Above: Gov’t Mule at the Beacon. Photo by Heath Robson, Mule.net

Gov’t Mule kicked off its annual New Year’s stand at New York’s Beacon Theater last night. Though the band did not have an opening act, a diverse mix of musicians sat in with the jam-rock quartet. Near the end of the band’s first set, Steely Dan guitarist Jon Herrington and Soulgrass saxophonist Bill Evans emerged for “Devil Likes it Slow” and “Sco-Mule” (the two musicians also regularly perform together).

Later in the night, Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo, who is in New York for a New Year’s Eve performance at City Winery, emerged for the soulful “Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” and Steve Winwood’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” Hidalgo returned during the group’s first encore for the debut cover of the blues song “Feel Like going Home” and Elmore James’ “Look On Yonder Wall.” The members of Gov’t Mule returned without guests for a second encore that featured a first time cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock.” The song was an appropriate cover choice since the band’s New Year’s theme appears to be the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival (the band also played the chorus of Woodstock performer Sly Stone’s “Dance to the Music” during “Sco-Mule”).

Before the show’s first set, Gov’t Mule treated fans who purchased CID VIP tickets to a special “soundcheck party” where the band learned “Woodstock” and rehearsed with

Gov’t Mule will continue the Woodstock theme at the Beacon this evening. Special guests are expected.