Two of Connecticut’s most accommodating municipal concert venues drew massive crowds recently hosting acts with broad appeal based on the multigenerational makeup of audiences who turned out to enjoy the music and perfect weather that has kissed the state throughout late summer.
On Thursday, August 14, the Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows and Premier Concerts brought in the Tedeschi Trucks Band with opening support form The Wood brothers. Both acts complimented each other as The Wood Brothers warmed up the Simsbury venue with their unique brand of rootsy ballads and rockers.
The stripped-down trio featured siblings Chris Wood on bass and Oliver Wood on vocals and guitarist, complimented by drummer and percussionist Jano Rix.
They started on the easy side with ballads “Sing About It” and “Atlas,” slowly building in intensity and wrapping their too-short set with the blistering uptempo “Honey Jar” and “One More Day” which even motivated Chris Wood to do a little dance before he turned his attention back to pumping his stand-up bass.
After a break, Susan Tedeschi, looking sharp in a short cut leather jacket and stylish glasses, and husband Derek Trucks led their band onto the Simsbury stage to an explosion of applause. The 10-piece ensemble wasted no time getting the crowd up on its feet with a cover of Traffic’s “Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring.”
Unfortunately for many of the top-priced ticket holders in the front few rows, audience members from the back began pouring into the aisles, forcing many seated behind them to stand for most of the rest of the set, or find alternate seats that provided unobstructed sightlines.
Even a polite request from Tedeschi did little to break the jam of upwards of 100 inconsiderate fans who barely refused to budge from the front pit area between the seats and stage. But their presence didn’t seem to hamper the band, which continued through a set that included Trucks’ own “Don’t Miss Me” featuring a nice tight flute solo from Kofi Burbridge and spectacular lead guitar from Trucks as he laid down counterpoint to the raging horn section.
TTB was not shy about paying tribute to some of the great classic blues players treating fans to Little Milton’s “More and More,” Freddy King’s “Palace of the King,” Willie Johnson’s “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning,” and bringing out Oliver Wood to work his guitar magic on Hambone Willie Newbern’s “Rollin’ and Tumblin.’”
Wood stuck around for one of TTB’s most popular numbers, “Ball and Chain,” before leaving the smoking ensemble to finish up the evening with “Bound for Glory,” and a double-shot encore featuring “Part of Me” and “Misunderstood.”
A Packed Concert Park
Four night’s later, Danbury’s Ives Concert Park was equally packed – nearly selling out the second of two major headline shows hosted by the rustic venue this summer. The Moody Blues was a great follow-up to a well received Peter Frampton appearance earlier in the season, which is packed with other activities and festivals, many including local and regional music entertainment.
The best thing about a Moody Blues show is their audience knows exactly what they’re getting: a roster of hugely popular progressive rock hits mixed with a few obscure album cuts to help round out the set. And their show at the Ives was no different.
Opening with “Gemini Dream” and “The Voice,” founding member Justin Haywood looked and sounded fantastic, positioning his trademark vocals and effortless guitar work against the articulate bass and harmonies of John Lodge and the thundering drums of Graeme Edge.
From his elevated position on the drum kit, Edge flailed away, beaming with a broad smile for most of the set. He also came down to the front for a few moments to chat with the audience, but retold the exact same Viagra joke he sprung on the Ives audience during the band’s previous visit three years ago, a point that was not lost on a number of returning fans.
Other highpoints of the Moody’s two sets in Danbury were “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” with Lodge and Haywood trading off on vocals; a rousing version of “The Story In Your Eyes”; and the beautifully played “Isn’t Life Strange,” which also brought Lodge back to the microphone to handle lead vocals.
As the evening began drawing to a close, the Moody Blues kept the hits coming with “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Question,” a sing-along favorite “Nights in White Satin,” and closing the show with “Ride My See-Saw.”