Words and Photos by Jerry Friend
SusanTedeschi and DerekTrucks brought their twelve piece band to the Durham Performing Arts Center in downtown Durham, North Carolina on Tuesday night and played two sets for a sold out crowd.
Their soulful brand of rock, rhythm and blues was well received by an audience filled with a wide demographic of fans of all ages. While some sat through the performance many others danced in the aisles celebrating the joy that music brings. Throughout the night there were moments that moved the crowd to stand and applaud the magic that they had just witnessed.
I believe it was announced that it had been twelve years since the band had performed at this venue. DPAC is a wonderful performance space. The staff's ultimate goal is for patrons to have an enjoyable night, whether it be a concert of broadway show. They are very friendly and strive to hit that goal. The room also has a wonderful sound, and the view from any part of the venue has been wonderful from my experiences.
The band didn't waste any time capturing the audience's attention. The first set began with a fan favorite "Let Me Get By" from the album with the same title that the band recorded in their Jacksonville, Florida studio in 2015. That album was fully written by the band with the help of Doyle Brahmhill II. The album, produced by Trucks, made it to number 1 on the US Blues charts and number 2 on the rock charts.
The band continued the set with a string of songs from their most recent project I Am The Moon an ambitious four part concept album that was based of a retelling of the Arabian romantic poem Layla and Majnun, a story about the origin of star crossed lovers that was also the inspiration of the epic Derick and the Dominos record Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs originally released in 1970. TTB's retelling was inspired when Mike Mattison, who played previously with The Derek Trucks Band, and has several roles in the current band, came up with the idea to tell the story from the perspective of Layla and much of the project was formulated and produced during the pandemic. If you are not familiar with this project, I highly recommend you explore this further each of the four parts were publicly released in phases over most of 2022, with companion video footage to help enrich the bands vision of the lovers story. You can find them all on YouTube with a simple search and they were wonderfully produced.
The band then broke out an old Blues song, "Everybody's Got to Change Sometime", the song dates back to 1938 written by Sleepy John Estes known for helping to pioneer the Country Blues Sound and was recorded by Taj Mahal on his first album in 1968. The band went on to play "Idle Wind" from their 2014 release Made Up Mind they sandwiched that song with a drum solo before returning to close the set with rhe remainder of "Idle Wind". One of the things that I love about this band is that all twelve members are incredibly talented in their own right and during live performances the band allows each of them time for solos that often become highlights of the show for many fans
After an intermission, the band returned to launch the second set with "All That I Need" also from their Made Up Mind record and then played another song from their 2022 release I Am The Moon, the song, "Hear My Dear" from episode one: Crescent. Next wTas another song from episode one, "Fall In" as well as the song also titled "I Am The Moon". The band then gave the audience a funky display of saxophone and drums. The song "Shame" from the band's 2019 release Signs, was next, followed by what is likely one of their most recognized songs and a fan favorite "Midnight In Harlem" which has a incredibly beautiful intro that leads into it before they play the vocal portion that turns into a sing along during the chorus, and you can look around the room and see lovers embracing, couples dancing and hands waving as people surrender to the moment. This song is from the band's 2011 release Revelator.
The band brought out another blues favorite song next, a wonderful version of Stevie Ray Vaughn's "The Sky Is Crying" which gave Susan a chance to highlight her own guitar playing when she shreded some of the famous guitar riffs typically her husband Derek is given the space for that, but the crowd was excited to see her get a chance to shine and roared after hearing her heat up the room.
The band reached back into their Revelator release to pull out another fan favorite "Bound For Glory" which also became a sing along number. Next was the song "Soul Sweet Song" from episode four of the I Am The Moon project during which time the band played in tribute to their former band mate Kofi Burbridge displaying his image on the overhead screen. Kofi passed away in February of 2019 which was a tremendous loss for the band. The unfortunate incident led the band to discover Gabe Dixon, who was born in Nashville and brought some new direction with his keyboard, vocal and songwriting talents. He was instrumental along with Matt Mattison and Susan in helping to push forward the vision that became I Am The Moon.
The band closed the show with "Made Up Mind" the title track of the 2014 release. The crowd rose to give them a standing ovation.
The band continues their 2023 tour with dates in April crisscrossing the country including shows in New Orleans at the Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 30th, then in Texas in May, back in their hometown Jacksonville Florida, in June before a three night run at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, and then back up into Virginia and even upstate New York, you can find their tour date information and even purchase tickets at the bands website Tour (tedeschitrucksband.com)
You can find a recording of this show thanks to Robbie Dunn here https://archive.org/details/ttb2023-03-28