After a night of cutesy artifice (Katy Perry), followed by a night of overwhelming stardom (Adele) and then a night of polished professionalism (Reba McEntire), it was refreshing to have an evening in the Twin Cities that was merely about music.
Friday at the Minnesota Zoo, the Tedeschi Trucks Band was organic musicmaking at its finest. The 11-member group -- featuring members of Susan Tedeschi's and Derek Trucks' other bands -- has been together for a little more than a year. They impressed in a cameo appearance at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival last summer (sounding like a modern-day Delaney & Bonnie), and this June released a low-key, song-oriented album "Revelator." But, as my review explained, the songs came alive in concert Friday. The concert was one of the highlights of the summer of 2011.
As has been the case in recent years, Tedeschi has reined in the oversinging of her early years. At times on Friday, her voice was flat or lost some of its colors. But, for the most part, she did a praiseworthy job of channeling early Bonnie Raitt. As for Trucks, he's a guitar monster.
That's why the zoo's amphitheater was overflowing with probably more fans (all the standing room spots were taken) than at any other show this year. (However, at showtime Friday, there were some tickets still available for Saturday's reprise, though I wouldn't be surprised if they were gobbled up quickly after Friday's splendid performance.)
Tedeschi promised a few changes in the set list for Saturday, which will be the zoo's final concert this summer. Here is what TTB played on Friday:
Don't Let Me Slide/ Space Captain (Joe Cocker) / Comin' Home/ Midnight in Harlem/ Learn How to Love/ I've Got a Feelin'/ Nobody's Free/ That Did It (Bobby Bland)/ Anyday (Derek & the Dominoes)/ Uptight (Stevie Wonder)/ Bound for Glory  ENCORE  Shelter/ Love Has Something Else To Say