Some bands don't translate well onto records. Punk and New Wave types often lose their vital energy in the transition from live to LP. Other bands suffer the opposite problem. Van Halen's record production far outdistances what the band manages onstage; Led Zeppelin in concert has never matched its recording accomplishments. Unfortunately for concert-goers last Saturday night, the Marshall Tucker Band falls into the latter category.
To be sure, sound and mix are difficult in any open amphitheater (in this case Merriweather Post Pavillion), but the solution is not to opt for the big blast in lieu of a balanced sound. Which is exactly what MTB did.
In a truly tedious set MTB galloped through song after song in which their instruments wrangled with each other until the entire musical effect was hog-tied. Their rodeo rock was further confused by persistent jazz-like breaks from flutist and saxophonist Jerry Eubanks and lead guitarist Toy Caldwell, which bore little logical relationship to individual pieces.
"Ramblin" did just that musically, and "Running Like the Wind" was delivered with plodding heavy-handedness.
Tommy Caldwell's bass was omnipresent, vying with lead and rhythm guitar for position and obscuring some of the fine guitar work by his brother and George McCorkle. Only on "Searching for a Rainbow" was the guitar McCorkle and Caldwell both on lead -- unhampered by the instrumental hodgepodge characteristic of most of the concert.