Tedeschi Trucks Band took their first night at Red Rocks by the face and belted and shredded a setlist that showcased their ineffable talents on Friday, July 26. Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, the married couple that spearheads the Tedeschi Trucks Band, led the two-night run with Tedeschi’s powerhouse vocals and Trucks’ unmatchable talent on slide guitar.
While the couple boasts enough wow factor to fill the amphitheater on their own, they were of course joined by their hefty parade of band musicians, consisting of Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson on drums and percussion, Mike Mattison, Mark Rivers and Alecia Chakour on harmony vocals, Kebbi Williams on the saxophone, Brandon Boone on the bass guitar, Ephraim Owens on the trumpet and Elizabeth Lea on trombone.
The opening acts, Shovels and Rope and Blackberry Smoke also joined the large lineup, rousing the crowd with like-minded blues-rock before the main attraction. At 9:20 p.m., the headlining act took their places and opened with “Signs, High Times,” a number in which Tedeschi, — in a vibrant green dress — stole the spotlight, shredding her guitar seemingly without effort. The band then honored Sir Elton John with a powerful cover of “Border Song.”
“How ’bout that horn section?” Tedeschi asked after a notable saxophone solo from Williams, to which the audience replied with vigor. The set continued on with several more covers, including “Down in the Flood” by Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson’s “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces,” which continued in the showcasing of touring member and keyboardist Gabe Dixon. Trucks exuded the calm and serious demeanor his fans have come to appreciate, sliding his hands up and down the neck of his instrument with little to no indication of rigor or stress, making the title he holds as one of the worlds greatest appear simple and easy.
“Still On Your Mind,” “Shame” and “Midnight in Harlem” provided for the meat of their second half, with substantial breaks in the tracks to provide plenty of spectacular jams for the crowd. A Derek Trucks Band cover of “Swamp Raga” gave a little spin in something different mixed with familiarity. Tedeschi turned the creativity up a notch by switching up some of the lyrics in “Pity The Fool,” a Bobby “Blue” Bland cover, suggesting her political opinion regarding the current border control tactics, stating in one line that we are all immigrants. Amen, Susan.
The bold and impassioned performance rounded out with a healthy encore of “Made Up Mind” before continuing on the theme of zealous covers with Leon Russells “Stranger in a Strange Land” and “Space Captain” by Joe Cocker. All of which enticed the crowd to elongated cheers and support for Tedeschi, whose vocals seem to improve with each painstaking note, instead of diminishing.
Night two is sure to lack nothing of the power and gusto of the first evening. Even Blackberry Smoke and Shovels and Rope will be in attendance again, leaving no fan behind, regardless of which night they were able to nab tickets to. Consider the perfect weather the weekend also gifted the performances and the 2019 run is surely one for the memory book.