It’s the time Tedeschi Trucks Band fans have been waiting for Friday’s show at Jacksonville’s Daily’s Place, the opening of the Wheels of Soul summer tour. Tickets for the show first went on sale in December 2019 and fans have been holding onto them through a pandemic and two postponements.
They were not disappointed. The Jacksonville-based band was clearly keen on showcasing their new songs and thought the best way to do that was to play them. All. In a row.
The band’s new album, “I Am the Moon: Episode I. Crescent” was released on June 3. It’s one of four albums coming this summer that are based on an ancient Persian poem, the same love story that inspired Eric Clapton’s band Derek & The Dominoes’ classic 1971 album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”.
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On Friday, the Tedeschi Trucks Band told the two sides of the old legend of Layla, first by playing some Derek & the Dominoes songs, “Bell Bottom Blues” and “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad”, which tell the story from the human point of view. New songs from the Tedeschi Trucks Band immediately followed, telling the same story from a woman’s perspective. It was an intriguing way to set up the Friday night show.
Even more impressive: none of the new songs had ever been performed in front of a live audience. So playing them all in a row was a bit risky on the band’s part.
They didn’t have to worry. They all did pretty well, and a few should find their way into shows for years to come. The particularly notable Friday night was “I Am the Moon,” which features singers Susan Tedeschi and Gabe Dixon, who also plays keyboards and opened the night with his trio. The song begins as a plaintive duet but soars at the end, led by slide guitar genius Derek Trucks.
The other standout was the instrumental “Pasaquan,” the kind of song that should probably be a legally valid excuse for speeding. “Sorry, Officer, ‘Pasaquan’ was on.” For his live debut on Friday, most of the band members — including Tedeschi — walked off stage, leaving Trucks center stage with a stripped-down band. It was classic Trucks, but not necessarily the way Tedeschi Trucks Band fans are used to hearing it. The song takes his guitar playing to places he hasn’t really explored since his years in the Allman Brothers Band and with his early Derek Trucks Band. The song also allows Dixon to shine on the organ and the double drum team of Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell and his new partner, Isaac Eady, to show off a bit.
The band was boosted for Friday’s gig by sousaphone player Adrian Jackson, who played on the new album. Even with 12 other musicians on stage, fans could hear that extra bass sound in almost every song.
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The rest of the set was peppered with favorites – “Midnight in Harlem”, “Bound for Glory”, “Do I Look Worried?” – and a few surprises. The band released a version of the blues standard “Outside Woman Blues” and guitarist David Hidalgo from opening act Los Lobos joined on War’s first encore, “The World is a Ghetto”.
Tedeschi is known for preaching when she performs “I Pity the Fool,” and she didn’t hesitate to call Friday’s Roe vs. Wade ruling while playing the song, quick lyrics on hearing the ruling, and pleading with the crowd to defend women’s rights.