in 50 states in 50 days, but no one has done so in less than 50 days. This will be a world record, something Allman (a motivated traveler who’s already visited almost all 50 states) had been contemplating for years. It took connecting with the perfect accomplice, Donavon Frankenreiter, to put this plan into action. And put it into play they have with their four-piece band including, Jackson Stokes on guitar, John Lum on drums, David Gomez on sax and percussion and Matt Grundy on bass.
Devon Allman, blues-rock guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and record producer, is no stranger to performing and touring. Over the past 25 years he’s started several bands, released 11 albums and spent years playing throughout the US, as well as abroad. Donavon Frankenreiter has himself toured world-wide, first as a professional surfer and now as a musician. He has a catalog of more than a dozen albums showcasing his laid-back, soulful, catch-a-wave vibe. What a perfect roadtrip duo to criss-cross the vast United States. The tour began with two shows on August 5th, an afternoon performance in Annapolis, MD and an evening show in Bethlehem, PA before shooting up to Montauk, NY. Over the course of 49 music-filled days these musicians and their bandmates will be traversing the country, making stops in cities and town, including Biloxi, Mississippi, Birmingham, AL, Fargo, ND, New Orleans, LA, Jackson Hole, WY, Anchorage, AK, Las Vegas, NV, and Honolulu, HI, before ending this fantastical journey on September 22nd in Los Angeles, CA.
The tour is supported nightly by rotating opening acts. At The Newton Theatre the evening’s opener was the incredibly talented, soulful, Canadian singer-songwriter and blues, roots rocker Matt Andersen. Prior to Andersen’s arrival onstage, the audience was treated to several numbers by singer-songwriter and guitarist, Jackson Stokes, currently touring with Allman and Frankenreiter (as well as a member of The Devon Allman Project and a solo artist.) Stokes released his debut album in 2019 and is set to release a new EP in October. Stokes’ music has a soulful Americana groove and his voice has a unique bluesy, old-world feel. Stokes’ upbeat spirit and broad smile were reciprocated by the crowd who were thrilled to hear him perform three songs off his upcoming EP, “Until the Morning,” “Don’t Tempt Me,” and “Gemini”.
When Matt Andersen entered the stage the crowd roared with cheers. Honestly, I had not heard of Matt Andersen but seemingly the audience had. There are times when I see an opening act and wonder, “How did I never hear about this artist/band before? They’re amazing!!” This was one of those instances. Matt Andersen is a blues vocalist whose voice could stop you in your tracks with its incredible passion, depth and grit. Andersen’s amazing guitar skills were the perfect backdrop for his powerful vocals. Woven together, he created rich, textured, soulful, blues numbers that had audience members hooting, cheering and applauding throughout his 30 minute set. Andersen has been releasing music since his first self-issued LP in 2004 and has released more than a dozen albums (including self-released and Live.) His newest album, The Big Bottle of Joy, was released in March 2023.
At The Newton Theatre Andersen performed songs from this new release, songs from 2022’s House to House, and earlier numbers, including “Devil’s Bride,” from 2013’s Live From the Phoenix Theatre. Andersen ended the set with his cover of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine,” from his debut studio album Second Time Around in 2007 (originally self-released in 2005.) From the moment Andersen quipped that he was going to end with a fan-favorite excited raced through the crowd….everyone knew what he was about to play. Fans hooted and cheered throughout the number, as Andersen added multiple layers of angst and heart-felt blues to an already soulful song. Ending with a flourish on the guitar strings everyone in the crowd rose and erupted in cheers. With the energy on high throughout the theater, the audience now eagerly awaited the arrival of Allman and Frankenreiter.
With a mere ten days into the See It All Tour these musicians were still in the early stages of their cross-country trek. Their excitement was still fresh as they emerged onto the stage full of energy and enthusiasm, to the applause of crowd. Throughout the hour and 20 minute set the energy onstage remained in high gear, for all of the musicians, but most particularly Allman and Frankenreiter, who moved about the stage, jamming on their guitars. Band members were highlighted during various numbers, including Stokes performing several phenomenal guitar solos and Gomez showcasing his exceptional skills on the sax.
The set included the music from Allman’s and Frankenreiter’s newly released EP, Rollers, written in conjunction with the See It All Tour, as well as several songs from each of their catalogs. Allman’s number’s included “Wash in A Minor,” “Fired Up!” a bluesy, guitar-laden piece from Royal Southern Brotherhood, and the upbeat, blues-rock “Leavin’”. Frankenreiter’s songs included “Move By Yourself,” a groovy, 70s, smile-inducing tune, “That’s Too Bad (Byron Jam),” a number with a rhythmic, rocking, beat and the evening’s finale, with Matt Andersen joining in, the feel-good, uplifting spirit of “It Don’t Matter,” which had audience members out of their seats, standing in the aisles, and singing and swaying along.
It’s hard to fathom traveling to a different state every day for 49 days straight, let alone performing in each state. The thought is mind boggling. However, it’s also exhilarating and speaks to a level of motivation, endurance, adventure and friendship that such a feat taps into. Music has magical qualities. Music can bridge gaps and can bring people together. it can be a teacher, a healer, a friend. Devon Allman and Donavon Frankenreiter’s See It All Tour is doing just that…bringing people together in all 50 states to share in the positive energy, joy and musical expertise of these superbly talented rock and “rollers,” as they roadtrip across this beautiful United States. If they haven’t rolled through your state yet, go check them out!