A tour to frame: the first time of Derek Trucks in our country was a great success, a celebration of music and audience. Here is the evening in Rome, the first of a total of four, recounted for us by Walter Gatti:
"Great music. It was the first time I saw the kid live with his band, and I have to say that as far as I'm concerned the evening ranks among the few memorable ones of the year (certainly of 'my' live year). Well-packaged set list, which unfolded with 44 blues, I whish i knew, Soul serenade, I'll find my way, For my brotherwith Derek always taking centre stage without speaking, almost shy in his words and gestures, while the band does its thing (especially applause for a remarkable drummer: Yonrico Scott). An all-electric evening and a killer dive into the blues with a Key to the highway appropriately slow and sly. There is a funky-rock vein, which comes out fun and sophisticated in Blind, crippled and crazy and in All I dowhile the band's jam attitude oozes from every pore and reaches its maximum expansion in My favourite things by John Coltrane (which has been in DTB's sets for a couple of years now), which is well over 15 minutes. Of the last record, the absences of Crow Jane, Voluntareed slavery and Saling on are noticeable, but it is also amusing to see that despite the requests of the audience, Allman's pieces remain absolutely out of the evening.
But how is he, Derek, doing? Well, the answer is: terribly well. Even more vivid than in Songlines live is the perception that we are dealing with 'another guitar world', a bit like when Eddie Van Halen or Jeff Healey appeared: other approaches, other visions of sound. Derek has two ways to go: the 'normal' sound and the slide. When he plays his red Gibson 'normally', he carefully avoids the use of the plectrum, resulting in a very unique guitarism: if he used the plectrum, he would be limited in the use of his right hand (a bit like Toy Caldwell, but taken to much more extreme consequences). When he grasps the bottleneck it's a different ball game: he goes from lyricism to torrid acceleration, he uses the sound as strongly percussive and vibrant or he burns out the stops towards the high octaves of the Gibson neck. With each title you wonder which of the two solutions (clean sound or slide) he will use, and I also have my doubts (and if anyone would like to send comments after the next concerts, welcome) that he also chooses to vary from concert to concert the best solution, following his instincts. In Rome Key to the highway was almost all without slides, maybe in Milan the interpretation changes, who knows... In short: is he the greatest guitarist 'after Clapton' (as the Americans put it)? We don't know, but the imagination and myriad possibilities at his disposal show that Derek is on another planet, not so much for virtuosity or speed as for the roads he can take to his soul-southernrock-tinged rock-blues. Any criticism? Let's try: the concert is not very long, just under two hours. The volumes are not impeccable (Derek overplays the keyboards excessively and the voice is poorly equalised). Then there is a consideration I would say across the board: next to a monster like Derek there should be a band of supermen and the immense difference in quality between him and the others is noticeable. Also and above all between him and Kofi Burdbridge, who at the end of the day is the only one capable of jamming with the bandleader (keyboards and flute, at times reminding me of Jerry Eubanks, of Marshall Tucker, but with a certain difference in quality...). But these are very minor 'black spots'. High marks concert and evening'. Walter Gatti
Photos Francesco Prandoni