The Derek Trucks Band
Plus Steve Dawson

Date and Venue 27 June 2009 @ 7.30pm | The Centre

Reviewer Susan Peake

The Derek Trucks Band rocked the stage at The Centre on Saturday night, delivering a first-class blues/rock concert to a packed house of ecstatic fans. After an engaging opening set by Steve Dawson, who successfully prepared the audience for an evening to remember, Trucks entered with his troop and it was immediately evident, that we were in for a night of great music.

When Trucks, who was a child prodigy of the guitar at age 9, works his magic on his modified Gibson USA SG’61, his incredibly fluid and expressive sound is almost overpowering. He seems to move effortlessly from subtle, subdued notes to sizzling intensity and from jazz to blues to rock. Particularly spectacular were ‘Sweet Inspiration’ from his latest CD, Already Free, and ’I Feel so Bad’ from Songlines. But the piece de resistance had to be Trucks’ unbelievable rendition of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein hit ‘My Favorite Things’ done in Derek Trucks' own inimitable style.

The band is comprised of an accomplished crew of musicians: Kofi Burbridge on keyboards, flute and vocals, Todd Smallie, bass and vocals, Yonrico Scott, drums, percussion vocals, Mike Mattison on lead vocals and Count M’Butu, drums. All were given the opportunity to showcase their skills with short solos and the audience responded with hearty applause.

Trucks is a veteran at age 30, having played for the last 15 years with the Allman Brothers Band while maintaining his own band. As well he continues to work with the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Joe Walsh and Stephen Stills and has even found time to collaborate with his wife, blues singer Susan Tedeschi.

Known for his incredible slide guitar playing (and he doesn’t use a pick), he is also known for his stoic focus on stage, rarely moving from the same spot. However, he did treat us to a few words, expressing his love for Vancouver and how pleased he was to be part of the festival.

A standing ovation and enthusiastic cheers resulted in an encore that more than pleased the grateful fans. Some consider Trucks to be the best guitarist of his generation, and if his performance on Saturday night was any indication, I would bet that those at the concert would fully agree.

© 2009 Susan Peake