DEREK TRUCKS AND SUSAN TEDESCHI, Red Butte Garden Amphitheater, Tuesday
Soul Stew Revival could easily become one of the most consistently successful summer draws for years to come.
The musical celebration, which stopped at the Red Butte Garden Amphitheater Tuesday night, features the astounding husband-and-wife duo of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. They are complemented by a baker's dozen of musicians who provide solid, and at times spectacular, backing. And most importantly, they have a performance that grabs the seemingly devoted crowd by their tie-dyed T-shirts and whips them around for nearly two hours.
While Trucks has claimed that Soul Stew is not the kind of show that would inspire rabid fans as in, they are not a jam band that people follow to see what is essentially a new show every night their performance Tuesday would indicate differently.
They turned multiple songs into extended jams, most notably "Anyday," which featured one of Trucks' many solos that eventually evolved into a back-and-forth with Kofi Burbridge's flute. There was also "Little By Little," a 10-minute firestorm that pretty much gave everyone in the band a chance to shine.
While Tedeschi is an amazing guitarist and singer and she essentially stole last year's show this time around, it was all about Trucks. His solos, and there were many, channeled everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughan ("Hercules") to Jimmy Page ("Anyday") to Jimi Hendrix ("Get Out of My Life, Woman"). Even better, his skills seem to continually improve, which is sort of like saying Jack Nicholson keeps getting better as an actor.
If there is only one knock against Soul Stew, it is that it relies heavily on covering other people's material. The musicians are by no means safe with their covers their blues-funk interpretation of "Hey Jude" proved that much and every song sounds like their own, which is impressive and enjoyable.
Still, both Trucks and Tedeschi have a deep well of material to draw from, including new albums from both of them in the next six months. Hearing a Soul Stew version of more of their own stuff would be even better than hearing them play the Beatles, Derek & the Dominoes, or The Band.
Still, they have all of the ingredients to headline what could become a traveling festival, a true revival, that not only sells out medium-size outdoor theaters but could tackle larger venues. At least, they had them Tuesday night.Opening the show was Scrapomatic, a duo that includes Mike Mattison, lead singer for Soul Stew and the Derek Trucks Band. Their eclectic set was actually a perfect showcase for Mattison's soulful voice and most likely helped sell quite a few copies of their new CD, "Sidewalk Caesars."
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