Tedeschi & Trucks across the Southeast

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Tedeschi Trucks Band
Birmingham & Atlanta
April 7 & 8, 2011

Legends aren’t born every day, especially ones that make beautiful music. It’s in their blood, part of their life-long pursuit to create soothing sounds that yield different emotions in the fan and listener. Derek Trucks has done this since the womb, it seems, first making his presence known alongside family members and future band members, the Allman Brothers. It can be assumed that his years amongst musical greats nurtured the chops that, in time, would solidify his place as a guitar axe man to be reckoned with.

ttb_40.jpgBy way of supreme destiny, Trucks would collaborate with and eventually marry great blues and soul guitar woman Susan Tedeschi, starting a family which will probably spawn other guitar and blues greats for the future. The two rockers often toured in the past together as Soul Stew Revival, combining the personnel of both their bands. Recently the collaboration was made official under the name Tedeschi Trucks Band, affectionately referred to as TTB.  Familiar faces like Kofi Burbridge and Mike Mattison are still present, along with Allman bassist Oteil Burbridge.

 

Tedeschi Trucks Band with Trombone Shorty
Alabama Theatre
Birmingham, AL
April 7, 2011

 

The Tedeschi Trucks Band and its host of singers and top-notch players arrived at the Alabama Theater on a warm spring night in Birmingham. Trombone Shorty came along for the ride this time, offering support and serving as the official “warm the crowd and get them ready” band.

Coming with a true party form, Trombone Shorty ripped through numbers as if playing in the streets of his New Orleans home town, urging the folks attending to get out of their seats and enjoy themselves with the common call & response crowd participation that he is known for. His 45-minute set would not be complete without his demonstration of a playing technique called circular breathing.  During “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” Trombone Shorty dazzled fans with his ability to sustain a single for minutes. It was literally breathtaking.

Derek and Susan made their way to the stage to play in front of the near-capacity crowd in the hallowed halls of the Alabama Theater. The crowd was made up of a mostly mature crowd of older Allman Brother devotees who have watched Derek mature from a young player to a seasoned guiatr master.  The combination of both Susan’s and Derek’s bands give the ensemble a “big band” feel, with the addition of a full brass horn section, dual drummers and more backing vocals.

Letting loose during the set on a cover of Herbie Hancock’s “Space Captain,” Derek captivated the audience with his clear instrumental prowess.

 

Tedeschi Trucks Band with Scrapomatic
Center Stage
Atlanta, GA
April 8, 2011

 

With a new record (Revelator) set for release in early June, Derek Trucks and his wife Susan Tedeschi took to the road under the now-enduring p1014926_copy.jpgmoniker, Tedeschi Trucks Band. Though the tour was not in support of the record, it was certainly on the minds of those gathered in the all things Allman friendly crowd gathered in the quaint but somewhat plush (and sold-out) Center Stage in Atlanta.

As of late, Center Stage has become a go-to venue for bands in search of a medium-sized venue, and for good reason. With its stadium seating there literally is not a bad seat in the house. Though most of the events held within the venue are reserved seating, once that seat is found, the cushion that adorns the seat contains enough padding for even the worst case of no-ass-at-all disease. Furthermore, the venue’s staff resembles true theater staff, wearing tuxedo style vests and always willing to assist. They seem to possess the attitude that they actually appreciate the arts as opposed to typical security staff (who are also minimally present) that at times, seem to abhor the artist on stage that has hired them to ensure his/her patrons’ safety. Lastly, the venue has not lost sight of the fact that it is in the south, where cigarettes have not been completely demonized yet and sweet tea is the drink of the day. As evidence, a ticket gives admission to three venues (The Loft, Vinyl, and Center Stage) that are located in the complex. The Vinyl is smoker friendly and also serves sweet tea amongst virtually any other beverage of choice.

Needless to say that if there ever was a venue to set a good tempo, it was this one. But for good measure, Derek and Susan brought along old pals Mike Mattison and Paul Olsen and their brain child, Scrapomatic.

Scrapomatic are not strangers to the Tedeschi-Trucks faithful. The ensemble easily garnered the affection of the crowd as they played through a set of mostly original tunes. The combination of soul, funk and blues set the stage well for the main event.

p1014584_copy.jpgDerek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi took the stage as two members of an impressive 11-piece ensemble that included the brothers Burbridge, Oteil (bass) and Kofi (keys), along with two drummers (J. J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell) a three -piece horn section and two backup singers in Mark Rivers and Scrapomatic’s Mattison. To say that the stage was full would be like saying that Muammar Gaddafi is an asshole…quite the understatement.

The music, though, was anything but crowded. In fact, it was quite the contrary. It was airy and loose semi-orchestrated improvisation for the entire evening. Though Trucks befittingly took the musical lead throughout the night, his true skill was knowing when to take a backseat and allow the music to organically grow before stepping in to melt any faces.

As for Mrs. Trucks (Tedeschi), her soulful voice literally represents a female equivalent to blues giants, and coupled with her capable guitar play, brought the sound that this ensemble is obviously trying to channel: early 60s soul/R&B, intertwined with mid-70s funk and deep Southern blues rock riffs. Her sultry demeanor that came complete with knee high boots only added to the appeal and overall vibe.

Highlighted by “Nobody’s Free” (Tedeschi-Trucks),”Manic Depression” (Hendrix) and a set closing “Space Captain” (Herbie Hancock); this trio of songs were perhaps the best showcase of what this band has to offer elementally…which is a bit of everything.

p1014695_copy.jpg The heavy rock intro of “Nobody’s Free” yielded to the precise slide play of Trucks and Susan’s soulful voice, before the latter took up her crescendo that was supplemented by the full band.

With “Manic Depression,” Oteil Burbridge’s chops (both vocal and bass) were full frontal as was his always affable stage antics. On “Space Captain,” Kofi was able to demonstrate that while he may be the lesser known Burbridge, his skill on the keys were enough to likely make even the head of Hancock do a double take.

It was a night that had it all, and the crowd soaked it up like a Sham-Wow. In retrospect, the fact that they did steer away from upcoming tunes from Revelator was probably a smart move, because judging from the looks on the crowd’s faces, they are doing nothing but panting for more.

 

Setlist 

Five Minute Rule > Love Has Something Else to Say, Midnight in Harlem, Just Kissed My Baby, Comin’ Home, That Did It, Standing on the Edge of Love, Nobody’s Free, Come and See About Me, Sing a Simple Song,  Manic Depression, Uptight > Space Captain

Encore:  Kebbi & JJ, Don’t Drift Away, Bound for Glory

 

CLICK THE THUMBNAIL TO VIEW THE PHOTOS from the evening in Birmingham with Derek & Susan by Andi Rice

CLICK THE THUMBNAIL TO VIEW THE PHOTOS from the evening In Atlanta with Derek & Susan by David Shehi

 

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