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by Kristopher Weiss
By the time Tedeschi Trucks Band declared “Let’s Go Get Stoned” as the encore of its July 24 Wheels of Soul tour stop in Huber Heights, Ohio more than three hours of music, and inspired sit ins between TTB, Los Lobos and Gabe Dixon, had already taken place.
So relaxing seemed like a good idea.
Arriving in Southwest Ohio after a pandemic-enforced, two-year, 12-day delay, Wheels of Soul 2020 was, not surprisingly, worth the wait.
Tedeschi Trucks’ two-hour set heavily featured material from their I am the Moon series of albums. The new tracks included the smooth, balladic soul of “Hear My Dear”and the lengthy, “Third Stone from the Sun”-inspired instrumental “Pasaquan,” which spotlighted Trucks’ (non-slide) guitar work and the band’s two drummers. Trucks also highlighted his Allman Brothers tenure, leading his wife, fellow guitarist and vocalist extraordinaire Susan Tedeschi, through the “Whipping Post”coda to end the set proper.
The 12-piece TTB played in configurations ranging from six players, such as when Tedeschi, in a floor lengthy floral dress, sung a powerful version of “How Blue Can You Get” sans horns and choir, to 15 musicians, as when Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo and bassist Conrad Lozano joined in with an auxiliary percussionist on “Get out My Life Woman” with Mike Mattison on lead vocals. Next, Louie Pérez joined the expanded ensemble for Derek and the Dominos’ “Keep on Growing.”
Trucks was the musical conductor, cuing solos from the assemblage of guitarists – and keyboardist Dixon – by pointing a finger or sauntering across the stage as if to say, “Have at it, friend.” The camaraderie was evident not only in the music but in the ensuring grins, laughter and hugs.
A special thing to witness.
The Wolves’ presence was a returning of the favor that saw Tedeschi, Trucks and the TTB horns joining in on Los Lobos’ firecracker, 55-minute set for “What’s Going On” and “Mas y Mas.” These songs were the exclamation point on a gig that found the Wolves in nearly perfect form as they went back to near the beginning with “Will the Wolf Survive” played beloved covers such as Ritchie Valens’ “Come on Let’s Go” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” and featured tracks from 2021’s Native Sons.
The audience rewarded the band with multiple standing ovations and remained on its feet for the tail end of the set and most of TTB’s performance.
These are two of America’s best live bands. And on July 24 in the sweltering, Southeast Ohio humidity, Los Lobos and Tedeschi Trucks made the point again.
Backed by a rhythm section, Dixon opened the show with a 30-minute performance of soul- and jazz-leaning pop that features a guest appearance from saxophonist Kebbi Williams and culled material from Dixon’s Let me be Your Melody EP. A surprise cover of Bob Dylan’s “Tangled up in Blue” highlighted the welcoming set.
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