The Derek Trucks Band special co-bill with Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit
The sun had set, the crowd had thickened and at about 8:30 pm, Derek’s entourage emerged. No words, no introductions – they just launched straight in.
Volunteered Slavery >
I’ll Find My Way
Sahib Teri Bandi
Soul Serenade (with Duane Trucks on drums)
Meet Me In The Bottom (1st Time Played)
Goin’ Home (1st Time Played)
Joyful Noise (with Jimmy Herring on guitar, Oteil Burbridge on bass, and Jeff Sipe on drums)
Mahjoun > Greensleeves (with Jimmy Herring & Jeff Sipe)
Key To The Highway (with Duane Trucks & Jimmy Herring)
This was my fifth time seeing the Derek Trucks Band on stage, and as always, I have nothing but compliments. These guys have incredible unity, with a sound that is so direct and pure. You can tell by their masterful fusion of different genres that they are drawing on a huge musical vocabulary. You won’t get much stage antics from these guys, either – aside from drummer Yonrico Scott’s facial expressions and band introductions. “On lead vocals and beautiful afro, Mr. Mike Mattison; on keyboard and flute, Mr. Kofi Burbridge; on bass guitar, Mr. Todd-don’t call him small…but he is small Smallie; on percussion, Count M’Butu; and on the guitar…….MR. DEREK TRUCKS !” Aside from those introductions and a “thank you for coming out” at the end of the night, the band lets their music do the talking.
“Crow Jane,” a grinding delta blues tune, is one of my favorites to hear. Close your eyes and listen to Mike Mattison’s falsetto singing, and you might think it’s a woman up there on stage. I use this description in the most flattering way; the man has an incredibly diverse, soulful voice and is comfortable letting it fly however it sounds best. “Sahib Teri Bandi” is another one of my top picks, mainly because of Kofi Burbridge’s flute playing (takes me back to when I was a flutist in my high school marching band heh). “Meet Me In The Bottom” and “Goin’ Home” were both performed for the first time – I was keeping track of the setlist and they threw me a curveball with those two. I wrote this review a few days back, but my dedication to detail prevented me from posting until I found out those song titles (thanks DTB setlists!).
The highlight of the night was unequivocally the “Joyful Noise” featuring 3 percussionists, 2 bassists, and 2 guitarists. Each musician had his time in the spotlight, with Oteil reconfirming that the Allman Brothers fence him in. And then you have the interplay between Derek and Jimmy. Is there anything more awesome than the guitar call and answer? My soul just feels lighter when I’m watching two musicians at the top of their game “talking” to each other musically. Jimmy and Derek are both men of limited expression while they’re playing, but I caught Jimmy smiling in amazement as Derek did his thing, and Derek had more grins than I’ve ever seen him have on stage. All of the guys looked like they were having an insane amount of fun, and it definitely rubbed off on the audience. People around me were clutching their chests and looking up to the sky as if to thank God for this beautiful music. When the song was finished, the crowd applauded and cheered and begged the boys to return to the stage. I was thrilled to see Jimmy return with the rest of the band. The “Greensleeves” arrangement that Derek does is incredible, although by that point it made me want to lay down for a nap. Luckily, it was an abbreviated version, and they went out with a bang – “Key To The Highway.” Mike unleashed everything he had left, and Derek channeled Duane with some of the most heart-wrenching slide guitar work I’ve ever heard. I’ve seen them perform this song several times now, but I think the addition of Jimmy Herring made Derek up the ante. He gets better every time I see him.
Derek Trucks Band is on the do-not-miss list for me. The guys are playing in DC Wednesday night, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s gonna be tough for me to keep the Kia parked in the driveway!PS: Again, a very special thank you to the great friend who made this evening possible