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Tedeschi Trucks Band with Hot Tuna and The Wood Brothers at Red Rocks

Geoff Anderson By

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Tedeschi Trucks Band with Hot Tuna and The Wood Brothers
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Denver, CO
July 29-30, 2017

The Tedeschi Trucks juggernaut continues to snowball. The band's inaugural Denver concert in November 2011 was at the Fillmore Auditorium; capacity 3,000. The venue quickly shifted to an annual summer show at Red Rocks; capacity 9,000. Their first show at the iconic amphitheater didn't sell out, but that changed quickly and sell-outs became then norm. Then, this year, the public demanded two nights; over 18,000 tickets. That's a growth rate even a jaded hedge fund manager would have to admire (except, maybe, Martin Shkreli).

Tedeschi and Trucks continue to take their full 12 piece band on the road. Two drummers, three backing singers, a three piece horn section, bass and keyboards back up the husband and wife front line. It's a big sound and the leaders find endless ways to deploy all the crack players at their disposal. And, if a 12 piece band wasn't enough, guest musicians came and went throughout their sets.

TTB tends to play lengthy sets; two to two and a half hours apiece. Before the Red Rocks shows, the band promised to mix things up from night to night and keep it fresh. Indeed, the band repeated only two songs, "I Want More" and "Bound for Glory," both TTB originals. Over the course of the two evenings, the band performed most of their latest studio album, Let Me Get By (Fantasy, 2016). As usual, the set lists also included healthy doses of cover tunes as well. Two Derek and the Dominos tunes made the cut: "Keep on Growing" and "Any Day." Inclusion of tunes from that band has been typical since Trucks' time with Eric Clapton a few years ago on a tour that featured many Dominos songs. Other covers from the Classic Rock era included Wings' "Let Me Roll It," a medley of "Angel from Montgomery" and "Sugaree" and "Sweet Virginia." The blues were well represented with covers like "Leaving Trunk," "How Blue Can You Get," "I Pity the Fool," "The Sky is Crying" and "Get Out My Life, Woman."

Trucks was a guitar prodigy long before joining the Allman Brothers Band full time in 1999 and he's the one most TTB fans want to hear pouring out his pain on the fret board. Tedeschi, however, is also a long time guitarist, but her vocal abilities have long overshadowed her guitar work. Nevertheless, she has never been shy about throwing down guitar solos as a member of TTB and even when she was a guest musician with the Allman Brothers standing between Trucks and Warren Haynes. Last weekend, it was apparent her soloing has improved. And why not? That's bound to happen with any guitarist that spends a lot of time with somebody like Trucks. Her most notable solo was Sunday night on "I Pity the Fool," a song most closely associated with Bobby Blue Bland who first recorded it. Sunday night, however, she dedicated it to Buddy Guy, whose birthday was that day. Guy had recorded that one with B.B. King on King's Blues Summit (MCA, 1993). Tedeschi proceeded to grab the tune by the throat and didn't let go. Her impassioned vocal would have been enough to bring down the house on its own, but she upped the ante with an equally passionate guitar solo, even taking a page from Guy's book, playing the guitar behind her head and coming out to the front of the stage. Guy is known for wading into the crowd while he solos. Given the amount of groping a guy like Guy gets, Tedeschi's decision to merely stroll near the crowd and not into it was a wise one. So even for fans of Trucks' playing, it's still nice to hear other ideas. After all, if your favorite color is blue, you won't paint everything in your house blue, you'll probably want to use some other colors to add interest and variety.

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