Summerstage, NYC’s largest and free public arts festival turns 30 this year, and to celebrate such a momentous occasion, this year will mark the longest season in the festival as it officially started on Monday night and ends in early October. And to kick off the festival, Summerstage’s main stage at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield hosted Spirit Family Reunion and Tedeschi Trucks Band. (Yes, I actually missed a huge portion of Monday’s Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Rangers – but watched a terrible and infuriating third period at an Upper East Side bar. )
The Brooklyn-based Americana band Spirit Family Reunion opened the show and I found their set to be extremely boring and uninteresting, as the material although well-menaing seemed to lack authenticity and actual soul. Somehow, it felt and looked to me like a bunch of hipsters, who ironically picked up a washboard and a banjo or two without really knowing the genre’s history, importance or its influence on contemporary music. I was actually relieved that their set was short and ended about 30-35 minutes after it had started. To be frank, it also didn’t help that along with about 99% of the crowd, I was there for Tedeschi Trucks Band, who interestingly enough announced at the show that they’d be touring alongside the equally fantastic Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings this summer – and this involved Susan Tedeschi and Jones duetting on a couple of an Otis Redding cover and a Sam Cooke cover, which showed off both of their incredibly soulful voices. The rest of the set showed the deep, spiritual and sonic connection that Tedeschi Trucks Band shares with The Allman Brothers, as Tedeschi’s husband Derek Trucks was a long-term member of the Allmans and their sound bears that imprint whenever Trucks plays – and it’s simply fantastic.
Check out some photos from the show below.
Spirit Family Reunion
Tedeschi Trucks Band
For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set: