Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, rock n’ roll power couple, returned the Beacon Theatre on Thursday night to kick off the tenth Tedeschi Trucks Band residency at the storied New York City venue.
After a summer of pared-down performances as part of the Fireside LIVE! tour, the full, 12-piece band was in house for its the first of seven shows over the next week and change. Nels Cline opened the night with his own set before joining the core of the unstoppable collective onstage for an emotional tribute to the Allman Brothers Band—the time-tested live pairing of The Spencer Davis Group’s “Don’t Want You No More > It’s Not My Cross to Bear”—to kick off the main event. Throughout the opening pairing, Cline and Trucks traded licks for the first of many times, quickly establishing a frenzied energy in the audience.
Tedeschi Trucks Band w/ Nels Cline – “Don’t You Want No More” (Spencer Davis Group) > “It’s Not My Cross To Bear” (Allman Brothers Band) – 9/30/21
Susan Tedeschi strutted onstage as the tribute wound down, throwing her guitar over her red dress before diving into TTB’s repertoire with “Signs, High Times”, the opening track off 2019’s Signs. The band’s new stage plot immediately apparent as the full group found its footing, as the horns mirrored the vocalists stage right rather than cozying up with them stage left.
The group’s multilayered vocal harmonies on “Don’t Drift Away” echoed throughout the venue before vocalist Mike Mattison stepped to the front to belt out a soulful rendition of Bessie Smith’s “Gin House Blues”. Keyboardist Gabe Dixon threw down a solo before handing the baton to Susan Tedeschi to run with some sizzling guitar licks of her own.
Tedeschi Trucks Band – “Gin House Blues” (Bessie Smith) – 9/30/21
Derek Trucks got in on the action with a searing slide solo during “Do I Look Worried?” and added a scorching, free-fingered section to “Part of Me” before saxophonist Kebbi Williams broke down the melody with assistance from Elizabeth Lea and Ephraim Owens on their respective brass wind instruments.
Susan Tedeschi took the helm next for a performance of her own tune, “Just Won’t Burn”, off her 1998 album of the same name. Gabe Dixon and Derek Trucks carved out a melodious niche during “Let Me Get By”. Tedeschi’s vocals radiated raw emotion as the lyrics “Forget what we said last December / ‘Cause It’s been a hell of a year” rang particularly true following in these uncertain times.
Tedeschi Trucks Band – “Let Me Get By” – 9/30/21
In an homage to Dr. John, the band served up hard-hitting rendition of “I Walk on Guilded Splinters”. The two drummers (Tyler Greenwell and Isaac Eady), the horns, and the supporting vocals completed the trip down to the Mississippi Delta, adding a voodoo flavor to the haunting rhythms.
Nels Cline returned to the stage from there to accompany Derek, Susan, and the band for an honest take on “Shame”. Cline and Trucks exchanged off-the-cuff licks before bassist Brandon Boone hammered home a masterful solo. Susan and the supporting vocalists’ final choral refrain echoed throughout the chamber like a drowning sailor’s last cry for help before being swept underwater.
Tedeschi Trucks Band w/ Nels Cline – “Shame” – 9/30/21
Derek took another lightning slide solo during the ensuing “Made Up Mind”, which also gave Mark Rivers the opportunity to display his vocal prowess. After, Susan retook the spotlight for Bobby Blue Bland’s “I Pity the Fool”.
The surprise of the evening was still in store, however, as Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes, Chris Robinson Brotherhood) emerged to assist Susan and the behemoth band on a cover of Matthew Moore’s “Space Captain”. The collaboration, a flashback to when Robinson joined TTB and more during the famous Joe Cocker “Mad Dogs & the Englishmen” tribute set at LOCK’N 2015, came on the same day that a new documentary about said tribute, Learning to Live Together, premiered at Woodstock Film Festival.
Tedeschi Trucks Band w/ Chris Robinson – “Space Captain” (Matthew Moore) – 9/30/21
After a quick break encore break, Chris Robinson once again joined the full TTB lineup to help close the night with Joe Tex’s “Show Me”. Derek chopped up one last call-and-response section with Kebbi Williams, the guitar and saxophone clashing in an almighty battle of acoustics.
Tedeschi Trucks Band returns to the Beacon Theatre tonight, Friday, October 1st, for the second installment of its tenth fall residency. These shows, like all Tedeschi Trucks shows, are must-see events.
For a full list of 2021 Tedeschi Trucks Band Beacon Theatre residency shows, head here. Below, you can listen to a full audio recording of Night 1, read the full setlist, and check out a gallery of photos from the performance via Scott Levy/MSG Photos.
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Beacon Theatre – 9/20/21 – Full Audio
Setlist: Tedeschi Trucks Band | Beacon Theatre | New York, NY | 9/30/21
Set: Don’t You Want No More (The Spencer Davis Group)*, It’s Not My Cross To Bear (The Allman Brothers Band)*, Signs, High Times, Don’t Drift Away, Gin House Blues (Bessie Smith), Do I Look Worried, Part of Me, Let Me Get By, I Walk on Guilded Splinters (Dr. John), Shame*, Made Up Mind, I Pity the Fool (Bobby “Blue” Bland), Space Captain (Matthew Moore)^
Encore: Show Me (Joe Tex)^
*with Nels Cline
^with Chris Robinson