When we heard that Tedeschi Trucks Band would be playing the House Of Blues, we started salivating, knowing that this would be a heaping helping of wonderful sound. I guess a lot of people thought so, because both nights sold out quickly and resale tickets were hard to come by. We resold an extra we had, and it went in a matter of minutes.
Met Sarah at the HOB restaurant after cruising around the block and not finding a legal space (there were plenty of illegal ones), and ending up in the same old lot at the corner of Van Ness. Sarah was able to get perhaps the last table in the restaurant and it was already a madhouse two hours before the Friday show, December 12th. We got food and beer somehow, then got in what was already a long line for the people who had gotten entrees (and so early admission) at 6:45 or so ... the line for real admission was already almost up to Brookline Ave.
They let us in right at 7 and we were able to grab our customary place to the left of the stage ... and another beer/cider. The HOB filled up really quickly and we were all totally pumped, some more juiced than others but what the hell, it was Friday night!
Soulive opened and really blew me away with some excellent blues-funk. The band is drums, guitar, and keys, and they played a loud, spacey, bluesy, colorful set of instrumentals, including a riff on McCartney's Eleanor Rigby. I was hanging on their every note and the crowd was too for their first number or so, then started gabbing and by the end of their set was almost as loud as they were. Such is the fate for opening acts at HOB.
Then they changed the set to the traditional Tedeschi Trucks setup, and soon Derek, Susan, and the guys came out and proceeded to exceed my expectations.
I'd never seen Derek from so close and he was riveting, displaying mastery of technique and inspiration from both hands, particularly his right, He played the top string-and-a-half with his thumb and the rest with his fingers, striking and caressing and plucking them like he was defusing a bomb or holding hands with a child or giving the other driver a few hand signals. A musician can exude mastery of his instrument, and his mastery was comparable to what I'd seen from Garcia.
Susan was worth the price of admission herself and shone on several vocal parts. Not to mention the other 9 people in the band, who all took their chances to prove that they were excellent musicians too. It's amazing that a band that large has stuck together for so long ... I think their personnel is what it was when we first saw them in 2011. I think they all know that they can do magic together and they like to do that. Here's the set list:
Are You Ready
Made Up Mind
Do I Look Worried
Midnight in Harlem
Let Me Get By
Part of Me
Don't Miss Me
Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning
Break In The Road
I Pity the Fool
Keep on Growing
Night Time Is the Right Time
Palace of the King
The first four songs just blew the crowd away and we were putty in their hands after that. Idle Wind was another highlight for me, and then they reconfigured for a couple of acoustic songs, starting with Derek doing acoustic slide and Susan wailing away on a fantastic arrangement of Lamps Trimmed and Burning.
No Anyday (I'd love to hear them do that again), but they covered Keep On Growing and the place was rocking so hard it was threatening to burst at the seams for that. Short break before the encore, and then they brought out the Soulive guys for the second encore. They were delighted, as were we!
Took a while for the place to empty out and we just mellowed a bit, being Friday night. Then a convoluted ride home as Storrow Drive was jammed and we reversed direction. Great night!