Tedeschi Trucks Band + Little Feat | Greek Theatre | 6/7/2024

Article Contributed by Howie David | Published on Sunday, June 9, 2024

The Tedeschi Trucks Band is unique: a 12-member ensemble of extraordinary musicians, playing the music they want to play, sustaining a productive schedule of recording and live performance, and thrilling ever-growing audiences all along the way.

Tedeschi Trucks Band | Greek Theatre | Los Angeles, CA

The TTB roster of stellar players has been steady for the last few years. In particular, Gabe Dixon is a star-level singer and keyboard player in his own right, and it's great to again hear Mike Mattison sing (and play a little guitar). He's been collaborating with Derek Trucks since well before the TTB was born, and his charismatic, easily recognizable voice is as much a part of this music as anyone's.

Gabe Dixon keyboards/vocals | TTB | Greek Theatre- LA

The band has both excellent original material and the ability to cover other people's songs in unique ways. Their last studio recording was 2022's "I Am The Moon," released that year in four parts. Written primarily by Tedeschi, Trucks, Mattison, Dixon, and a handful of others, it's a cohesive set of diverse songs, all based on the theme of a 7th-century Arabic poem about star-crossed lovers. Yes, old-timers—it's a "concept album," and a fine one at that!

Susan Tedeschi | Tedeschi Trucks Band

And so a TTB show is, in a way, happily predictable: there will be no pyrotechnics, no acrobatics, no costume changes, no tricks of any kind. Instead, you can count on a well-oiled machine that fires on all twelve cylinders from start to finish, with the sole goal of making thrilling music.

Tedeschi Trucks Band | Los Angeles, CA

While there will always be surprises, they are only musical: a sensitive cover of Led Zeppelin's "What Is And What Should Never Be" was glorious, while an energetic "Come and Go Blues" (by the Allman Brothers Band) served as a delightful showcase for Gabe Dixon's vocal and keyboard talents. And "44 Blues" (by Howlin' Wolf and Roosevelt Sykes), with lead vocals by Mattison, was a sweet tip of the hat to opening act Little Feat (more on them later), who covered it on their first album well over 50 years ago.

Tedeschi Trucks Band | Greek Theatre - LA

Aside from these covers, TTB fans heard many favorite originals as well, including "Made Up Mind," "Midnight In Harlem," "Let Me Get By," and others.

Derek Trucks | Tedeschi Trucks Band

As a musical enterprise, the Tedeschi Trucks Band stands alone. Derek Trucks is now internationally recognized as one of the most gifted, exciting, and original guitarists of all time; his playing is instantly recognizable. Susan Tedeschi is also a very fine guitarist, but her blues-inflected vocals are simply breathtaking and a focal point of the band. It only makes sense then that this married couple runs their band like a family and are now well into their second decade of doing so successfully. It works because everyone involved brings world-class talent and a singular dedication to making the best music they can make together. If you have an opportunity to see them live—you should.

Derek and Susan | Greek Theatre - LA

Little Feat, the show's opening act, was founded in 1969 by the late singer/guitarist/songwriter Lowell George and keyboard player/composer Bill Payne. The original lineup lasted about 10 years, without much commercial success, then essentially imploded when Lowell George died while touring in promotion of his solo album, "Thanks, I'll Eat It Here." Their small fan base just wrote off the loss of Lowell and assumed the band would not be heard from again.

Little Feat - Greek Theatre - LA

But they were wrong. In the late '80s, a new edition of Little Feat emerged after the remaining members decided to give it another shot. They added Craig Fuller (originally of Pure Prairie League) on lead vocals and longtime Feat associate Fred Tackett on guitar, trumpet, and other stringed things. In 1988, they released their reunion album "Let It Roll," which was not only a critical success but even something of a commercial one as well.

Bill Payne | Little Feat

Subsequently, due to the loss (to cancer) of both guitarist/singer Paul Barrere and original drummer Richie Hayward, the roster has shifted more than once over the last 36-ish years. But all of the still-living original members are still touring and recording with the band.

Now, there are still some old-time fans who believe "it's just not as good without Lowell." This is nonsense.

Little Feat | Greek Theatre - LA

Little Feat Version Two (which has now lasted almost four times longer than Version One) is arguably a better band, even with the original members now approaching octogenarian status. Currently, recent member Scott Sharrard handles most of Lowell's front-man role, and both his vocals and guitar styles (including on slide) show a clear reverence for his predecessor. He sounds like a profoundly talented singer and player in his own right but with a deep love of Lowell George's music. Newest drummer Tony Leone has the unenviable job of filling the late Richie Hayward's shoes, but he does so admirably, with his own style still intact.

Little Feat - Los Angeles, CA

So to say that this band is something less than their original incarnation is both wrong and irrelevant. Everything about Little Feat that was great is still great. They've managed to overcome the loss of Lowell George's singing and playing just fine, though we will concede that the loss of his songwriting is not easily remedied. That said, his songs themselves do remain, and Little Feat today plays them at least as well now as they ever did. And certainly, the living members are also fine songwriters themselves.

Fred Tackett | Little Feat

For last night's show, their one-hour opening set was a tight, joyous rendition of mostly Lowell-era songs like "Fat Man In The Bathtub," "All That You Dream," "Oh Atlanta," "Spanish Moon," "Skin It Back," and "Willin." They also played the classic "Mellow Down Easy" from their new album "Sam's Place," which is an all-blues collection (a first!) featuring lead vocals by percussionist/singer Sam Clayton.

Ultimately, the pairing of Little Feat with the Tedeschi Trucks Band is perfect—these two bands are cut from the same cloth, and they clearly love and respect each other's music and ethos. To see either band perform is a joyous experience, but for the live-music fan, seeing both on the same bill is about as good as it gets.