Several facets of good ol’ guitar boogie were on display when the Tedeschi Trucks Band and the Black Crowes brought their joint tour to the Bank of America Pavilion on Tuesday.
After a bit of greasy blues rock from the London Souls, the 11-piece Tedeschi Trucks ensemble played an explosive set that featured several songs from the forthcoming “Made Up Mind” album.
Together now for three years, the TTB is playing and writing at its highest level to date. The energy of the live performances has found its way into structure of the new songs, so there was far less searching for the right blend of tight precision and unleashed passion. Instead, the band intuitively coursed through the material with a polished finesse.
Guitarist Derek Trucks is the band’s anchor, carving indelible solos into every song. But the rest of the group is just as vital to the TTB’s overall vibe. Susan Tedeschi’s vocal work perfectly complements her husband’s guitar prowess, and the two exquisitely move the band through funky and soulful turns.
Opening with “Made Up Mind,” the TTB showed how much more propulsive its new songs are, a message reiterated with the closing whirlwind “The Storm.” Yet the band’s ability to move with a lighter touch was still intact on the new “It’s So Heavy.”
The TTB’s namesake leaders each took a spotlight turn, Trucks delivering a jazz-bent “Nobody’s Free” that featured tandem play with saxophonist Kebbi Williams, and Tedeschi plying a bouncy R&B tone with the new “Part of Me.”
The Black Crowes followed with a set that reached deeply into the band’s catalog as well as showcased some of its best-known songs. Singer Chris Robinson was the cheery pied piper tying together the glimmering psychedelia of “Peace Anyway” and “She Gave Good Sunflower” with the muscular boogie of “Remedy” and “Hard to Handle,” which now sandwiches an additional cover of “Hush”.
Guitarists Rich Robinson and Jackie Greene and keyboard player Adam MacDougall each had loads of solo time, especially on a sprawling “Wiser Time.” But the Crowes also pulled together solid ensemble work on an acoustic version of “She Talks to Angels” and a luminous “Girl From a Pawnshop.”
The Crowes and the TTB may have different styles, but they share a common ground, which they explored during the encore when the two bands (and London Souls guitarist Tash Neal) joined forces on rock ’n’ soul blowouts “Let’s Go Get Stoned” and “Turn on Your Love Light.”Scott McLennan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ScottMcLennan1.