Even Florida’s record-breaking heat couldn’t stop Tedeschi Trucks Band fans from filling Daily’s Place Amphitheater on Friday night. As the rain and wind cooled down the stadium-side venue, Gabe Dixon warmed up the full house. This multi-talented singer songwriter was a smart and classy choice as an opener. While currently Dixon is TTB’s full time keyboard player, (both on tour and in studio,) his solo career is on fire, as well. Dixon is busy with his new album, Lay It On Me, as well as managing his record label, Rolling Ball. Since beginning his career more than 20 years ago, he has had several noteworthy experiences including playing for and performing with industry heavy hitters Paul McCartney and Alison Krauss, among others. It was evident by the crowd’s embrace on Friday evening, Dixon has quite the following of his own. It could be his slight resemblance to James Dean. But his soulful voice full of romance doesn’t hurt either.
Los Lobos took to the stage in their easy, east L.A. manner. This revered, three-time Grammy Award winning band has almost 50 years of experience together and it showed on opening night of the Wheels Of Soul tour. With their own undeniable genre of Tex-Mex, Pop and Rock and Roll, Los Lobos is every bit of energetic as when they debuted La Bamba. The fans showed their gratitude to the band members by screaming their names and requests from their seats…or feet, I should say. Nobody was sitting throughout the set. Adding this legendary band to the lineup of the 34-stop summer amphitheater tour, was a beautiful move. Having the second leg on the west coast gives Los Lobos a chance to rally their hometown excitement and introduce their tour-mates, Tedeschi Trucks to any that have been hiding under a rock. Marrying these bands on tour, mixing the two sounds, joining these groups of fans, bringing together the two coasts and closing the generational gap with artistic perfection… brilliant!
Friday’s show took place in a venue which I have deemed architectural genius. Daily’s Place is joined to TIAA Bank Field. It’s a smaller but newer amphitheater. Built in 2017 Daily’s offers 5,500 seats and not a single one I’d consider less than an awesome view. On the hottest day, you still get a breeze off the St. John’s River. The acoustics are perfect thanks to the Madison Square Garden bowl-like design after which it was modeled. I’ve attended shows at Daily’s since the venue’s inaugural show on May 27, 2017. That first show was Jacksonville’s own, yes, Tedeschi Trucks Band. It’s only appropriate that this increasingly popular hometown musical success begin their tour here. And this night did not disappoint.
Arm in arm, Derek and Susan Trucks casually joined their 10 band members on stage for the first performance of the Wheels Of Soul tour, the first show post-COVID and first since the release of the I Am The Moon four part series of albums and films. Susan started by thanking her doctor whom recently performed surgery on her knee to allow her to be able to continue the plans to tour. A roaring applause followed. And for good reason. The show immediately commenced and did not pause at any moment. It was nothing but perfect musical intricacies and defining entertainment from start to finish. Having knowledge of Derek Trucks’s past as a member of The Allman Brothers Band and the personal dynamics between he and wife, Susan, one can’t help but look for insights into their fascinating lives. Yet, with the highest professionalism they only show why these experiences lift their music to the next level.
Playing their Gibsons side-by-side, you get a sense of southern gentleman-like admiration for his powerhouse wife from Derek. Susan dons a very feminine, vintage, ‘60’s summer dress, contrasting her commanding and sultry vocals. She looked and sounded almost royal in the spotlight while backed by a full, orchestral-like band of talented instrumentalists and vocalists. The stage was packed with this well-oiled machine of a family whom have obviously strategically composed each and every beat and note to assure that the show they gave fans was flawless and award worthy.
Derek takes the third song, Bell Bottom Blues, as his first opportunity of the night to rip into a guitar solo, showing off his skills that give him the unofficial title of “world’s best slide guitarist.” Susan steps up to join him, playing with equal passion and humility. The couple bring the house to their feet as they seem to tune out everything without strings. Mere minutes seem like hours of being engrossed in the duo’s skills that rival Clapton and Allman.
From start to finish, TTB should be proud of every detail of this show. The visuals, the song selections, the choice of openers, down to the locations and venues, (the closing show is being held at Red Rocks Amp!) this tour is one not to miss. If you’re not familiar with the Trucks, think Monophonics on steroids with more southern and more soul. If you’re already a fan, hold onto your hats and upgrade your ticket. It’s more than worth it.
Tedeschi Trucks Band is Susan Tedeschi (guitar, vocals), Derek Trucks (guitar), Gabe Dixon (keyboards, vocals), Brandon Boone (bass), Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell (drums), Isaac Eady (drums), Mike Mattison (vocals), Mark Rivers (vocals), Alecia Chakour (vocals), Kebbi Williams (saxophone), Ephraim Owens (trumpet) and Elizabeth Lea (trombone).
Set List: Anyhow, Do I Look Worried, Bell Bottom Blues, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, I Am The Moon: I. Crescent, Hear My Dear, Fall In, Circles Round, I Am The Moon, Pasaquan, Part of Me, Outside Woman Blues, Bound for Glory, Midnight in Harlem, I Pity The Fool, The World is a Ghetto, Get What You Deserve
Gabe Dixon: https://www.gabedixon.com/
Los Lobos: https://www.loslobos.org/
Tedeschi Trucks Band: https://www.tedeschitrucksband.com