It’s a strange day to be in the capital. This being the first full day since the UK left the EU last night. Brexit is a decision that divided the nation and also left many with a case of the blues.
Thankfully for those attending the SSE Arena at Wembley this evening, the only form of blues they are going to encounter is the musical variety. As tonight for one night only, and their sole UK concert of the year, the Tedeschi Trucks Band will be performing their largest headline show on British soil to date. This event comes hot on the heels of two sold-out dates at the London Palladium last year.
Now blues music isn’t necessarily a genre you associate with arena rock shows, nor Wembley for that matter. But a special band requires a special kind of venue and Tedeschi Trucks Band are just that. And with 12 members in the group, the Wembley Arena stage is spacious and accommodating for such a large outfit as this.
As Susan Tedeschi takes to the stage she mutters the immortal line ‘Hello Wembley’. This is before the band gets things underway with the title track to their latest record Signs, High Times.
The beauty of a Tedeschi Trucks show is that you never know what you are going to get. The band draws from their extensive back catalogue, their past as well as their influences during what is a two-hour musical mystery tour. The group switches up their setlist with every show so that each gig is a unique experience for both the band and their fans.
Early in the set, the group pays tribute to Anglo-American outfit Derek and the Dominos with a pair of stunning covers by way of Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad and Bell Bottom Blues. Derek Trucks’ emotive playing during the latter is particularly spectacular.
The US-based ensemble gets funky with Part of Me before Hear Me slows things down momentarily. To witness Tedeschi’s soaring vocals intertwined with Trucks’ searing slide play is a real joy from start to finish. And although the band name itself draws attention to its founders and namesakes, every member of this versatile and talented group plays a significant part in the show and each takes their moment in the spotlight.
Dressed in red, Tedeschi leaves the shackles of her guitar behind as she moves freely around the stage with a gospel-tinged rendition of Hard Case. But the audience wasn’t quite prepared for what came next. A jammed out ten minute plus performance of Shame is one of the many highlights of the set.
Subsequently, set against a moonlit backdrop, the band performs a magical rendition of Midnight in Harlem, during which Trucks’ slide guitar solo is the stuff of legend.
TTB’s take on Charles Segar’s blues standard Key To The Highway is a further highlight and features a guest appearance by Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr. The three guitarists playing off each other. Trucks makes his Gibson SG sing like a bird, so much so even Susan Tedeschi is beaming and reaching out with praise.
As they fast approach the end of their main set, an uplifting rendition of Bound For Glory and a soulful take on the Joe Tex classic Show Me pushes the band over the finish line. But even at almost 11 pm, we aren’t done quite yet, as the band close things out properly with a joyous cover of Funkadelic’s Good To Your Earhole.
Tonight it feels as though the band would play all night long. The TTB seamlessly come together in musical union throughout tonight’s show. Watching each of the elements coming together at tonight’s musical extravaganza, it is without a shadow of a doubt that the Tedeschi Trucks Band are in a league of their own.