• Review

REVIEW: Tedeschi Trucks Band at PNC Pavilion

Photo Cred: Michael Gabbard Photography

The Allman Brothers are one of the most interesting “what if’s?” of rock history. In the early ‘70s they were quickly rising to become one of America’s biggest rock acts. Their blending of Southern Rock, Country, Blues, Latin, and Soul along with their vast and virtuoso improvisational chops put them on stages opening for artists like the Grateful Dead, the Velvet Underground, and Cream.

Led by the brother duo Greg and Duane Allman, Greg sang vocals, as well as, playing on the Hammond Organ and his brother Duane taking lead guitar with his incredible slide guitar playing. The band touted a murderer’s row of proficient musicians behind them. From early collaborator Dickie Bett’s who began as the rhythm guitar player. Berry Oakley on bass, and Jiamoe Johanson and Butch Trucks backing on the dueling drum kits.

The band took the psychedelic improvisation scene coming from the West Coast and blended it with their Southern roots of Blues, Country, and Soul to become arguably the best and first true Southern Rock act of the 1970’s. Their live performances were unmatched by many and began to see national success with the release of their now iconic live record At Fillmore East.

However, tragedy would strike the band early into their success. While traveling back from Macon, Georgia, Duane Allman would die in a collision while driving his Harley Sportster at high speeds. The death of Allman left the music community and band devastated. Allman was seen as the next great guitar player of his generation and saw great posthumus success with his other band Derek & The Dominoes, where he and Eric Clapton traded lead guitar parts, creating one of the more iconic records of the ‘70’s Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

After holding a band meeting, the now quintet decided to continue the legacy of the band, citing Duane as their leader and instilling a sense of discipline and love of their music. The band would then release their most successful record Eat A Peach. A beautiful record that encompassed the pain, rejuvenation, and spirit of the band.

However, turmoil followed the band for the next 20 years. Dealing with personal demons, addiction, and a rotating door of musicians to fill that gaping hole left by Duane. That is until 1997, when the band recruited Otiel Burgbridge, now known for his work in Dead & Company, also featuring Warren Haynes, who had worked with Bett’s in the Dickie Betts band, and finally a 20-year-old Derek Trucks, nephew of original drummer Butch.

Trucks was a sort of prodigy at an early age, growing up in a musical family, and around the likes of Dickie Betts, Haynes, and many other giants of guitar, Trucks stepped in and ushered in the rebirth of the Allman Brothers Band.

The late ‘90s gave birth to a new Allman Brothers Band, one focused on their live performances over all, as well as exploring new heights and sounds as a band. Trucks, being a student of the guitar, introduced more jazz, middle eastern, and spacious sounds from his guitar, focusing more on this work with a slide guitar and the lack of using frets.

While on tour in 1999, the Allman Brothers tapped a young up and coming blues guitarist and singer Susan Tedeschi, to open for them. Tedeschi and Trucks became fast collaborators and partners. Just two years later in 2001 the two would marry.

Tedeschi would go on to receive critical acclaim for her work with blues music, having a voice as powerful as Bonnie Raitt with the raspiness of a classic blues singer. Her deep understanding of the blues came from opening for artists like Buddy Guy, B.B. King and Taj Mahal. Tedeschi would go on to be nominated for five Grammys before joining forces with her Husband to create the Tedeschi Trucks Band. The two have since gone on to win a Grammy for their work on their 2011 record Revelator.

Tuesday evening Tedeschi and Trucks brought their 11-piece blues outfit to PNC Pavilion here in Cincinnati. The evening was dampened a bit by heavy rain however, this didn’t stop the band from coming out on time. Coming out at 8:30, Trucks and the rest of the backing band came out to a cover of Joe Cocker’s “Woman to Woman,” a blistering soulful tune that features a very familiar piano intro, more famously sampled by Dr. Dre on the Tupac hit “California Love.”

After building up the crowd's anticipation, Tedeschi took the stage last and barreled in with her powerful singing. Featuring a three-piece horns section, a three-piece backing vocals section the band's sound hits you like a freight train.

Their tailor made band fits each other’s individual sounds and give nods to the duo’s roots. Featuring dueling drums and an organ player, similar to the Allman Brothers. As well as featuring the big blues band aspect that Tedeschi comes from.

The setlist would consist of a fairly balanced mix of covers and the band's originals. From, “Playing with my Emotions,” “Hear My Dear,” and “Part of Me,” to name a few originals. The band would also feature covers of The Lovin’ Spoonful, Wet Willie, Dr. John, and Jeff Beck to name a few.

A few highlights from the evening came during the band’s arguably biggest hit off of their 2011 release, “Midnight in Harlem.” A lovely soulful tune that highlights Trucks softer tendencies on slide guitar and Tedeschi’s heart aching vocals.

Another favorite came during their final song, a cover of the late great Dr. John’s “I Walk on Guilded Splinters.” Their version was much less haunting than the Doctor's, however it was exciting to see where the song could grow with an 11-piece band. Leaning less to the swampy sounds of its original, Tedeschi Trucks brought new life to a forgotten gem of one of my personal favorite artists.

Playing a little past their scheduled time, you could tell that the band has roots in Cincinnati and have deep love for their fans here. Repeatedly thanking them for their continued support, Tedeschi seemed to be at home with her fans of Cincinnati. For many of the older fans in the crowd, Trucks and the Allman Brothers have been gracing Cincinnati for years. Going back as far as 1970 when the band played Ludlow Garage, in the venue's heyday.

As the evening came to an end, I was left wondering once again, what could’ve been for that original Allman Brothers lineup. However, looking back at what came from Duane’s passing was arguably one of the greatest grieving albums on Eat A Peach. The band arguably grew closer in his wake, and found a new sense of brevity in their music. You don’t get the formative years of Derek Trucks helping rejuvenate the band and honing his craft. You most likely don’t get Tedeschi and Trucks meeting and collaborating to create one of he best touring Blues bands today. It seems everything happens for a reason.

Tedeschi Trucks Band is still touring the US in support of their 2022 four-part release I Am The Moon. You can listen to and stream their latest record wherever you stream music.

Tedeschi Trucks Band

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