At The Arlington Theatre, Tue., Nov. 7.
If you like jam bands such as Widespread Panic, Phish, String Cheese Incident, and Dead and Co., to name a few, chances are you’re a fan of Tedeschi Trucks Band, too. The 12-piece ensemble descended on The Arlington Theatre last Tuesday night, featuring guitar wizard Derek Trucks and heir apparent to Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi (guitar, vocals). I was expecting a jam-filled night with the Allman Brothers Band (ABB) torch burning bright (Trucks was a member of the group and is nephew to ABB drummer Butch Trucks), and while they did deliver big on that note a few times, overall the show never really hit a consistent vibe. Part of that may have been due to the live mix that seemed blown out at times, drowning out the three backup singers and horn section.
However, if you came to the show to hear Derek Trucks, he did not disappoint. On “Rise Up,” he practically tore the frets from his guitar with heat-searing licks reminiscent of ABB founder Duane Allman. The band fared better sonically when the setup was sparser. It was a joy to be able to hear Tedeschi and Trucks trade riffs on their hornless version of “Get What You Deserve,” and the less-is-more approach also worked well for a swooning rendition of Jerry Garcia’s “Sugaree.” The high point of the night was “Angel from Montgomery,” the John Prine tune sung beautifully by Tedeschi, whose vocals both cradled and rocked listeners.
The sound mix got better as the band worked down the set list, but it felt like they should have played either in a smaller, club-type setting or in a larger venue to let the sound breathe. Regardless, to see arguably one of the greatest guitar players on the planet with a singer who can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up will keep me coming back for more.