Gov’t Mule gets a kick out of revisiting classics

via Boston Herald

Fans in Boston didn’t know what to expect from Gov’t Mule’s 2008 Halloween gig at the Orpheum. They knew Warren Haynes’ jam band did thematic shows on such big nights as Halloween and New Year’s Eve, but the group’s first set concentrated on the expected: new favorites, classics, a few choice covers.

“It was pretty early on in our history of doing these thematic shows, and while we had given some hints, nobody really know what to expect until we started the second set,” Haynes said of the block of Pink Floyd tunes the band played that Halloween.

“It turned out to be a really great night. We loved it and we filmed and recorded the show.”

For a decade, a growing segment

of the Gov’t Mule fan base has clamored for more Floyd. Both in person, at gigs and on the internet, people have pushed the guys to revisit the “Dark Side of the Mule” theme in concert. (They released a live album of the Boston date in 2014.)

“Our audience loved it, so five years later we did it at (the) Mountain Jam (festival in New York),” Haynes said. “We didn’t really want to do a whole tour, but we thought after so many requests that maybe we would do a handful of Dark Side shows this summer. It only made sense that one of them be in the Boston area.”

That local show will be tomorrow at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield.

Haynes’ ability to look both forward and back makes him unique. One year he will be touring Dark Side of the Mule, doing symphonic interpretations of the Grateful Dead’s catalog with the Boston Pops, re-recording his old catalog with guest singers or curating re-issues — he just worked on the Allman Brothers Band’s “Peach Picks: Cream of the Crop 2003,” a four-disc set recorded at six shows in the summer of 2003. The next he will hunker down with his band and make a vital new LP, such as last year’s “Revolution Come … Revolution Go.”

“It’s always refreshing when you step out of what you are doing at the moment and look back,” he said. “It takes your head into another place in a good way. I feel really lucky to have an audience that will follow me where I want to go. It is something I can’t take for granted.”

While material from “Revolution Come … Revolution Go” will pop up early on in sets on this Dark Side tour, Haynes is already thinking about the next batch of new songs he’s working on.

“I have a lot of creative projects coming up with new ideas and new material,” he said. At the same time, he has one eye on the past.

“We just filmed two nights at the Capitol Theatre, so part of the future will be putting those old shows together for a release,” he said. “Whatever I do this year will have an impact on what I do next year. I don’t know what that will be, but I know it will be different.”

Gov’t Mule’s Dark Side of the Mule, with the Avett Brothers, at the Xfinity Center, Mansfield, tomorrow. Tickets: $25-$89;