New Year's Eve at the Fabulous Fox:
Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Ring In the New Year Family Style


photos by Josh Mintz

Some of you may remember the Allman Brothers Band's many legendary shows at the Fox Theatre. From great shows in the late 70s to the great three-night run in 2004, some of the Allman's greatest musical memories were created in this unique theater.

This past New Year's Eve, Hittin' the Note was proud to sponsor a brand new tradition at this one-of-a-kind venue. The Susan Tedeschi Band and the Derek Trucks Band joined forces and created a lot of joyful noise under the Arabian sky. Susan's opening set was driven by soulful material like Bob Dylan's "Lord Protect My Child" and the aching melancholy of "Soul." Saxophone master Ron Holloway is a great addition to Susan's group, and many people were overheard saying "Who is the sax player? He's awesome!"

Of course, the star of the show was Susan's rich, stirring voice. Several HTN staffers got to listen to Tedeschi do her soundcheck in a nearly-empty Fox, and it was immediately obvious that the old theater's grand acoustics were perfectly suited for her massive vocal sound. Throughout the show, she held the audience in the palm of her hand with subtle dynamics and deeply nuanced tones.

When the Derek Trucks Band hit the stage, Susan was back again, lending vocal support to a torrid version of the Marvin Gaye classic "Don't Do It." The crowd responded strongly, and they were warmed up and ready for action by the time this horn-fueled R&B classic roared to a close.

The Rockin' Horns (Paul Garrett - Trumpet, Kevin Hyde - Trombone, Mace Hibbard - Sax) were a big part of the night, and added tremendously to a spectacular rendition of John Coltrane's arrangement of "Greensleeves." This timeless folk melody has been around for hundreds of years, but Coltrane's version took it someplace totally different. Derek and the band followed in Trane's adventurous footsteps on this night at the Fox, creating an incredible "wall of sound" with the help of the horn section. Tight, swinging and featuring a ripping solo from Derek, this was the jam of the evening for many fans.

Much more was still to come, of course. Atlanta blues legend Tinsley Ellis joined the dTb for scalding, ferocious renditions of "Stand Back" and "Key to the Highway" that stand up to any version of those classic tunes. Ellis is a tragically-underrated master of blues guitar, and he went toe-to-toe with Derek on these songs, the two exchanging razor-sharp blues riffs that sounded like they were using barbed wire for guitar strings.

Finally, the moment every New Year's Eve concert is build around – Midnight. The Allman Brothers Tour Mystic Kirk West led the crowd in a spirited countdown to zero while wearing an outfit that was apparently left over from an old Fox production of 'Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. As the crowd yelled, kissed, and celebrated, balloons were released from the rafters while the band kicked into the Sly Stone anthem "I Want to Take You Higher." Once again, the horns proved invaluable on this tune. In fact, the rest of the show would take on a strong blues/soul flavor, as Susan Tedeschi returned to the stage for a run of R&B covers, like Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round in Circles" and Joe South's "Walk a Mile in My Shoes." By the time the evening ended with a mammoth version of "The Weight," a la Aretha Franklin, the assembled crowd was on their feet.

All in all, this show was a fine way to say goodbye to 2006 and hello to 2007. Hittin' the Note printed up a special souvenir program for this event, and we still have some left, so we are including them in all Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi orders on hittinthenote.com while supplies last. Let's do it again next year!

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