Going into a Tedeschi Trucks Band show, you know you’re going to get a winning combo of Derek Trucks’ incredible guitar work and his wife Susan Tedeschi’s bluesy vocals, along with some stretched-out jams full of horns, percussion, even flute, that will get the crowd dancing for most of the show.
Even knowing that, though, doesn’t make the sound of Trucks leaning into his first solo, or the dead-sexy voice of Tedeschi any less thrilling when you hear them. Monday night, braving threatening skies that did nothing to damper the good vibes inside the venue, the Tedeschi Trucks Band delivered a stellar show highlighted by songs from their upcoming Made Up Mind album, as well as a touching tribute to the recently deceased Bobby “Blue” Bland.
Opening with a torrid version of “Don’t Let Me Slide,” the band settled into the groove easily, each of the many musicians on stage smiling and moving to the sound they collectively created. Tedeschi is no slouch on the guitar, either, and her exchanges with Trucks–simply one of the best players in the world–created aural sparks early and often.
“Midnight in Harlem” showcased how strong a slow-blues belter Tedeschi is, while “Bound for Glory” offered a soulful R&B vamp that was my favorite performance of the night.
Among the new songs, the title track to Made Up Mind was strong, and Trucks’ solo on the ballad “It’s So Heavy” offered ample proof, as if it was needed, that he is hard to beat as a player. I first fell for Trucks’ playing when I saw him play with Eric Clapton in the Duane Allman role during one Clapton tour when he was doing a set heavy on Derek & the Dominos material. Trucks wiped up the floor with Slowhand that night at the EnergySolutions Arena, and I’ve tried to see him live every time he’s come to town since.
Unfortunately, that also means putting up with the drum solos favored by the jam bands, something I can certainly live without. But if stomaching another seemingly endless round of percussion is the price for digging into Tedeschi and Trucks’ excellent live interaction, so be it.
The most touching point of the night came when Tedeschi acknowledged the death of the legendary Bobby “Blue” Bland the day before, leading the band into an excellent take on Bland’s “That Did It” that made excellent use of all aspects of the band, from the horns to the keyboards to Tedeschi’s voice and Trucks’ playing. With a light sprinkle falling from the slate-gray sky overhead, the song proved a perfect homage to the man. Great stuff.