The Arlington Theatre was packed as Santa Barbara bravely came out in full force to see Tedeschi Trucks Band on a Tuesday night. The theatre was overflowing actually, with people flowing out towards the street you could tell something big was happening here.
Cute as a bug’s ear in a short dress and glasses, Susan Tedeschi lulled the crowd in her welcoming drawl as the band took the stage. Tedeschi Trucks Band hails from the south and is led by husband/wife duo Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. They are a 12-piece band, sometimes more, with a sound spanning across blues, rock, country, and soul. And tonight, the Santa Barbara crowd was as diverse and the band’s sound.
Known for their upbeat music and tendency to jam, I wondered how long they would play until this crowd was up and on its feet dancing in a frenzy. My bet would be four songs into the set. Tedeschi Trucks Band started off with a sweet southern song, “Sweet Virginia”, and rolled right into a rock jam that led to the gospel-like “All the World,” showing off Tedeschi’s diverse range. The crowd raise their hands in joy, but still remained seated, nodding their heads to the melody.
A jazzy number followed, then a rockabilly tune, flowing into “Idle Winds” and their second jam session of the night. The band was having a good time and it showed as some band members watched in respect while the others jammed right out. This almost got the crowd up. Almost. Tedeschi remained on stage to perform “Color of the Blues” acoustically while the rest of the band took a short break, her voice unwavering and as strong as a nightingale.
The band rejoined Tedeschi on stage and the rolled into more rock, flowing into more soul, and making my night with the heartfelt song “Angel/Sugaree” before progressing into their third jam session of the night. Tedeschi Trucks Band played thirteen songs over the two-hour performance ending with a fifteen minute and final jam session, the power of their music felt through the crowd like the gospel at church.
Yet try as they may, Tedeschi Trucks Band could not get the SB crowd to their feet and dancing. All they got was a whole lot of head bobbing going on and some dancing in the shadows. Good thing I didn’t make that bet, because I would have lost.