Tedeschi Trucks Band – Live From the Fox Oakland – DVD Review
Seamlessly transitioning between backstage, tour bus, sound check and performance footage, Tedeschi Trucks Band – Live from the Fox Oakland is so much more than a live concert DVD. It is an in depth look into the essence of their being.
I particularly appreciate that the DVD contains only a hand picked selection of songs from that night and that the focus was on creating a meaningful film rather than attempting to recreate the concert experience which, as anyone that has seen this band knows, would be impossible.
The DVD kicks straight into music with “Don’t Know What It Means” which puts Susan Tedeschi at front and center both with her incredible vocals and dynamic guitar playing. She takes a solo that completes the song so well that the entire track goes by without any lead work by Derek.
But fear not, for those Allman Brothers Band fans searching for new material out of the groups former co-lead guitarist, the next song is an eleven minute rendition of, “Keep on Growing”, packed with three separate Derek Trucks solos, many in extended form. The DVD gives us the added treat, just before his second solo, of seeing Derek crank up his volume and allowing us to prepare for greatness.
Additionally, if you listen closely at the end of this track, you can hear an audience member scream “yeah, Trucks!” and another yelling “take your time, take your time”. I love that these comments were made audible because it helps to illustrate that this is a band that really interacts with their audience throughout the show. During an interview featured on the DVD, they even mention that they seek out playing theaters that are smaller in size because what they do, “would not work in an arena setting”.
Check out a preview of this track provided by Guitar Player magazine:
Without going into a review of each track, I want to touch on a few other pieces of this story that truly stuck out to me.
Derek’s Eastern Influence
For those familiar with Derek Trucks solo albums, you will remember that he often included songs with a very Eastern influence. This has fortunately made it’s way into the TTB repertoire and manifests itself in two songs on this live recording, first as a short reprise in “Within You, Without You” (a George Harrison cover) and then full steam in “These Walls” off of their album Revelator.
As a very big fan and follower of South Asian music, I was particularly excited to see that the one special guest that this DVD features is Ustad Allam Khan, one of the worlds foremost Sarod players. In this almost 12 minute raga, we are not just treated to a beautiful melodic collaboration between Derek and Ustad Allam, we are treated to the facial reactions by members of the band who watch in amazement at the music their fellow musicians are creating, and also to the reactions of the audience who have no hesitation in embracing a foreign style of music and show their appreciation generously both throughout the track and with roaring applause at the conclusion of the piece.
The TTB Family
First and foremost, one of the biggest treats for me in the footage this DVD contains is how much we hear Derek speaking. I have followed Derek closely for almost two decades and this was, by far, the most I have ever heard straight from him. Whether talking about the recording process, or interacting with his own father who is the bands merchandise manager on the road, it was incredible to hear the thoughts in his own voice.
Speaking of the TTB as a family band in it’s most literal sense, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, the two frontmen of this group, are husband and wife. The DVD features a few separate interviews with the two in which they discuss their mutual admiration and reverence for each other.
A particularly special moment for me during this DVD was during one of Susan’s solos and watching Derek lean in towards her and say “one more!” encouraging her to finish her thought on the incredible lead work she was displaying.
But the family connection within this group is not contained simply to the bloodline. We are once again given a rare glimpse into this band’s life on the road, in the studio, and even during sound checks that illustrate the love, respect and devotion they all have to each other and to the group and music they create.
In conclusion, if I had to sum up what I learned from this DVD in two sentences, they would read: The musicianship and personalities of the twelve members of the Tedeschi Trucks Band illustrate that this group is far more than just the sum of it’s parts. This is a group that is continuously evolving both its music and its approach to creating and performing the music.
Don’t Know What It Means
Keep on Growing
Bird on the Wire
Within You, Without You
Just as Strange
Crying Over You
Right on Time
Don’t Drift Away
I Want More (Soul Sacrifice Outro)
I Pity the Fool
Let Me Get By