Over the weekend, the Tedeschi Trucks Band made their annual return to Red Rocks Amphitheatre and once again gave the sold-out crowd four solid sets of soulful magic and hair-raising guitar work over two nights. This year’s presentation took a different approach, as Tedeschi Trucks typically tour their Wheels of Soul line-ups around the country, but in light of the pandemic, the band presented their Fireside Sessions, a concept born out of Derek and Susan’s living room for webcasts during the shutdown. Although the Fireside Sessions line-up has been described as paired down, the sound delivered was anything but.
The ensemble included the namesakes as well as the usual suspects in Tyler Greenwell on drums, Mike Mattison on vocals and acoustic guitar, and relative newcomers Gabe Dixon and Brandon Boone on keys and bass, respectively. Friday night’s show got an extra special treat with the announcement of the first-time inclusion of New Orleans based multi-instrumentalist Isaac Eady to take the vacant second drum kit throne for the foreseeable future. Sans the rich sounds of the absent brass section, it was business as usual for the Tedeschi Trucks Band all weekend long.
As the weather in the Rocky Mountains is often billed as unpredictable, that warning became reality for the two-night run. For the opening night, the band was able to make it through the entirety of the written setlist for the first set, but as the wind up for the “Idlewind” closer hit its peak, a corresponding deluge of pea-sized hail, lightning and sheets of rain fell from the heavens, sending everyone running for cover and put the venue on a nearly 90-minute weather delay. By the time the band came back to heat the bones of those left standing, the venue was at half capacity, but for those who endured, the band made it worth their while, delivering a full second set, in spite of the delay, including a thundering closer in the Allman’s classic “Whipping Post”. Night two saw more of the same with the exception of the meteorological drama, as Mother Nature delivered a steady rain for most of the day and throughout the night, without incident of delay or mass evacuation. Set two on night two also got the special treatment with guitar virtuoso Nels Cline sitting in for the full set and covering a multitude of Allman Brothers tunes.
It is hard to say whether it was the love of music, the love of the TTB, the love of being able to get out again, or a combination of all these elements that kept fans boogieing in light of the inclement weather, but one thing is for certain: those who did got what they paid for and then some. It was outstanding to see the band want to make good on their return as much as the crowd was willing to support it.
Susan was all smiles and showed no signs of deterrence by the environment, giving a great heartfelt performance, and per the usual, effectively connecting with everyone in the room. Derek maintained his sphynx-like demeanor, but let his fingers do the talking, getting down to business from the onset of the first note and making sure everyone was exceedingly rattled in a good way all the way through. The solidarity of the rest of the band went without question, including the new addition of Isaac Eady and Gabe Dixon was also notably channeling Gregg Allman on night two and proved that his talents don’t end at the 88th key. Many of the fans who attended this weekend reported that they loved the small changes to the group and embraced the difference but reported they can’t wait for the return of the full band. This aspect coupled with the environmental adventure certainly created a memorable weekend for all and proved once again that at least one draw of the live music experience that keeps pulling people back to the stands is its unpredictability.