Tedeschi Trucks seal the deal on 2011 at The Warfield
The Tedeschi Trucks Band performed New Years Eve 2011 in San Francisco at the historic Warfield Theater to an enthusiastic crowd of over 2000 revelers. This was the second time TTB headlined the Warfield in 2011 so many in the New Year’s Eve crowd knew what they were in for: arrangements that span the gamut from blues, R&B and bit of jazz combined with mind-bending doses of southern rock licks. This said, from the ticket sales (the occasion was sold-out well in advance), people enjoyed the first trip enough for a second dose to close out 2011.
Warming up for TBB was the British funk invasion kings, the New Mastersounds. The NMS consists of, Eddie Roberts (guitar), Simon Allen (drums), Pete Shand (bass) and Joe Tatton (keys). They began touring internationally in 2006 and have been spreading their brand of high-energy funkiness ever since.
San Francisco is no stranger to NMS. The band is currently in the recording process at Frisco’s Faultline Studios, and shortly after nine, the Mastersounds kicked off a 75 minute set with “Run the Gauntlet,” a great cut from 2011′s Breaks from the Border. The tune found Simon and Pete playing in the pocket while Eddie and Joe kept the melodies intense yet playful through riff-interplay. Building anticipation, the bloke funksters played an unnamed tune from the aforementioned forthcoming album and the energetic set was well received by the audience and was most likely a source of attraction for a lot of new followers.
During the short intermission, DJ Harry Duncan kept the theater filled with music while the crew prepared for the headliners.
Tedeschi Trucks Band took the stage shortly before ten o’clock and opened with Marvin Gaye’s “Don’t Do It” and rolled straight into “Don’t Let Me Slide,” a track from TTB’s highly acclaimed 2011 release, Revelator. This began a trio of songs from the album that is now nominated for a Grammy — turning to the soulful “Midnight in Harlem” and following up with “Learn How to Love,” a tune that was collaboratively written by Derek and Susan along with Lettuce’s Eric Krasno, Adam Deitch and Adam Smirnoff. Throughout the number, Susan’s emotional vocals and guitar leads took center stage and were further heightened with Derek’s biting hooks that he played on his signature red Gibson SG. The raw guitar tones were reminiscent of Anders Osborne at times, and in combination with the tasteful fills provided by Kebbi Williams on tenor sax, Maurice Brown on trumpet and Saunders Sermons on trombone along with the harmony backing vocals of Mike Mattison and Mark Rivers, this number was a highlight of the night.
After covering The Beatles’ “I’ve got a Feelin’” a return to Revelator was made in the form of album opener, a “Bound for Glory” that gave a moment to showcase Kofi Burbridge’s considerable skills on the ivories.
After introducing the band members, Susan dedicated the next song to the recently departed blues legend, Hubert Sumlin before leaping into Howlin’ Wolf’s “Three Hundred Pounds of Joy,” a song on which Sumlin’s playing had set the standard for modern blues guitar. Continuing with even more blues, Susan belted out Bobby Blue Bland’s “That Did It” that included a lyric change to mention San Francisco’s well known late night bar, The Boom Boom Room, originally owned by John Lee Hooker. Susan’s raw playing and gritty vocals brought everyone in the house to their feet. At the end of their next tune “Darlin’ Be Home Soon” by Lovin’ Spoonful, the countdown to 2012 began: 15, 14, 13, 12…
As the balloons dropped and Susan and Derek exchanged a kiss, the rest of the band played an interesting avant-garde arrangement of “Auld Lang Syne.” They then launched into a rocking rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)” which put the spotlight on Susan again with her smoothly refined vocals that gave more than a nod to Janis.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, Susan recalled that the last time they played NYE in SF was with John Lee Hooker in 1999.
Next up was Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Going to Be Alright),” a tune that gave the band multiple opportunities to each showcase their talents and included some stellar trumpet work from Maurice and an extended drum solo that showcased the tight interplay between drummers Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson.
Oteil Burbridge, who had been sitting much of the night, began his solo and then stepped up to the mic and played melodic bass lines while scatting the notes to accent his playing. Susan even threw in a few lines from “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” before the song ended.
For the encore, the band launched into “Nobody’s Free” which included extended improvisation from Trucks and the band, echoing shades of jazz greats like Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Sly Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song” followed and transitioned into “Take Me Higher” for a funk filled finale before Susan thanked the sound engineer, Marty Wall, (who has been with husband, Derek for over 16 years and was engineering his last Trucks gig on this night) and wished everyone a blessed 2012.
All night long, Derek Trucks dropped jaws with his slide playing while Susan’s emotional vocals and lead contributions pleased everyone. What really sets this band apart is how Susan and Derek have integrated their musical styles while letting the other band members shine. This cooperation and respect for each other’s talents are really what make the band much more than just the sum of its parts. It’s obvious that they really do enjoy playing together as judged by the energetic interaction, heartfelt emotion, and playful attitude on stage. Given the challenges of touring with eleven band member plus crew, much gratitude can be found in the fact that Tedeschi and Trucks are continuing to bring their brand of music to an ever-enthusiastic and always growing legion of fans.
Tedeschi Trucks Band Setlist
Don’t Do It, Don’t Let Me Slide, Midnight in Harlem, Learn How to Love, I’ve Got a Feelin’, Bound for Glory, 300 Pounds of Joy, That Did It, Darlin’ be Home Soon, Countdown Groove, Try (Just a Little Bit Harder), Uptight, Love Has Something Else to Say
Encore: Everybody’s Talkin’, Nobody’s Free, Sing a Simple Song > Take You Higher
Click the thumbnail to view more of Susan Weiand‘s photos from the show…