For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Tedeschi Trucks band, the core of the band's sound features Susan Tedeschi's powerful vocals and the excellent slide guitar of her husband, Derek Trucks.
Rolling Stone calls the band "equal parts Staks and Muscle Shoals without dilution of either." I call it really good jam band rock. Not surprisingly, Derek Trucks also moonlights in another jam band you may have heard of: The Allman Brothers.
During the concert, songs would start with a jamming riff or some noodling by Trucks and then the whole band would kick in, eventually building up to some searing lead slide guitar by Trucks.
You might expect a lead guitarist to be a wild man, but Trucks had a mild, nearly introverted stage presence. You sometimes wondered if the sounds he was producing were indeed from his guitar; however, if you closed your eyes, you could hear a very wild creature's genuine expression.
The Tedeschi Trucks band has a blues-based repertoire, but is not afraid to explore. While the songs are usually straight ahead blues-based rock, each player is given space to improvise or to be progressive. From 'out' jazz to what sounded like South Asian modes, the musicians in the band were not stuck in a rut. (Of course, great soul, RnB, and blues music can have a rut if played right).
Almost every member of the eleven piece group was given their individual moment to shine. The two harmony vocalists, Mike Mattison and Mark Rivers, both took center stage at times, co-leading vocals while Tedeschi strummed in the background. Trucks took a step back at one point, while keyboardist Kofi Burbridge went wild on keyboards, bringing out sounds that echoed Trucks' best work. Both drummers (yes, two drummers: Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson) were given space to showcase their rhythms in an extended jam towards the end of the show. Even the brass players had their signature moment as Kebbi Williams wailed on saxophone during the closing songs and Maurice Brown soloed during the encore jam.
It wasn't all jams either. In the middle of the show, the stage cleared of most of the musicians to feature the soulful vocals and acoustic chops of Susan Tedeschi on her song Shelter.
By the end of the show, most of the audience were on their feet asking for more. And that's exactly what Tedeschi Trucks Band delivered. Not being your average pop band, Tedeschi Trucks Band didn't come out and play the usual top hit from their catalog. Instead, they shared a new song "Let Me By" as their first song of the encore, and then ended with anather crowd pleasing jam song that kept everyone on their feet.
Tedeschi Trucks are touring in support of their Made Up Mind album.
The show was co-sponsored by Frederic E. Steck and the corporate season sponsor, lynda.com.
Alexander Sack contributed to this review.