Tedeschi Trucks Band
with Kristina Train/Paul Olsen
Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts • Melbourne, FL, 4/21/15
One of my favorite all-time venues played host to an epic event, as the Tedeschi Trucks Band blew the roof off the King Center and rocked the packed house with 105 minutes of soul-drenched blues. The 11-piece ensemble includes keyboardist/flautist Kofi Burbridge, bassist Tim Lefebvre, saxophonist Kebbi Williams, Maurice Brown on trumpet, Saunders Sermons on trombone, drummers Tyler Greenwell and JJ Johnson, and Mike Mattison/Mark Rivers on backing vocals. Of course, the band is fronted by the spine-tingling sounds of guitarist/lead singer Susan Tedeschi’s haunting voice and the incomparable mad guitar skills of Derek Trucks. In 2010, the husband/wife duo cleverly merged their two bands and continue touring to the delight of their faithful fans. From my first-row vantage point, I watched in mesmerized awe as Trucks and his Gibson SG worked some serious guitar magic, including killer slide, and Tedeschi thrilled with her 1970 Fender Stratocaster Sunburst while belting out several of their treasured standards.
Before TTB took the stage, New-York born/Savannah, Georgia-raised Kristina Train and Scrapomatic’s Paul Olsen charmed the enthusiastic listeners with their 30-minute acoustic opening set. The pair shared some of Train’s original material including “Deadbeat,” a song written with Scrapomatic’s/TTB’s Mattison, during which he joined them on vocals and acoustic guitar. Along with her violin and guitar prowess, Train has one of the most exquisite voices I’ve ever heard. “We’re all about trains and trucks!” she joked, as her affable stage presence and unique tone were a perfect complement to the headliners.
Kicking off their portion of the evening at 9:05pm with Allen Toussaint’s “There’s A Break in the Road,” TTB captivated the crowd with such gems as “In Every Heart,” “Made Up Mind,” “Anyhow,” “Bound For Glory,” “Get What You Deserve,” “Idle Wind” (spotlighting Burbridge on flute and monster drum solos from Greenwell and Johnson), “The Storm” (highlighted by Williams’ intense sax solo), and the poignant, Mattison-penned “Midnight in Harlem” with the ‘Swamp Raga’ intro. As is their tradition, the band also offered up great covers including “I Pity the Fool,” famously recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland, “Keep on Growing,” written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock, the John Lennon/Paul McCartney original “I’ve Got a Feeling” and the old blues standard, “Key to the Highway” with Mattison and Tedeschi both singing. Rounding out the performance during the encore with Scrapomatic’s “The Party’s Over,” openers Train and Olsen (who wrote the song) returned to the stage to sing with the band, followed by Matthew Moore’s “Space Captain” (made popular by the Joe Cocker version), featuring Tedeschi without a guitar and only mic in hand. The audience was on its feet, clapping, dancing and reveling in the splendor of this sensational show.
This was my first TTB show, and I can honestly say that I was blown away by it. While I greatly enjoyed “The Party’s Over/Space Captain,” my encore preference would have been “Angel From Montgomery/Sugaree,” which, in my opinion, should be part of every set list. Despite that omission, it did not take away from the overall phenomenal experience of hearing this incredible band.