Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tedeschi Trucks Band - A Review

We arrived and found our seats in Milwaukee’s gorgeous old Riverside Theater. Great seats probably 25 rows back on the right hand side. The warm-up band was nice -- bluesy folksy and sufficiently different from Tedeschi Trucks. The warm up band had finished and then we had to wait... and wait... The drunk woman behind us, who had punctuated the warm-up band's songs every 15 seconds with a clear, loud, no-doubt-about-it YEAH!!, added to the reasons why clearly I should not be allowed to participate in the new conceal-carry law. I know I have a low tolerance for drivel, but there is a distinction between inane and intelligent drivel. Guess which kind of drivel that drunk lady was best at while we waited? Tedeschi Trucks finally deemed that sufficient amount of delay had occurred for all of us to fully understand that they are THE headlining band. It was wonderful to see all 11 members take their posts. A smile of anticipation had formed on my face as my bro-in-law and I were commenting on how great these seats are and what a great venue this is, when (I'm not exaggerating) about seven rows in front of us three basketball-player-height guys stood up. Then the obligatory writhing young woman with spastic flailing arms stood up to show us all that she is possessed by the music. That was the cue for everyone else to stand up. With the crowd being heavily (and I use that word with full intent of its multiple meanings) populated by members of the mature generation, it was as though 40 or 50 sheets of plywood had been tossed up. I stood up and caught occasional glimpses of the band when the plywood people, NBA-dudes, and an extraordinarily tall woman with a nest on top of her head happened to gyrate an opening. The music was distortedly loud. Being a guitar-centric band, the horns were completely underutilized and Susan Tedeschi's voice never wavered beyond a wail, which was a shame for someone with such a powerful range. One of their bluesy songs was begging for a harp, which didn't happen. With two drummers, there was the incredible missed opportunity to either do the dueling drummer thing or an interesting syncopated exchange. Instead, the one drum solo of the night was with one drummer drumming away until he was getting tired and then the other drummer plopped down at his set and kicked in for a short spell before the rest of the group came back on stage and jumped in. The night reminded me why I don't like seeing popular rock acts: musicians too comfortable with the mindless adoration of tall, rude fans who act like the band is playing only for them. Tedeschi Trucks could have played tighter and better. Instead they relied on volume, a few astounding but not particularly innovative guitar solos, and a couple of cheap-shot cover songs to whip an already receptive audience into a faux-frenzy. I'm thinking my more than 100 bucks for two tickets was a complete waste, but I guess I’m not easily impressed any more.

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