Feelin’ Alright: Dave Mason & Eric Krasno Guest With Tedeschi Trucks Band At Beacon Theatre
Words by: Scott Bernstein
Images by: Dino Perrucci
Tedeschi Trucks Band :: 10.04.16
Beacon Theatre :: New York City
Beacon Theatre :: New York City
On September 10, 2011 the Tedeschi Trucks Band made a stop at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, a venue guitarist Derek Trucks had played nearly a hundred times with his other group at the time – the Allman Brothers Band. Little did those in attendance realize a tradition would start that night which has fully blossomed into a six-show residency five years later. With each passing year Trucks and Susan Tedeschi fine tune their massive ensemble and the songbook they pull from. Tuesday night’s third of six shows that make up this year’s TTB Beacon residency found the 12-piece band firing on all cylinders and continuing the tradition of welcoming guests each night that the Allmans started with their runs at the New York City venue.
On Tuesday Dave Mason of Traffic fame kicked off the festivities with an hour set. Mason was backed by a talented band of his own that included Tony Patler on keyboards, Johnne Sambataro on guitar and Alvino Bennett on drums. The four-piece was dressed like they stepped out of 1992 and used tones from that era as well. Mason treated fans to a set heavy on Traffic classics such as “Forty Thousand Headmen,” “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” The quartet also provided an unusual jazzy rendition of “The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys” that resolved with a normally played coda. The English singer-songwriter showed off his range on the slower-paced “We Just Disagree,” a 1977 solo hit Mason introduced by saying “now it’s time for me to be a sensitive son of a bitch.” Dave Mason ended the set by thanking the TTB for having them out and giving the band props before launching into a quick and nasty cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” in the style of Jimi Hendrix.
Each year the Tedeschi Trucks Band shows off the covers and originals they’ve debuted over the past 12 months during the Beacon run. For instance the TTB began their marathon, 140-minute performance with a cover of ZZ Top’s “Goin’ Down To Mexico.” The 12-piece debuted the tune back in April with Mike Mattison on vocals and on Tuesday it was clear the cover fits the band nicely. Up next was “Let Me Get By” which starts with a Derek-led intro. In a rare display of negative emotion, the guitarist put his finger to his mouth to give the universal sign of “shush!” to a disruptive audience member. Derek went right back to work and soon the ensemble started the song in earnest.
“Let Me Get By,” the title track to the band’s most recent studio album, features everything there is to love about the group. Tedeschi fronts the TTB with strong vocals, keyboardist Kofi Burbridge throws in funky organ accents, Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson’s deliver dynamic drumming, Tim Lefebvre’s holds down the bottom end with nuance and the full sound that comes from having three backing vocalists in addition to a three-piece horn section. And then of course there’s Derek. Trucks took his first goosebump-inducing solo of the night during “Let Me Get By” as he showed why he’s one of the best in the game. He started his solo slowly and patiently revved up to his highest gear garnering looks of incredulity from many audience members.
Susan Tedeschi’s powerful pipes were on display all night long. On “Laugh About It” she took her hands off her guitar to mimic each of the lyrics she was singing. Tedeschi puts herself full throttle into each song that she sings. On a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On A Wire” she displayed the ridiculous range of her voice and later in the night teamed with vocalists Alecia Chakour and Mike Mattison for a gorgeous trio version of George Jones’ “Color Of The Blues.” With such a big band there were many moments throughout the night that we witnessed paired down versions of the group. Another instance came when Burbridge, Trucks, Tedeschi, Lefebvre and the drummers came together for a jam on Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew” as the singers and horn section sat out. Eventually trumpeter Ephraim Owens came out and unleashed a wild solo to the delight of his band mates. The rest of the TTB then emerged for a triumphant “Don’t Know What It Means” > “Get What You Deserve” sequence.
The evening’s first guest was Eric Krasno, who had previously toured with the TTB as bassist ahead of Lefebvre coming aboard. Krasno and Trucks went toe-to-toe on a cover of Sly & The Family Stone’s “I Cannot Make It.” After Kraz departed the stage the TTB embarked on “I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free),” a Billy Taylor cover that was a Derek Trucks Band staple and recently entered the 12-piece’s repertoire. The song was a showcase for the band’s incredibly vibrant singers as Chakour and Mark Rivers urged each other to greatness. The finale of the main set was Let Me Get By track “I Want More” which turned into a display of fretboard fireworks from Derek. Trucks, like the rest of his band, gets better with each passing performance as he and his wife have keyed in on the perfect chemistry for their group. Derek gave his drummers a glance and the TTB took a turn into “Soul Sacrifice” by Santana. It was eerie how well Trucks nailed Carlos’s signature lines from the song. The crowd gave the TTB a huge ovation as they vacated the stage after “Soul Sacrifice.”
Susan led the group back on stage and through “Nighttime Is The Right Time” as she absolutely nailed the wails of “baby!” that are crucial to the song. Chakour threw in a few delightful screams of “baby!” as well. She’s a wonderful addition to the band and it’s fantastic the NYC native has found a musical home. The night ended with Mason coming to the stage with his band mates to lead the Tedeschi Trucks Band on a “Feelin’ Alright” that had most of the crowd singing along. As the audience filed out of the Beacon there were huge smiles everywhere you looked. New York City took a big hit when the Allman Brothers Band retired and took the annual March Madness run at the Beacon with them. Thankfully another band has stepped up to fill the hole. Six years in, the Tedeschi Trucks Band Beacon residency has all the hallmarks of the ABB runs: impressive musicianship, clever collaborations and a whole lotta fun.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band returns to the Beacon Theatre tonight.
Full Show Audio (Taped by Edtyre)
Set: Goin’ Down To Mexico, Let Me Get By, Laugh About It, Bird On A Wire, Just As Strange, Idle Wind, Color Of The Blues, Bitches Brew > Don’t Know What It Means > Get What You Deserve, I Cannot Make It (w/ Eric Krasno), That Did It, I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free), I Want More > Soul Sacrifice
Encore: Nighttime Is The Right Time, Feelin’ Alright (w/ Dave Mason, Tony Patler and Johnne Sambataro)