Tedeschi Trucks Band Loads 25th Beacon Theatre Show With Guests In New York City: Review, Photos & Videos

Words by: Chad Berndtson

Images by: Greg Logan

Tedeschi Trucks Band :: 10.11.17 :: Beacon Theatre :: NYC

What a great tradition this has become, now seven years in, and, as of Wednesday night’s unimpeachably thrilling set, 25 shows for Tedeschi Trucks Band at the gilded music palace on the Upper West Side.

You knew some things going in: that there would be guests both expected and unexpected, that there’d be moments of pure and unfiltered soul that would be enough to stop time, if just for a moment, and there’d be at least two, and probably more, mind-erasing Derek Trucks solos that’d make you rethink that scoff from earlier in the evening that you’d seen and heard everything the man can do with a guitar.

Wednesday had all of that and more. And this being the Beacon, and this being such a year of loss for musical luminaries and legends with a direct bearing on this band, this venue and this city, you also knew the room would be heavy with history, and the band would inevitably embrace it.

How did it go down? As a parade of featured guests, starting with Allmans survivor Jaimoe, progressing through Doyle Bramhall II, Nels Cline and Norah Jones, and ending with Luther Dickinson, along with Carey Frank — TTB swingman for life following his months of filling in for Kofi Burbridge. They represented a range of effects, from Bramhall’s more understated, blues-centric stint to Cline’s mind-blowing solos — perhaps the only player of the night who could steal some of the orbit from Derek himself, and for three galactic minutes of an Allman Brothers Band song, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” to boot. And how about the sultry Jones, there so briefly, but with so much impact, duetting with Susan on Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Has No Pride” with unrestrained grace and beauty?

That TTB gave so much of this show over to guest appearances meant a certain sacrifice — namely, of the other members of the band whose finest contributions came in subtle doses. There was Kebbi Williams, accentuating the spectral, unhurried intro to “Midnight in Harlem.” There was Mike Mattson, doing his Mike Mattison thing to power “Leavin’ Trunk” and “Volunteered Slavery.” There was the revitalized Kofi, who took the plum solo on “Let Me Get By” and made it a combination of bent-tone weirdness and colorful soul. And there were Alecia Chakour and Mark Rivers, so rich and detailed in their harmonies.

TTB has evolved over time and seems to be aging well as it approaches its first decade milestone. Its namesakes are still its center of gravity, but the band feels fuller — more involved, like a collective, instead of as an ensemble with players who are featured on occasion. That said, there’s no one who can quite tractor beam the entire room into his gravitational pull like Trucks at the height of a guitar excursion. He once described to us what separates the great guitarists from the truly next-level players, and his best improvisational segments as usual defined that, from the greasy soul in “Midnight in Harlem” to the ferocious attack in “The Storm,” which yielded to a drum segment and then re-emerged as an extended jam on “Whipping Post.”

The Allmans influence was strong this night and nobody minded; “Ain’t Wasting,” “Whipping Post” and an encore kickoff of “Statesboro Blues” were all fitting tribute to the obvious ghosts in the room. If we could have used a bit more TTB amidst the tributes and guests is more a question of what TTB truly is: an original R&B/funk/soul band or a panorama of influences it’s not shy about. I like to think it doesn’t matter; this band plays this eclectic set of music with such gusto and celebration you don’t mind how much of the playbook you’ve heard before.

Full Show Video Playlist (Captured by Scott Gibson

Setlist

Set: I Want More, Midnight in Harlem*, Leavin’ Trunk*$ > Volunteered Slavery*$, All the World#, Part of Me#, Lovin’ You#, The Sky Is Crying#, Ali+ > Let Me Ge By+, Ain’t Wastin Time No More*+, Love Has No Pride**, I Wish I Knew, The Storm/Whipping Post

Encore: Statesboro Blues*& > Will the Circle Be Unbroken*& > Bound for Glory*&

  • * w/ Jaimoe on drums
  • $ w/Carey Frank on keys
  • # w/Doyle Bramhall II on guitar and vocals
  • + w/Nels Cline on guitar
  • ** w/Norah Jones on keys and vocals
  • & w/Luther Dickinson on guitar

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