Tedeschi Trucks Band Closes Out 2018 In Boston: Photos, Review & Audio

By Andrew Bruss Dec 3, 2018 9:09 am PST

Words & Images by: Andrew Bruss

Tedeschi Trucks Band :: 12.01.2018
Orpeheum Theatre :: Boston, MA

Tedeschi Trucks Band has made a tradition out of ending their touring year with a three-night run at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre and although the last night of the three lacked in the sentimentality you might expect from “the last show of the year,” they put in an honest effort that didn’t say much about where they’re going but made a bold statement about who they are and where they come from.

Over the course of two sets, the 12-member ensemble took their audience on a musical tour of numerous musical genres that are uniquely American and which form the double helix of their DNA. TTB performed a plethora of blues standards, folk ballads, funk tunes and rock numbers that allowed them to pay homage to their roots while simultaneously leaving their own modern mark on the iconic material.

The first set started off at a relatively slow pace. Things didn’t really start to heat up until their cover of “Key To The Highway” that segued into “Idle Wind” that led into the intermission. While the audience may have been hoping for a harder rocking start to the night, the groovier feel to that first hour was entirely by design and by no means reflected on the quality of the performance so much as it demonstrated the ability of TTB to control the pace of things by arranging their setlist around the material most appropriate for their mood.

After a break, the band came back to the stage and started their second set off with a cover of Dr. John’s “I Walk On Guilded Splinters,” an iconic funk staple Trucks regularly performed as a member of The Allman Brothers Band. Susan Tedeschi’s star shone brightest when the lineup shrank to a quartet and she performed John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” and Jerry Garcia’s “Sugaree” while the majority of the band took a rest.

As a singer, performer and bandleader, the gravity of the band revolves around Susan Tedeschi, but when it comes to ripping a guitar solo, Derek Trucks leaves her in the dust. Tedeschi is a technically elite blues player with a tone you hear from fellow guitarists who attended Berklee College of Music like John Mayer and Eric Krasno. There’s nothing wrong with the “Berklee Sound,” but when you share the stage with Derek Trucks, a man whose tone is instantly recognizable within a single note being played, it makes the gap between their guitar skills more glaring. Everything on that stage revolves around her and Trucks spent the majority of the show comfortably in the back seat while she was at the wheel. That said, if you asked 100 members of the audience who the best musician on that stage would be, it’d be shocking if any of them didn’t say Derek Trucks.

The second set came to a close with a cover of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post” that may not have been Trucks’ best playing of the night, but awarded him the kind of signature rock star moment that budding guitarists hope to have some day. Early into the tune, Trucks broke a guitar string and rather than swap guitars, he literally restrung his Gibson SG in front of the audience while keyboardist Kofi Burbridge bought him some time with his best solo of the night. Trucks is notoriously minimalistic when it comes to his guitar rig, opting for a single SG wired directly into his amp without a single effects pedal. He brings an extra SG on the road with him to be used exclusively as a backup and even though the backup was on stage when he broke a string, his dedication to his main axe took precedent over a more practical drive to keep things flowing.

Very little was said about the night’s show being their last of the year. Tedeschi promised they’d be back for the same run next year, but anyone expecting frills or thrills to ring in the occasion must have been disappointed. But that has more to do with audience expectations than what the band delivered. TTB are not a showy act. They barely have any semblance of a stage production and buck a lot of the trends peer acts like Gov’t Mule and Widespread Panic use to excite the fanbases. They don’t play full albums, three-set Halloween shows or any other kind of shtick that’s become common with bands in their scene. If they really wanted to end the year with a bang, they’d play a New Years Eve gig featuring guest after guest off a bench of limitless depth. But they don’t, so they didn’t. This is who they are. They’re a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of act who deliver the goods night after night but aren’t interested in making a scene. If you need more than that, KISS is playing at TD Garden in March and they’ll deliver all the spectacle you could ask for. TTB’s last show of the year covered more ground than a music scholar could keep track of for two and a half hours and kept their crowd thoroughly engaged from the first song to the very last note. They didn’t say anything about what’s in store for TTB in 2019 but you can count on them wrapping it up in the same room on the same weekend.

Photos by Andrew Bruss

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Audio (Taped by Bob Hundertmark)


Tedeschi Trucks Band at Orpheum Theatre

Set 1
  • Sitting in Limbo  
  • Don't Know What It Means
  • The Letter  
  • Part of Me
  • It's So Heavy
  • Leaving Trunk  
  • Key to the Highway  
  • Idle Wind
Set 2
  • I Walk on Guilded Splinters  
  • Little Martha / Midnight in Harlem
  • Laugh About It
  • I Want More
  • Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever  
  • Get Out of My Life, Woman  
  • Angel From Montgomery / Sugaree
  • The Storm
  • Whipping Post  
  • Going, Going, Gone  
  • More and More  
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