Tedeschi Trucks Band – a 12-piece fronted by Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks – haven’t been to the UK in quite a few years. Following the release of their fourth album Signs earlier this year, the band is finally back in the UK for two sold-out shows at The London Palladium. The shows are now a pre-cursor to their biggest headline UK show yet, which takes place in 2020 at the SSE Wembley Arena. It’s safe to say the band were long overdue a trip to this side of the pond but was the wait worth it?
The first of two nights at the iconic London Palladium, last night saw Tedeschi Trucks Band split their set into two with an intermission and no opening act. Whilst it may seem a little strange to have no opening act, to be honest when you’re as good as Tedeschi Trucks Band you don’t need one! The band is renowned for keeping their fans guessing about what they’re going to play and every night they play a completely different set list.
The first set opened with Laugh About It from 2016’s Let Me Get By. The band immediately grabbed the audience’s attention and Susan Tedeschi’s incredible voice soared high above the intricate rhythms and melodies the band played. She possesses a voice that suggests every single word she sings is being ripped from deep within her soul. It’s impossible not to be affected by it and she’s truly one of the greatest vocalists in music today.
Having never seen Tedeschi Trucks Band live before I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The songs almost weaved seamlessly into one another thanks to the band freestyling and jamming at the end of nearly every song. Derek Trucks’ guitar riffs were something to behold, turning up the intensity of the music and delivering a whole lot of passion.
One of the things that really stood out about the band’s performance is that they made sure all 12 members got a turn in the spotlight. While the band may be named after its married front people, they don’t hog all the attention. Whether it was vocalist Mike Mattison wowing with a cover of Bob Dylan’s Down in the Flood or saxophonist Kebbi Williams blowing the roof off the Palladium with his jaw-dropping skills, each member of the band showcased what they brought to the table.
Highlights across the sets were plenty and included a cover of Willie Nelson’s Somebody Pick Up My Pieces, which saw Tedeschi and keyboard player Gabe Dixon duetting, and the fantastic recent single Hard Case. Shame was an electric moment while Tedeschi absolutely slayed a cover of B.B. King’s Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’ with her soulful vocals. The audience shouted out requests all night and when the band finally played Midnight in Harlem, the reaction was huge.
Elsewhere in the set the stompy bluesy Right on Time was another showcase for Mattison, Just as Strange sounded incredible and full in the Palladium, and Do I Look Worried received a big reception from the crowd. The show came to an end with the uptempo Made Up Mind, which saw the entire audience get to their feet, clapping and singing along.
Tedeschi Trucks Band are nothing short of incredible. They don’t need bells and whistles to wow an audience, they do it with their remarkable musicianship, obvious bond and fantastic catalogue of songs. I can’t remember the last time I saw a band play a two hour fifteen minute set, and the audience was still begging for more. Over the course of the evening, the band took us on a musical journey that touched so many genres and styles, there was something in there to please everyone. If you get a chance to see them when they’re back next year, I heartily recommend you go.
Set list: Set 1 – 1. Laugh About It 2. Do I Look Worried 3. Within You, Without You (The Beatles cover) 4. Just as Strange 5. Somebody Pick Up My Pieces (Willie Nelson cover) 5. Right On Time 6. Down in the Flood (Bob Dylan cover) 7. I’m Gonna Be There 8. Let Me Get By Set 2 – 1. Keep On Growing (Derek & The Dominoes cover) 2. When Will I Begin 3. Leaving Trunk (Sleepy John Estes cover) 4. Volunteered Slavery (Rahsaan Roland Kirk) 5. Hard Case 6. Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’ (The Allman Brothers Band cover) 7. Shame 8. Midnight in Harlem 9. How Blue Can You Get (B.B. King cover) Encore – Made Up Mind Performance date: Friday 26th April 2019