The Tedeschi Trucks Band, after making a brief detour for almost 2 weeks to refuel, continued its long-distance journey, rolling into Wilkes Barre, PA’s F.M. Kirby Center on Thursday night. This was the first stop of nine shows on this Northeast leg of the tour. The sold-out crowd of almost 1,900 adoring fans was treated to a first-class mix of originals, covers, jams, and sing-along for almost two hours.

The night started with a sweet, melodic, and rousing “Anyhow” that set the bar for the night’s festivities and marked the band’s first-of-many standing ovations. The funky emotional “Laugh About It” was up next, featuring great horn work, a searing slide guitar solo from Derek Trucks, and full crowd participation with their “hands up high.”

“Part of Me”, a song reminiscent of a 50’s groove, had some amazing background vocals which complimented Susan Tedeschi’s gritty lead singing. The iconic “Midnight In Harlem”, set to a blue background and a crescent moon hanging over Derek Trucks and Kofi Burbridge, brought the crowd to their seats. This breathtaking song hushed the audience as they took in the ethereal atmosphere created by Derek’s guitar and Susan’s voice. Returning to Earth, “Right On Time”, the band’s next number, carried the crowd back in time to the 30’s with lead trombone from Elizabeth Lea and stunning singing from Susan and Mike Mattison.

“Midnight In Harlem”

[Video: Joe Yed]

The rarity “Butterfly”, a song from Susan’s solo career in 2008 that has only been played handful times by the band, was a unique treat to hear. The “Color Of The Blues”, a George Jones cover and a song that Susan had just recorded with John Prine from her explanation before the song started, was harmoniously sung by the trio of Susan, Mark Mattison, and Alecia Chakour. The singing of this song was magnificent and full of raw emotion, power, and poise.

The band’s cover of Johnny Moore Three Blazer’s “How Blue Can You Get” spotlighted Susan’s masterful and blistering lead guitar work. Next up was “Get What You Deserve”, a Derek Trucks Band cover, where Derek’s fierce guitar work left its mark all over this song and brought the crowd to its feet in appreciation.

“How Blue Can You Get”

[Video: Joe Yed]

“Shame” was an amazing number with a lead flute solo, reminiscent of the Jethro Tull songs from the 1970’s, allowed Kofi Burbridge to shine. “Idle Wind” closed the set with a cascade of lights, dueling drum work from Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson, a spiraling solo from Derek with great bass work from Tim Lefebvre, and a standing ovation that lasted until the band reappeared on the stage for their encore.

Based on the setlist, Tedeschi Trucks Band planned on playing “Bound for Glory” as their encore but changed it to the hippie jam anthem sing-a-long “Let’s Go Get Stoned”. This song was originally recorded by The Coasters, but most people are probably most familiar with the Joe Cocker version. The entire sold-out crowd swayed and sang along to the song, which featured a special guest appearance from guitarist Jon LaDeau from The National Reserve Band, the opening act for this show. Jon’s spirited guitar playing along with Elizabeth Tea’s trombone solo and Ephraim Owens’ amazing trumpet work brought this magical show home for everyone involved.

Tedeschi Trucks Band is a twelve-wheel band of twelve incredibly talented musicians, which fits together and is as powerful as a semi. Each piece critical to the others, and all were highlighted at different times throughout the show. The band has grown and evolved into a force to reckon with and is only getting better with age.

Setlist: Tedeschi Trucks Band | F.M. Kirby Center | Wilkes-Barre, PA | 2/8/2018

Set One: Anyhow, Laugh About It, Part Of Me, Midnight In Harlem, Right On Time, Butterfly, Color Of The Blues (George Jones cover), How Blue Can You Get (Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers cover), Get What You Deserve (Derek Trucks Band cover), Shame, Idle Wind

Encore: Let’s Go Get Stoned (The Coasters cover)

[Photo: Bob Schultz]