LIVE: Tedeschi Trucks Band @ SPAC, 7/13/16

Tedeschi Trucks Band
Tedeschi Trucks Band

Review by Steven Stock
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Send three groups that share a common blues-inflected sensibility out on a summer tour. March the delta-based power trio out first, follow that with a sextet from East L.A., and finish strong with a twelve-piece big band. Oh, and be sure to mix things up a bit by having members of each combo sit in with their colleagues – helps keep audience and performers alike on their toes!

That was the winning formula at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center earlier this month as ace guitarists Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks brought the 2016 Wheels of Soul tour to Saratoga Springs, headlining an impressive bill that also featured the North Mississippi Allstars and Los Lobos.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band was firing on all 12 cylinders right from the outset of their climactic set, as Tedeschi belted out “Laugh About It” and Trucks responded with some scorching slide guitar that would’ve made Duane Allman a little jealous. Much of the crowd was on their feet for the gospel revival strains of the subsequent “Made Up Mind.”

After making sure everyone in their band got their share of the limelight – all three backing vocalists, the three-piece horn section, both drummers, the always-tasty Kofi Burbridge on keyboards and flute, even bassist Tim Lefebvre – Tedeschi and Trucks turbocharged the back end of their set with special guests. Cesar Rosas from Los Lobos played a gorgeous solo on a reverent version of Elmore James’ “The Sky Is Crying,” which in turn seemed to inspire some of Tedeschi’s best axework of the evening.

John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” has been a Tedeschi staple, but at SPAC it boasted a lovely new arrangement. After starting with a streamlined combo of bass, one drummer, keyboards, Tedeschi and Allstar guitarist Luther Dickinson, the song gradually gained momentum, Dickinson’s solo rippling like waves from a stone tossed into a pond. Eventually Trucks and the backing vocalists returned onstage and Burbridge switched to flute, transforming Prine’s unassuming folk song into something of an epic.

Dickinson remained onstage for a subsequent jam that evoked Bitches Brew-era Miles, with trumpeter Ephraim Owens and drummers Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson showing their chops. The already-classic “Let Me Get By” provided a rousing finale to the main set. David Hidalgo and Steve Berlin from Los Lobos joined the Tedeschi Trucks Band for both encores, a majestic version of Traffic’s “Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring?” and a high-spirited romp through Titus Turner’s “Sticks and Stones.”

Los Lobos were pretty great as well, although a nine-song set can’t begin to do justice to their versatility… or their extensive catalog. An unexpected delight was Syd Straw joining them for “Made to Break Your Heart” – not sure there were many Golden Palominos fans in this crowd, but her soaring vocals won the initially-perplexed audience over soon enough. Dickinson joined the Los Lobos guitar army for “Down on the Riverbed,” while Trucks, Lefebvre and Greenwell all contributed to the valedictory “Mas y Mas.”

Openers North Mississippi Allstars didn’t let a late-arriving crowd quell their enthusiasm as they ripped through a brief but thoroughly invigorating set, highlighted by powerful renditions of “Baby Please Don’t Leave Me” and “Commit a Crime.”

Frankie Cavone’s photographs at NYS Music

Po Black Maddie (R.L. Burnside) > Skinny Woman (R.L. Burnside)
I Got a Letter This Morning
Baby Please Don’t Leave Me
The Meeting/Back Back Train (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
Never in All My Days
Mean Ol’ Wind Died Down
K.C. Jones (On the Road Again)
Commit a Crime
Rollin’ ‘n Tumblin’ (Hambone Willie Newbern)

La venganza de los pelados
Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes
Tin Can Trust
Made to Break Your Heart
Down on the Riverbed
Kiko and the Lavender Moon
Let’s Say Goodnight
Mas y Mas

Laugh About It
Made Up Mind
Darlin’ Be Home Soon (The Lovin’ Spoonful)
Swamp Raga (Derek Trucks Band)
Within You Without You (The Beatles)
Just as Strange
Right on Time
Goin’ Down to Mexico (ZZ Top)
Don’t Know What It Means
Idle Wind
The Sky Is Crying (Elmore James)
Angel from Montgomery (John Prine)
Let Me Get By
Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring? (Traffic)
Sticks and Stones (Titus Turner)

Tedeschi Trucks Band
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Los Lobos
Los Lobos
Los Lobos
Los Lobos
  1. steve nover says

    mo I’m wrong….the first was 1991…….Siouxsie, Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction etc……………never mind

  2. Greg says


    Not only are you wrong, but you also posted your apology/correction to the wrong page…

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