Tedeschi Trucks Band plays one of the best Vancouver concerts of 2024

It was a brilliant night of blues, soul and swamp rock genius from Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

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There are a lot of very, very good bands out there. Then there is the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Based on its show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday night, there may not be a better purveyor of Southern rock ‘n’ soul on the circuit today.

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The dozen-member dynamo left the sold-out crowd in utter ecstasy on the opening date of the West Cost leg of its North American tour. (If you missed the Vancouver concert, there are still two nights in Seattle coming up. Toronto fans can catch the group on Aug. 15. Truthfully, this is a group worth going the distance to see.)

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Tedeschi Trucks was founded in 2010 when couple Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks decided to marry together their two bands after touring 2007 as the Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Soul Stew Revival.

The group has five full-length studio recordings and three live albums to its credit. Their 2011 debut, Revelator, won the 2012 Grammy for best blues album. But the only way to truly appreciate the unit’s fusing of the best elements rock, blues, swamp boogie and more is to experience it live.

The sound coming from the double drummers, three-piece horn section, trio of backup vocalists, organ and the twin guitar attack of the namesake founders was massive from the opening notes of Playing With My Emotions. The tidal wave of crazy groove the band rode in on had everyone on their feet as Trucks delivered the first of many incredible solos.

The nephew of the late Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks became an official member of the legendary Southern rockers in 1999, and his prodigious talents on his instrument also drive the more experimental Derek Trucks Band as well. His dexterous fingerpicking enables him to not only shred like a demon, but also to deliver heartfelt fluid rhythm playing in a jazzier vein. His slide work on his custom red Gibson SG has rightfully earned him global fame as a master.

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Of course, the group has another phenomenal guitarist in its ranks as well.

Susan Tedeschi’s guitar work brings to mind the swinging, biting attack of blues greats such as Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland. Her wah-wah work on Ain’t That Something was a master class in how to use the often clunky pedal as a means of colouring the chords rather than full-on funking out. The group did plenty of that as well.

The sound doesn’t stop with the two guitar titans. Tedeschi is a brilliant belter in the tradition of Bonnie Raitt and Lou Ann Barton, who burns with emotion when she sings. Every member in the crew brings their best to the performance.

Singer Mike Mattison took the lead on his sweet ballad Emmeline, clearly demonstrating that any band would be glad to have him as their lead singer. Ditto keyboardist Gabe Dixon, singer Alecia Chakour and Mark Rivers who all also had their moments in the spotlight. The rhythm section of bassist Brandon Boone, drummer Tyler Greenwell and Isaac Eady never stopped swinging, and saxophonist Kebbi Williams, trumpeter Ephraim Owens and trombonist Elizabeth Lea blew some epic solos as well.

When they all went for broke on the boogie of Made Up Mind, the audience was brought to its feet screaming just because of how much energy was running through them. The Queen Elizabeth Theatre became a cathedral for the gospel-rocking congregation.

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How the group would followup that experience in the second set was anyone’s guess. Kicking it off with a wicked take on Blind Willie McTell’s Statesboro Blues, which the Allman Brothers made famous on the Live at the Filmore album, made it seem like there hadn’t even been a break.

The group would go on to play a brilliant version of the Allman’s Dreams, a searing take on Aretha Franklin’s It Ain’t Fair and closed out the night with a Bayou-soaked version of Joe Cocker’s High Time We Went. Fans would have been happy to have the band play all night.

No one left early. Most woke up this morning with a perma grin pasted on their faces.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band has always been great live, but you probably needed to have some taste for their chosen genre. Last night, the band took it to a level that could make a non-blues rocker into a devout believer. It was that good.

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