Trucks’ raging fingerpicking slide melded with Tedeschi’s soulful tone Thursday at Red Rocks, swelling the swollen venue with their swooning sound. Backed by a nine-piece band – including two drummers, three brass blasters and two back-up singers – the six-stringing couple shredded through a nearly two-hour set that saw echoes of Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers swirl with Professor Longhair and Bonnie Raitt, all backdropped with Trucks’ masterful old-school blues riffs.
Trucks was barely a teenager when he began fronting the Allman Brothers Band, his back turned to the audience as he faced his uncle Butch on drums. Today the still bashful, baby-faced yet bearded 33-year-old blues legend turns halfway to the crowd, facing his wife as he rips his signature Gibson SG. Trucks lays low when Tedeschi sings – like in the early “Echoes Of My Mind” – but cranks up the wattage with succulent jamming in tunes like “Bound For Glory” and “Shelter.” Joined briefly by his longtime cohort on bass, Todd Smallie, in “Get What You Deserve,” Trucks flourished in an intricately assembled moment of improvisation. For “Midnight in Harlem,” Trucks led his betrothed in a winding jam that revealed just how far singer-songwriter Tedeschi has come on the six string since marrying her guitar hero.
Truly both can carry their own bands, but the merger of their two formerly independent outfits has obviously smoothed their rambling lives – they often tour with their two kids – and provided fans a chance to marvel at the double-barreled virtuosity that is the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
The band is touring with blues king B.B. King, who opened the nearly sold-out show fronting an eight-piece band. Cradling his Gibson “Lucille,” the 86-year-old swaggered through a moving set, stopping only to remove his necklace and rings, which his helpers distributed to wheelchaired rockers in the front row as he crooned “Someone Really Loves You.”
At 86, King sings with passion and plays with fire, but the ever-touring guitar giant’s days at Red Rocks are likely numbered. In “Key To The Highway,” King rumbled “I won’t be back no more” asking for “one more kiss, darling, just before I go.”
And, as the full moon peaked from behind a pocket of cloud, more than 9,000 stomped and hollered in an ecstatic, moving embrace of the greatest blues guitarist of all time.
Jason Blevins is a strange dancer, but that has never stopped him.