Last night we were treated to a great night of music at the beautiful Balboa Theater courtesy of Greyhounds and The Tedeschi Trucks Band. I left the theater with a big smile on my face and in my head.
The whole evening was a throwback to the ’70s for me. Driving downtown to an old theater, sinking into a good seat and checking out the roadies, the gear and the fans… just like when I was 17. Speaking of the fans, judging by the age of the crowd, most of us probably arrived by way of The Grateful Dead and Allmans which is to say…
Yeah, so be it. I remember when audiences didn’t mind showing up early for an opening band they’d never heard of because they were hopeful and open to new things. If that makes me a hippy, pass the… patchouli. Please.
In this case the opening band was Greyhounds, a three piece outfit out of Austin Texas. If Tony Joe White and Booker T & The MGs own a Condo Complex in Memphis, these guys have been sneaking in and swimming in the pool.
Greyhounds: Friends don’t let friends drive without reverb
These guys totally won the crowd over but rules are rules and in San Diego… well lets just say the trains here run on time and Greyhounds was kept to a strict 40 minute set. They apologetically surrendered the stage to the roadies and at precisely 2100 hrs The Tedeschi Trucks Band rolled in.
Tedeschi Trucks is a huge band with a huge heart. Again I couldn’t help but think of the ’70s when big, soulful bands like Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends… hell The Mahavishnu Orchestra were blowing up hockey arenas right and left. Go big or go home! To be sure two drummers, a horn section, backup singers it all can get pretty loud and jumbled at times but when this band settles into their sweet spot (and they quite often do) it is a thing of rare power and beauty.
Take for instance “Midnight In Harlem” the songs stars with just Derek Trucks’s bottleneck noodling. Which is to say some incredibly hypnotic, harmonically rich, dead nuts precise bottleneck noodling that eventually gives way to the song’s actual intro. Mrs. Trucks, Susan Tedeschi (looking great in hipster glasses) then takes control of the song and… well shit here, just listen for awhile.
Mmmmmmm Harlem. I thought of The Allman Brothers playing their final show the previous night in New York the night before and here we were across the country the very next night seeing the torch being passed without a hitch. You remember that scene in Return Of The Jedi when Obi-Wan, Darth Vader and Yoda are looking down on all the happy ewoks? There were times last night where I imagined Duane Allman, Al Jackson Jr. and Levon Helm doing the same thing. Contact high? You better believe it!