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Concert Reviews:
Tedeschi Trucks Band shines on at Royal Oak Music Theatre

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011

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ROYAL OAK -- The best thing about seeing the Tedeschi Trucks Band live is that, going in, you know you're going to hear Susan Tedeschi sing and Derek Trucks play guitar solos.

And it only gets better from there.

The married couple and their 11-member ensemble blew the roof off the Royal Oak Music Theatre on Wednesday night (Oct. 26), rocking right up to the midnight hour with two-and-a-half hours of blended rock, blues, soul and a little jazz while setting off one instrumental firework after another. It might have run a little late for a school night, but the buzz made it well worth being bleary-eyed on Thursday morning.

The group, which formed about three years ago as the Soul Stew Revue, released a fine debut album, "Revelator," earlier this year, but that was just a reference point for Wednesday's show (which was being filmed for a future DVD release). The album did provide a hot kick-off as with "Don't Let Me Slide" building from a genially languid start into a screaming slide solo by Trucks, who also plays in the Allman Brothers Band. The troupe spun Fred Neil's "Midnight Cowboy" theme "Everybody's Talkin' " into something that sounded more like The Band, while Trucks introduced the couple's "Midnight in Harlem" with a taste of "Little Martha," the showpiece for his late namesake Duane Allman.

Three songs in, the group could have left the stage having delivered as many highlights as some bands do during an entire show.

Fortunately it didn't. Trucks continued to play splendidly all night, complementing Tedeschi's soulful vocals -- as well as her own estimable guitar skills showcased on the blues staple "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "That Did It" and "Love Has Something Else to Say." The smoothly grooving "Simple Things" and Tedeschi's gentle "Shelter" were understated show-stoppers, while Trucks' "Nobody's Free" offered an epic jam spotlighting keyboardist Kofi Burbridge on flute and "Bound For Glory" was turned into a funky workout.

The group also vamped through Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything's Alright)," while Tedeschi and backing vocalists Mike Mattison and Javier Colon teamed for a vibey rendition of the spiritual "Wade in the Water."

Trucks has remarked that, given its size and its cult-level popularity, the group is an unwieldy beast to trek around the country. But any witness to the band's display at the Royal Oak on Wednesday will surely attest that it's well worth the effort.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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