Tedeschi Trucks Band‘s Wheels of Soul tour rolled into Saratoga Springs on July 3 with rock legends of new and old, The Wood Brothers and Hot Tuna. Hot Tuna performed with their electric trio, featuring Justin Guip of Levon Helm Band on drums and two energized 70+ year old rock legends, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, strutting through classics and bouncing around the stage. The Wood Brothers brought a stripped down sound that was full of gusto, including spirited renditions of “Luckiest Man” and a set closing “Ophelia.”
Tedeschi Trucks Band stole the show and brought the audience to their feet numerous times throughout the show, sparking the crowd on this 4th of July weekend as though they had bought tickets for spiritual renewal. In many ways, that is what the night provided. TTB opened the night with a cover of Derek and the Dominoes’ “Anyday” with Mike Mattison providing ample vocal support to Susan Tedeschi. (Coincidentally, on June 16, Bobby Whitlock of Derek and the Dominoes opened his show at The Egg with the same track off Layla and Assorted Love Songs.)
“Don’t Know What It Means” was one of the numerous times Susan showed off her powerful vocals, as well as Kebbi Williams’ jazz chops, during a breakdown at the end with drummers Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson. Susan didn’t let up by then belting out “Anyhow,” supercharging the venue with three big band numbers to kick the set off. Carey Frank, filling in for the recovering Kofi Burbridge, made his presence known on “Let Me Get By” and “Save Me,” adding to the big band sound as the show wound down. Rock goddess Susan and husband Derek put on a clinic of blues guitar, pounding out powerful chords and engaging the audience, eliciting cheers as peaks were reached, only to then be taken higher and higher. The final songs of the set bookended a monster rock ‘n’ roll show that had hardly a mellow moment.
For the encore, a perfect tribute to the late Gregg Allman in “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” preceded Susan’s calm rendition of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?,” one that made it feel like we were at a revival and ready to head out and preach her good word. To close the night, “Made Up Mind” allowed all vocalists, including Mattison, Mark Rivers and Alecia Chakour, to show off their vocal chops. Susan then asked the audience to offer birthday wishes to a member of the TTB crew, Bobby, by singing “Happy Birthday” to him, an exclamation point on a night of pure rock ‘n’ roll.