Concert Review: Tedeschi Trucks Band (January 21, 2018)

January 23, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

ARTIST:  Tedeschi Trucks Band

VENUE:  Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville, NC

DATE:  January 21, 2018

Review by: Caleb Calhoun

Photos by:  David Simchock

“Susan, Susan!” Tedeschi Trucks BandSusan Tedeschi - Tedeschi Trucks Band© Copyright David Simchock

The show has not even begun yet, the house lights not even dimmed, but the woman behind me can no longer control her enthusiasm. And realistically, there is no reason she should have to. Tedeschi Trucks Band is one of the hottest acts going right now and many fans have had this night circled on their calendar for months now.

“Susan!”

I share a smile with my friend and chuckle. Truth be told, I’m pretty damn excited for this show to start myself - Thomas Wolfe Auditorium being the perfect venue and feeling like, as per usual, this Sunday show is going to deliver.

I catch up with my photographer just as they flash the lights and hustle back over to my seat in the pit as quickly as I can. As the musicians begin to take the stage I take one last look around the room under the full glow of the house lights.

Tedeschi Trucks BandDerek Trucks - Tedeschi Trucks Band© Copyright David Simchock The crowd is diverse, UNCA students mingle with their professors, bosses with their employees. There is a lovely older woman a few seats down from me in a Frank Zappa shirt, there are dresses and dark patterned tights, cowboy hats and fedoras, flowers behind ears and pendants of every variety from shells to pine cones to art-deco golden hoop pieces. There are frills and there are tassels, fringe and lace. There are deadheads repping proudly, TTB fans showing off the merch they purchased last time around, and fans of National Football League in their team’s jerseys, checking their phones in between songs.

There is old and young, dark and light, professional and tour kid. There is beauty in every corner, in every seat of every aisle, a beauty that shortly will be fully reflected from the stage.

And then it is. The house lights go down and the stage lights come up and they are wailing and sliding their way through a scorching “Don’t Know What it Means.” They bring it to a close but without closure, disintegrating into a dirty, jazzy saxophone solo and some dark, heavy noodling before pouring around the corner into a powerful “Keep on Growing.”

The tone is set, the gauntlet has been thrown. It’s a contest to see whether the audience or the band can outshine, out-sing, and out dance each other and, in the end, everyone wins.

Tedeschi Trucks BandTedeschi Trucks Band© Copyright David Simchock As they head into “Just as Strange” the background, which all of us had taken to be stationary foam, begins to move and the lights really begin to power up. The lighting is perfect, beautiful combinations of teals and purples and oranges and yellows and it builds like an acid trip, coming to a crescendo near the end of the show during “Midnight in Harlem,” and then fading and washing out from there.

They push through a solid set list, never getting bogged down, the rhythm section perfect, Truck’s and Tedeschi’s guitars taking us to another place before dropping into a beautiful and sad version of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice.”

Tedeschi Trucks BandSusan Tedeschi - Tedeschi Trucks Band© Copyright David Simchock They drive through “Comin’ Home” and then lead into an extended intro to “Midnight in Harlem” before really cranking it all the way up in an inspired version of that song.

As they roll through “Get What You Deserve” and into “Bound for Glory” it’s becoming increasingly difficult to take one’s eyes off of Derek Trucks. The man is both a living legend and still performing at the very top of his game. And while the entire band is about as on-point as it is possible to be it is his authentic and particular brand of face-shredding that really makes this band what it is.

As the last notes of “Bound for Glory” fade, Tedeschi waves to the audience and warmly thanks them for coming out. After a solid encore chant they come back out for one more song, a rowdy, inclusive version of Joe Cocker’s “Let’s Go Get Stoned.”

It’s a little before ten pm as we walk out of the auditorium, a short 100 minutes of music or so for the price, but a beautiful evening from start to finish and a band I hope to see many, many more times.

Caleb Calhoun is a music journalist and author based out of Asheville, NC. He studied writing at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and music at a myriad of bars and clubs across the southeast. He lives on south-slope with his best friend, Dr. Gonzo, and a whole gaggle of roommates. He can be reached at caleb.calhoun@gmail.com or at facebook.com/gonzonc.

CHECK OUT THE TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND PHOTO GALLERY HERE

 


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