The past year definitely had it’s good, bad and ugly elements. Falling under ‘good,’ as always, was the plethora of live music I was lucky enough to see. Music for me has always been, and continues to be the best soul-cleanser, forever the surest cure for what ails me, the best friend who is always there when I need them.
The first half of the year saw Roy Hargrove at Yoshi’s. Man, can that guy blow a horn (and many minds in the process). He looked like he was having such a great time, it was infectious. It was a great set overall, but he ended his set with what seemed to be an impromptu rap about the aforementioned delight about playing, then ripped into one of the most incendiary trumpet runs I have ever beheld. The place nearly exploded!
Next came Eric Clapton at the HP Pavilion. Clapton has always been a god in my ears, but what made this a must see for me was the addition of guitarist Derek Trucks to his band. I have loved DT since I first saw him with the Allmans in ’03. I do tend to avoid large arena gigs, opting instead for the intimacy of smaller clubs, but the promise of both of the greats together was too much to pass up. I was having visions of the Clapton/Duane Allman brilliance from the Derek and The Dominoes days, and the show did not disappoint. They played more D and the D classics than I could have wish for, and EC gave DT adequate room to dazzle like only he can. At the same time, EC used the the inspiration to show his own brilliance.
Next up came the band moe. at the Great American Music Hall. Wow! As much as I loved the Clapton show, I payed over $200 for my wife and I to essentially watch the performers on a giant TV screen. They played for the obligatory 1 hour, 30 – 45 minutes, then done. Moe. on the other hand, charged $24 dollars per ticket for a show in a beautiful, ornate small venue, and played about 4 hours of the most high energy, balls-out rock and roll these ears have heard in a long time. As far as ‘jam bands’ go, moe. takes a more-rock-less-space approach, stretching their songs out in long, cohesive, tight musical onslaughts. ‘Fun’ is the best word to describe that night.
The first half of the year ended on a high note as I saw Derek Trucks again, this time in a band with his wife, the great Susan Tedeschi called Rock and Soul Stew Review. The combo of these two together was just what this soul needed. Susan has such a wonderfully gritty, sexy sultry blues voice that works oh-so-well with the emotive tones that ooze from DT’s guitar. A show filled with rockin’ versions of rock, blues and soul covers, not to be redundant, but just plain fun.