Pittsburgh has lured a lot of spectacular acts this year. It seems that the concert list is filled with cool eclectic new acts and road tested proven rockers. Last night at Stage AE, Pittsburgh was treated to sonic experience like no other I’ve seen. The night opened with fairly new rockers to the scene, NYC’s The London Souls (see review here). Followed by heavy hitting southern blues trailblazers The Tedeschi Trucks Band and The Black Crowes.
TTB kicked off the celebration by filling the stage with an 11 piece band which included a horn section. Fronted by the husband wife team of Tedeschi and Trucks. Susan Tedeschi may have one of the most soulful and beautiful voices in the business today. She is a relaxed performer with all the tools to wield a sweet sounding guitar to accompany her aforementioned singing. Derek Trucks delivers the Sonny Boy Williamson slide blues style better than anybody in the business. I guess we’ll find out when Warren Haynes takes the same stage with Government Mule September 18th.
“Midnight In Harlem” was beautifully performed and Susan T added a little rasp to the honey. She continued to get better as she went on. The crowd got amped when Trucks started a call and answer run around with the horn section. He may have even smiled as he is not one to show much emotion. It all comes from his hands and trusty Gibson SG.
Georgia’s prodigal sons, The Black Crowes came out of a puff of smoke with old staple numbers from “Shake Your Money Maker” their platinum debut record. A hard hitting “Jealous Again” and “Thick and Thin” woke the crowd up from their soft southern nap and had people scurrying back from the beer lines. Drummer Steve Gorman drove TBC hard through the first half of the set which sounded like viral Humble Pie live at The Fillmore.
By the time they got to “Soul Singing” they were ready to let it out and take everyone on a hippy infused Dead-trip. Jackie Greene brings a stinging psychedelic flavor to TBC. He and Rich Robinson wove a groovy sound that sent Chris Robinson to new heights. His voice was masterful on this night as he danced and plodded alongside bassist Sven Pipien. There only break was an acoustic version of “She Talks To Angels” with Jackie Greene on the mandolin. The Crowes then opened the pen to a string of hits which included “Thorn In My Pride”, “Sting Me” and “Remedy”. Somewhere in the magic, keyboardist Adam MacDougall had some spectacular solos and fills that had the crowd in dance mode. The evening’s next highlight was the “Hard To Handle- Hush” medley which had the whole place spinning like a scene at a pagan festival.
The encore was a special moment. The sound was spot on and only could be improved by being joined by Tedeschi and Trucks. The southern blues rock all-stars crushed a cool version of Joe Tex’s “Show Me” (see vid below of the tune) with Trucks standing side by side with TBC primary songwriter Rich Robinson. Rich and Derek were having a ball trading licks and glances of approval. Susan T and Chris Robinson harmonized through chorus sections and brought the soul to new stratospheric levels. The show closed with a blinder of a cut, “Turn On Your Lovelight” by Bob Bland where the band twisted and turned with ferocious grooves and syncopated solos.
The post show chatter through the parking lot was all the same. People smiling and shaking their heads in awe of the performance shared at Stage AE. The double bill of TTB and TBC prove to be one of the best of the summer. We can only hope they return.
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