They finally bid farewell to the revolving bassist concept with The Deepest End, a triple disc (double album with DVD), six-hour marathon detailing a show in New Orleans last May. It captures the band plus 13 bassists and other notable musicians playing Mule favorites and Deep End material.
Like watching all three Lord of the Rings movies in one sitting, wading through it all is a rewarding but daunting task. Even though the bassists shift from funk to hard and roots rock, and the guests range from jazz saxophonist Karl Denson to Los Lobos, it's an experience best absorbed in small doses.
As the only vocalist, Haynes' raspy voice, which is soulful and gutsy but not particularly flexible, grows tiring over the long haul. Furthermore, the all-boys club atmosphere (Me'Shell Ndegeocello, featured on the studio set, is conspicuously MIA) would benefit from a woman's touch.
With crisp audio and superb camera work, The Deepest End is the extended final kick on a long, but extraordinarily creative chapter in Gov't Mule's career.
Gov't Mule plays the Arena at Gwinnett Center on Sat., Feb.7. $35.
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