Home Music Tedeschi Trucks Band featuring Trey Anastasio: Layla Revisited (Live at LOCKN’)

Tedeschi Trucks Band featuring Trey Anastasio: Layla Revisited (Live at LOCKN’)

There was never a plan for the Tedeschi Trucks Band to record Layla Revisited (Live at LOCKN’) even though the album has been a part of their mutual DNA since birth. Susan Tedeschi was born the very day Derek and the Dominos’ double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs was released in 1970. Chris and Debbie Trucks named their first-born son Derek because of the album, and he and his brother spent years listening to it as they went to sleep. It was simply a part of the landscape. On top of that, Trucks, whose uncle Butch was a founding member of The Allman Brothers, spent 15 years with the Allmans and toured extensively with Eric Clapton.

Yet Clapton never realized the immense popularity of the album. According to Trucks, “He was like, ‘I didn’t know people really like that record. It seemed like the record that kind of flew by.’” Which just goes to prove that in the moment it’s just another piece of music. Only later did the impact of it hit Clapton. And the revisited version of the album may have never taken place if not for the LOCKN’ Festival in Arrington, Virginia.

Initially the plan had been for Trucks to sit in with Phish one night and Anastasio to share the Stage with Tedeschi and Trucks the next. Yet in the end it was one night with Anastasio sitting in with the 12-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band, augmented with the addition of another guitarist, Doyle Bramhall II. So instead of the original five-piece band there were 14 people on stage. It could have been a recipe for disaster, but the assembled multitude fired on all cylinders for this once-in-a-lifetime performance.

Befitting the album and its new participants, what was originally a 77-minute gem stretches out to 139 minutes, but at no point does it feel like it’s overstayed its welcome. The interplay between Anastasio and Trucks is astonishing; there is a respect for the original pieces of music, but at no point does it feel like the two are just trying to recreate the Clapton-Allman interplay of the original record. Their extended forays suggest that there was never any question about mining new ground, and along the way they inspire each other to even greater heights.

Listening to Trucks and Anastasio stretch out is particularly revealing. On “Little Wing” they go back and forth playing with raw abandon. With so many songs stretched out the danger of endless noodling is very real, but there is an incredible musical alliance at play that occurs right from the beginning. “Keep on Growing” features amazing interplay even before the vocals come in. The solos between the two aim for the sky, achieving the heights time after time, slowing down then speeding up. They play to each other’s strengths, illustrating how well they listen.

Bringing out the best in each other seems to be a byword for this set. The pyrotechnics on display during “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad” are especially impressive, starting out at a fevered pitch before pulling everything back to a whisper. Even an old blues chestnut like Freddie King’s “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” becomes an all-out guitar assault with the two playing off each other like there’s no tomorrow.

Surprisingly, Tedeschi’s vocals never seem out of place. Perhaps it’s a result of being 50 some years down the road, yet all the vocalists seem able to hold their own with this classic set list. By the time “Layla” finally appears, rather than being a letdown, the two guitarists move toward the heights one last time, dueling it out until the piano comes in, then moving toward the inevitable conclusion.

Rather than an afterthought, Tedeschi and Trucks recorded “Thorn Tree in the Garden” as a duet to be played while the audience was walking out after the show. Changing the piece around as a solo acoustic number, Trucks work shows the tender power coming from a performer who not only loves his job but loves the impact of this music. After, so many highlights that moment is particularly poignant.

As celebrated as Layla was, nobody was crying out for an album-length remake. Which makes Layla Revisited (Live at LOCKN’) that much more revelatory. The Tedeschi Trucks Band has given us something totally unexpected: a reboot that stands up to the original.

Summary
As celebrated as Layla was, nobody was crying out for an album-length remake. The Tedeschi Trucks Band has given us something totally unexpected: a reboot that stands up to the original.
78 %
Revisiting a Masterpiece
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