With a title like The Allman Brothers Band: After the Crash, you know you are not getting a cherrful story in this dcumentary, and you are not. This story is about how the band kept falling apart and putting itself back together after the tragic death of Duane Allman, which was followed almost exactly a year later by the death of Berry Oakley in an eerily similar motorcycle accident. It is an amazing story, since they managed to fight, make music ranging from magnificent to mediocre, put on brilliant concerts and missed shows entirely, and stayed together in one form or another for over 40 years after that first fatal crash that could so easily have done them in for good.
The filmmakers talked to many people who were involved with the band over the years, including former band members, producers, managers, and more. They made good use of live footage and photos to tell the story. In many ways, the story seems to encapsulate every rock ‘n roll cliché from the seventies and beyond: the group who loved each other like family, even living together with their wives, girlfriends, and kids in a big house; and then was torn apart by tragedy, drug use, personal feuds, ego, and general dissension. But it was The Allman Brothers who helped create those clichés, and they are set apart not by the fact that they fell apart but that they came back together and endured.
One thing that this documentary did that set it part was to explore the part that Greg’s long relationship with Cher played in alienating him even further from the rest of the band, and in hurting the band’s reputation among the Southern rock audience.
This is a fascinating if somewhat depressing film for fans to watch, but this reporter honestly feels that it needed more music, which is ultimately what the band was all about, and more personal stories to illustrate the facts,including some happy ones to balance things out and give some clues as to why the band ultimately kept coming back together. Nevertheless, the film is recommended for anyone who is interested in the Allman Brothers or popular music history, including the myriad old and new Allman Brothers fans.