If the husband-wife team of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi are anywhere near as good in matrimony as they are sharing a stage, then we’re truly talking till death do they part. Married since 2001, they finally merged their own respective bands in 2010, and the resulting 11-piece unit is even stronger than the sum of its many talented parts.
The guitar-wielding Tedeschi, with her sultry Bonnie Raitt-cum-Janis Joplin vocal style, both smoldered and purred throughout the night, shining most brightly on the gospel-flavored opener “Don’t Let Me Slide,” a cover of George Harrison’s “Isn’t It a Pity” and the bouncy “Bound for Glory.” Trucks, already a guitar hero at age 33 (and a member of the Allman Brothers Band for more than a decade), only strengthened his reputation. His slide work on “Midnight in Harlem” alone, from its swamp raga intro to its intricate closing crescendo, channeled both John Coltrane and Duane Allman, and brought the seated audience to its feet.
But it was the surrounding cast who really stirred the band’s unique blend of blues, soul, Southern rock, funk, jazz and gospel. Bolstered by two drummers, two backup singers, three horn players, bassist Oteil Burbridge and his brother, keyboardist/flutist Kofi Burbridge, Tedeschi Trucks were able to reach improvisational heights few bands can reach, and gave covers “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and “The Sky Is Crying” additional authenticity.
And as for authenticity, B.B. King opened the show, giving Tedeschi Trucks the ultimate street cred. The 86-year-old legend can still make Lucille sing on occasion, as he did on “The Thrill Is Gone,” but he can also take comfort in knowing that the blues will remain in safe hands once he’s gone. ★★★★☆