Rock Room On the Road: Tedeschi Trucks Band – July 11, 2023 – Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center

by | Jul 12, 2023 | 0 comments


The annual Tedeschi Trucks Band summer tour visit to Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center pulled into Canandaigua, NY on the evening of July 11, 2023 with Ziggy Marley and his band in tow for an expansive and affirmative set of genre defying music. Like a family picnic, or reuniting with a dear friend after an extended absence, the mellow crowd and band met in the middle for a shared evening of magic and music making. At 8:30, following an expressive set by Marley and his group, Tedeschi Trucks Band took to the stage to an expected and typically enthusiastic response. 

In front of a packed house on a steamy lakeside evening TTB opened the show with Joe Cocker’s “Woman to Woman,” off his 1972 self-titled LP. A driving swampy funk was initiated by Trucks wiry scrubbed rhythm work and decorated with hearty golden huffs of horns. It didn’t take long for the band to slot into a deep groove while the lead vocals were passed along the vocalist’s like a burning ember. Susan entered the vocal queue last and belted out her verses to the explosive joy of the crowd. 
The band then fell into the summery “Anyhow,” a track off 2016’s “Let Me Get By,” and drifted into a perfect paisley pulse. Susan, armed with her Les Paul took the first big solo of the evening. It wasn’t until the third song, the bluesy waltz of “Do I Look Worried,” that Derek stepped forward for his first solo of the evening. A probing analysis of the song’s shifty changes and a confirmation that the band was ready to play.

Ratcheting down the intensity so that the venue doesn’t detonate, the group played with the perfect combination of fire and ice. Raising the crowd into the clouds and floating their sensibilities delicately back to solid lush earth.

The ultra-talented keyboardist Gabe Dixon got his moment in the spotlight with the quivering beat of “Gravity,” which rose from the ground with a flourish. Trucks scribbled in elegant cursive over the top of the chunky arrangement. Midway through the song Davis laid down a spicy piano segment that Trucks entered with a screaming and overdriven exploration of the changes. Trucks peaked with mind numbing scrubs and string bending excitement that took the song over the top. It’s during these unique musical exchanges that you realize you are witness to one of the best players to ever handle a six string. The horn trio joined in on the the movement lending old school “Chicago,” horn section style squawks and blasts to the smoky gumbo. 

Speaking of “Chicago,” the heavy stepping “Learn How to Love,” featured the moaning horn section eliciting the feelings found in the grooves of the first Chicago Transit Authority record. A stellar saxophone solo by Kebbi Williams balanced the tightrope between melodic and atonal before Derek joined in. Derek played a cherry red Gibson 335 hollow body guitar as the crushing rhythm section churned its way to a huge husband and wife guitar duel that ignited the venue. 
Derek, sans slide, skinned the neck of his guitar clean, as he snaked in between and around the poly rhythms disseminated by the drummers. His tone as sharp as a spear point, sliced through the evening humidity looking for the mark. Susan kicked in the door to discover what Derek was up to and lit the fuse to the evenings first eye bulging highlight. 
Both Susan and Derek attentively expressed their relationship through the intimate conversation of their taught strings. Ask and answer, question and response, joke and cojole, the duo revealed the internal workings of their band through their expressive engagement. Their interaction intimate, yet made for the prying eyes of the performing stage.
In breezy contrast to the guitar onslaught that almost brought down the shed, Wet Willie’s, “Keep On Smilin’,” gave the crowd a groovy respite from the intensity that was released from the stage. Susan’s vocals were both encouraging and inspired, eliciting a toothy smile. The backing vocals sang in angel choir accompaniment and Derek put the finishing touches on the song with a thorough exploration of the melody. 
The concert then rode the crest of a beautiful wave with an extended vamp on Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How To Be Free,” that was prefaced by a tough trumpet driven improvisation, with Derek moving to side stage to play off of the stringy soloing laid down by Ephraim Owens. The resulting rendition and jamming was a freeform celebratory revival, with every band member contributing in some way. Handclaps, percussion and joyous collaboration was the order of the night and the crowd lost themselves in the music. When vocalist Alecia Chakour and Mark Rivers joined together in a chilling call and response at the end of the song, the crowd gave it all back to them and more. 
Following a well jammed improv prelude, the band slipped dynamically into the chunky “Yes We Will,” from their most recent album. Again Susan and Derek swap asides with the band and rolled through a series of well timed peak before dissolving into a gentle keyboard and Derek driven space. This cinematic drift slowly culminated in the vibrant introduction to a welcome “Midnight in Harlem,” which everyone in the assembled audience recognized and responded to in kind. 
If we had thought that the concert had reached its summit, it surpassed all expectation with a serrated reading of Dr. John’s, “Walk on Gilded Splinters.” Relentless in its shifty expression, the song pounded the dancing crowd into submission. Straddling the fence between Dr. John’s moody original and Humble Pie’s live cover, TTB looked at both paths and then took the road less traveled. 
With no time to recover the concert climbed into the clouds and concluded with, TTB’s soul driven “I Want More,” which moved through impressive bass and drum interludes before blossoming into “Beck’s Bolero,” an emotional and breathless tribute to the recently departed Jeff Beck.

The famed “Bolero,” covered the venue in washes of sound, as Derek expressed a number of his own variations on the Beck theme, touching the edges and then drawing an entirely new focus over the existing artwork. An ambitious rendition and a stunning, well-placed conclusion.

Acting as masters of emotion and ceremony, the band returned to the stage with the slow and soothing Susan reading of Bonnie Raitt’s, “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. Played as a duo, with keyboardist Gabe Dixon accompanying, the spacious rendition, steeped in silence, was sat out under the cool dusk for a moment of crowd contemplation.  One of the best moments of the performance.
Then, sending everyone off in a proper and proud fashion, Ziggy Marley and his band were invited back to the stage to join in on a Sly and the Family Stone tribute. The double banger of“Sing a Simple Song” segued into “I Want to Take You Higher.” was the perfect combination for group rock, and collaborative music making. The stage quaked with the weight of so much talent and musical expression that the joy could be felt in thick fat waves. Bodies shook and smoke signals drifted from the lawn seats. For a moment there was nothing else in the world, or in your own mind, except the inspiration and love being gifted from the stage to the crowd, and then reciprocated back in kind. The music was so filling, it almost felt if the tented stage would burst into feathers and falling stars.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band is both a flashback, and fast forward as their music not only successfully blurs genres through their creativity, but also pays tribute to their piles of influence through careful recitations of their musical heroes songs. Everything that you hope to find at a concert, Tedeschi Trucks Band offers freely through their egoless performances and shared enthusiasm for song.

There is no other touring band the offers such a diversity of players, a wealth of inspiration, and guarantee of specially curated and emotive music. No matter what you look to find in your favorite artist exploits, Tedeschi Trucks Band will touch upon it and share it with honesty and inspiration.


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