As touring artists, Derek Trucks and his wife Susan Tedeschi spend most of the year on the road with their 12-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band, so whenever Trucks has a chance to take up residence in a big city for a week or two, he gladly pulls the parking brake on his tour bus and gets comfortable — but not too comfortable.
“It’s nice to settle into a venue for a few nights, although we know there’s a portion of the audience that comes out for multiple shows, so we have to dig deep into the catalog,” Trucks tells Billboard. “Musically it’s so much more rewarding to set up for multiple dates at a place where you can get comfortable with the sound of the room and when you’re not playing, relax a little bit and actually experience where ever you are at the moment.”
The concept of residencies — long-running strings of concerts in a single venue — has been around for decades, and while the model is catching on with younger acts from Lady Gaga to Bruno Mars, Tedeschi Trucks Band is taking residencies to the next level: It’s adding a second destination for the group’s first ever dual-city residency.
While the group has held court at New York’s Beacon Theatre every September/October for years, the famed roots rock and jam outfit are now launching a second multiyear residency in the Windy City, performing at the Chicago Theatre every January/February through 2022.
“The Chicago natives appreciate a band showing up in January, it shows a certain hardiness” jokes Trucks, who says the bonds he’s built at both venues since joining the Allman Brothers Band in 1999 and then co-founding Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2010, keep him coming back every fall and winter.
“I’ve been in the same rooms for 20 years now. When my son was only 10 days old, he was at the Beacon Theater and it very much feels like a home away from home with a lot of the crew and the union guys here at the Beacon for the whole run,” Trucks explains. “It’s always nice to walk back in the door and see the familiar faces and hit that stage where so much magic has been made.”
Every year, the dual-city residency — which is also a first for Madison Square Garden Company, which owns and operates both venues — will include at least six shows in New York and at least three shows in Chicago, starting this winter on Jan. 18, 19, 25 and 26, 2019.
“We’ve had a long history with Tedeschi Trucks Band dating back to 2011, when they performed at both venues,” says Darren Pfeffer, executive vp MSG Live.
By the time the band wraps this current Beacon run Saturday (Oct. 13), they’ll have played 33 times at the New York venue and nine shows in Chicago.
New York has long played host to bands like Steely Dan and the Allman Brothers, the latter of which played 238 shows at the Beacon from 1989 to 2014. Madison Square Garden is home to Billy Joel’s monthly residency run; he has played more than 50 shows since its launch in 2014 and celebrated his 100th career show at the arena in July. But as iconic artists slow with age and younger artists tire of relentless schedules on the road, staying put is becoming more appealing. Pfeffer says the number of calls he gets from agents and managers about booking residencies at MSG venues has doubled in recent years.
“It’s not just a concert — these are events that have become established parts of people’s lives,” Pfeffer said. “It’s something they look can look forward to, knowing they’ll see old friends and have a great time.”
Another perk, says John Meglen, co-CEO of AEG’s Concerts West: Residency artists can build elaborate stage sets that would normally be too costly to transport.
“For it to really work, promoters can’t lose site of the fact this is an artistic expression as well as an economic expression,” Meglen tells Billboard.
As for fans, Peter Shapiro, owner of the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. which has hosted multi-night runs for the Hold Steady and the Grateful Dead‘s Phil Lesh, says residencies “become part of people’s lives — it’s something consistent in an often inconsistent world.”
Trucks tells Billboard he’s preparing for the Chicago shows by working on new material — “we’ve got to write another 50 songs,” he jokes. “It’s a little self induced-pressure, but the challenge is a good thing.”