Tedeschi Trucks Band Makes Brooklyn Academy Of Music Debut

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Words by: Scott Bernstein

Images by: Jeremy Gordon

Tedeschi Trucks Band :: 2.20.19
BAM – Howard Gilman Opera House :: NYC

Wednesday’s Tedeschi Trucks Band show at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music’s 111-year-old Howard Gilman Opera House was supposed to be a celebratory affair. The band issued Signs, their fourth studio album the previous Friday and were playing one of just a handful of concerts at a New York City venue that isn’t the Beacon Theatre since 2011. However, the passing of founding member Kofi Burbridge on Friday turned Wednesday’s performance into a more somber affair.

It almost seemed as if the members of the 12-piece band were shell-shocked and focused on emotional and slow-paced material. A huge array of flowers was set up in front of Kofi’s usual position. Keyboardist and vocalist Gabe Dixon is holding down Burbridge’s spot at least until the end of 2019. Another major change since the TTB’s last visit to the area was on bass. Tim Lefebvre parted ways with the group and Brandon Boone held down the bottom end on Wednesday. Changing out two members of the group, even a 12-piece band, led to a major change in their sound. Boone is still getting comfortable while Dixon brings a new tonal quality to the music and has a wonderful voice that fit well.

The TTB set the pace for the mostly mellow affair by opening with their third-ever rendition of Willie Nelson’s “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces.” Susan was in fine voice but it was clear the lyrics had extra meaning on this night. The group proceeded to perform the first three tracks off Signs: “Signs, High Times,” “I’m Gonna Be There” and “When Will I Begin.” Each of the tunes showed off a different influence that is part of the Tedeschi Trucks Band stew. “Signs, High Times” sounded like it was straight out of the Stax era, “I’m Gonna Be There” is the most sultry TTB song yet and “When Will I Begin” channeled Sam Cooke’s ballads. What all three songs had in common were scorching slide solos from Derek Trucks. At age 39 he continues to improve, as he’s now reached a ridiculous level of talent that puts him up there with the best to ever play guitar. There’s little doubt music fans will be studying Derek’s style 30 years from now the way current fans study Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Duane Allman.

The first set on Wednesday continued with a heartfelt cover of Bob Dylan’s “Down In The Flood” before the TTB finally picked up the pace for the pairing of Signs lead single “Hard Case” and Revelator’s “Bound For Glory.” With 12 musicians on stage it can be easy to become bogged down with endless solos, yet the TTB do a nice job of picking a few soloists for each song and spreading the wealth nicely throughout the night. Except when it comes to Derek, of course. Susan went on to sing the fitting “The Sky Is Crying” before the highlight of the set: an exploratory “Idle Wind” featuring a full band jam on Bob Marley’s “Rastaman Chant.” This was the Tedeschi Trucks Band at its best.

When the group returned for the second set they opened with their recently revived version of The Allman Brothers Band classic “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’.” Dixon masterfully handled vocals on the early ABB gem. Trucks was a member of the Allmans for 15 years, so it makes sense that the band is slowly but surely plucking tunes from the ABB repertoire for the TTB repertoire. One song a night seems about right and there’s no reason at this point Derek should run from what was an important portion of his career. The 12-piece kept the energy up with the pairing of “Don’t Know What It Means” and “The Letter.” Susan made The Box Tops’ cover her own and was perhaps at her best all night during “The Letter.” Next came a tender moment as Tedeschi led Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On A Wire.”

The Tedeschi Trucks Band had two more Signs songs in store. First up was the funky “Walk Through This Life,” a song out of the same part of the musical stratosphere as “I’m Gonna Be There.” Then, the group lit into “Shame,” the most powerful song on the LP. Susan, Derek and the band have been performing “Shame” live for nearly two years and it’s become a highlight whenever it’s played, which was the situation at BAM. Next up was the Derek showcase “Midnight In Harlem.” His beautiful intro was a breathtaking moment and his slide solo was a sight to behold as at one point I thought his guitar might catch on fire. A sequence of Sleepy John Estes’ “Leaving Trunk” and Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Volunteered Slavery” brought the frame to a close. The band then said farewell, after Susan thanked the crowd for its love and support, with a “Show Me” encore. For many TTB fans, the venues where the group play is church and Wednesday was a spiritual night of the highest level where the congregation came together to mourn and celebrate the life of Kofi Burbridge.

Fan-Shot Videos (Captured by HotFinTuna)

The Letter

Idle Wind

The Sky Is Crying

Bound For Glory

Setlist

Tedeschi Trucks Band at Brooklyn Academy of Music

Set 1
  • Somebody Pick Up My Pieces  
  • Signs, High Times
  • I'm Gonna Be There
  • When Will I Begin
  • Down in the Flood  
  • Hard Case
  • Bound for Glory
  • The Sky Is Crying  
  • Idle Wind  
Set 2
  • Don't Keep Me Wonderin'  
  • Don't Know What It Means  
  • The Letter  
  • Bird on the Wire  
  • Walk Through This Life
  • Shame
  • Midnight in Harlem
  • Leaving Trunk  
  • Volunteered Slavery  
Encore
  • Show Me  

Tour Dates for
Tedeschi Trucks Band

  • Apr
    2
    2019
  • Apr
    4
    2019
  • Apr
    8
    2019
  • Apr
    10
    2019
  • Apr
    11
    2019
  • Apr
    12
    2019
  • Apr
    17
    2019
  • Apr
    18
    2019
  • Apr
    20
    2019
  • Apr
    23
    2019
  • Apr
    26
    2019
  • Apr
    27
    2019
  • May
    10
    2019
  • May
    11
    2019
  • May
    12
    2019
  • May
    14
    2019
  • May
    16
    2019
  • May
    17
    2019
  • May
    18
    2019
  • May
    21
    2019
  • May
    23
    2019
  • May
    24
    2019
  • May
    25
    2019
  • Jun
    28
    2019
  • Jun
    29
    2019
  • Jun
    30
    2019
  • Jul
    3
    2019
  • Jul
    5
    2019
  • Jul
    6
    2019
  • Jul
    7
    2019
  • Jul
    9
    2019
  • Jul
    10
    2019
    • 140 Main Street
    • Marshfield, MA 02050
    • United States
    Jul
    12
    2019
  • Jul
    13
    2019
  • Jul
    14
    2019
  • Jul
    16
    2019
  • Jul
    17
    2019
  • Jul
    19
    2019
  • Jul
    20
    2019
  • Jul
    21
    2019
  • Jul
    23
    2019
  • Jul
    24
    2019
  • Jul
    26
    2019
  • Jul
    27
    2019
  • Jul
    30
    2019
  • Jul
    31
    2019
  • Aug
    2
    2019
  • Aug
    3
    2019
    • 2300 Oak Ridge Road
    • Arrington, VA 22922
    • United States
    Aug
    24
    2019
  • Nov
    6
    2019
  • Nov
    7
    2019
  • Nov
    8
    2019
  • Nov
    12
    2019
  • Nov
    14
    2019
  • Nov
    15
    2019
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