Tedeschi Trucks Band Live in 2024: Review

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Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, San Diego, June 8, 2024

Derek Trucks is doing nothing to help solve the perennial nature versus nurture dilemma. As a nephew of Butch Trucks (longtime drummer for the Allman Brothers Band), guitarist Derek and his singer-guitarist wife Susan Tedeschi continue to deliver remarkable music. Drawing on several different roots (genetic or otherwise), Tedeschi Trucks Band onstage is a fully satisfying ensemble, as evidenced by their June 8, 2024, concert at CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theatre in San Diego, Calif.

It is never easy touring a large band, but TTB insists on the full sound of three brass players, three backup vocalists and two drummers on their “Deuces Wild” outing. That is in addition to the frontline of the married couple, with Gabe Dixon on keyboards and Brandon Boone on bass.

After the crowd surprised Trucks with a round of “Happy Birthday,” the band got down to business. The second song, “Hear My Dear,” evoked the shimmering sound of the Allman Brothers’ “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” with Trucks opening up the first of a stunning number of creative guitar solos. Trucks never really played full-face to the audience; we saw him mostly in profile. Perhaps this stance was to better to interface with his band. Indeed, a mere nod of his head and the band shifted effortlessly into a higher gear.

Watch them perform “Hear My Dear” one night later

Tedeschi is this generation’s Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Her prowess on guitar is sterling, and as lead vocalist for the band she evokes Bonnie Raitt, but with more of a honeyed tone. To further the comparison, as an encore Tedeschi did a tender duet with Dixon on Raitt’s version of “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”

Susan Tedeschi in San Diego, 2024 (Photo: Brad Auerbach, used with permission)

For most of the evening Tedeschi proudly played a guitar autographed by the likes of Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King and Herbie Hancock.

TTB does not seem overly bothered by genres; they moved easily across a variety of cover songs and originals. “I Got a Feeling” was a great example. The original Beatles version included the underrated Billy Preston on keyboards. Later in the evening Dixon played a dexterous keyboard dichotomy between the bass riffs on his Hammond B3 and the treble melody on his Fender Rhodes keyboard.

One might not expect such a wide British song selection from a band like TTB, too often slotted into the blues or Americana genre. But in addition to a solid cover of Blind Faith’s “Presence of the Lord,” TTB closed out the main set with a gripping version of “Beck’s Bolero.” The latter instrumental was the eponymous showcase for a young Jeff Beck, now long considered at the top of the guitarist pantheon. Trucks tackled the complex arrangement with aplomb, bringing the band along for a stunning crescendo.

TTB has dipped into the Allman Brothers songbook over the years, and in San Diego they tackled the opener from their forebears’ epic At Fillmore East album. But first the brass section and backup singers took a break, while the two drummers remained for the twin lead guitar attack of “Statesboro Blues.” It was clear by this point that TTB has a sufficient arsenal of original songs to more than fill out a setlist, but paying homage to Trucks’ genetic roots was more than appropriate.

Related: Our review of a 2016 live TTB show

A slow blues bass solo by Boone during “Shame” slid smoothly into a few almost imperceptible bars of “Whipping Post,” only to circle back and land where the song started. No one talking about the show on the way out seemed to be disappointed by the setlist or the ace performance of the band, and more than a couple of fans were overheard making plans to travel to nearly Los Angeles or Phoenix to find out how the setlist would inevitably evolve.

Watch TTB cover the Allmans’ “Blue Sky” in early 2024, with Duane Betts sitting in

Tickets to see the Tedeschi Trucks Band are available here. Their recordings are available here.

Brad Auerbach

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