REVIEW: Trey Anastasio – October 22nd 2006 – Twist & Shout Records, Denver, CO

The Scene: This was an acoustic in-store performance at Twist and Shout’s brand new location on Colfax Ave (a mere block from my house!!!). The line to get in started about 5pm sharp and there were already about 15 people lined up at 5:05 and it grew steadily from there. I didn’t get in line until about 6:20 and was probably about 200 people from the door. There were a few people looking for the wristbands that it took to get into the show and I heard one person offering “50 and a Green for your Red.” Meaning he would pay $50 for a wristband that not only guaranteed a spot in the store for the show (as the green ones did) but also an opportunity to meet Trey (only the red bands afforded this option).

The crowd was Denver white and was primarily in their late 20’s to mid 30’s though there were a few kids running around closely monitored by their music freak parents. All in all a well behaved crowd that lacked the “dirty hippie” influence.

The high ceilings and open layout of the new store offer a great room for in-store performances back in the Vinyl section. No longer are the fans wedged between racks of CDs as they watch the performance. The store is able to create more of a venue like feel and that makes for a much more enjoyable in-store experience.

Trey Anastasio: Anastasio came out to a thunderous applause and honestly looked thrilled to be there in this brand new store playing the first notes of live music for about 350 cheering fans. After a quick introduction from a Twist & Shout employee (Patrick) Anastasio picked up his acoustic guitar and almost sat down in front of a mic stand that was all set up for him. As he sat he asked if we could all see him if he sat. A rousing chorus of “NO” rang out from the crowd and he grinned and stood up and adjusted the mic stand to the delight of the crowd.

I was expecting his set to be comprised largely of tunes off of his album Bar 17, but apparently he wanted to vary things up a bit. He opened with the Phish crowd pleaser “Sample In A Jar” and though the song didn’t have the same punch as it does with the full Phish line-up behind him he did get heads bobbing and phans singing along.

The “Inlaw Josie Wales” came next and showcased Anastasio’s less appreciated acoustic guitar prowess. He did catch a couple of wrong notes in the songs more intricate sections but he just grinned and brushed it off adding to the intimate living room feeling of the show. He further added to that intimate feeling by talking with the crowd and even at one point hoisting a little girl up onto his shoulders to show off her brand new red cowboy boots to the entire crowd. He then rewarded her (and her parents) by saying “I love those red boots. Now I gotta play a cowboy song for you,” and launching into “Back On The Train.” He isn’t known for his acoustic guitar work and while it obviously isn’t his strong suit he did impress me with his ability to translate some of the Phish songs into the solo acoustic realm.

Later in the show, after a great version of “Waste,” Anastasio took a request from the crowd to sing “Page’s New Shirt,” a song he made up on the spot backstage at a Phish show and is captured in the documentary, Bittersweet Motel. After singing a couple of lines from the impromptu tune he took another request from the audience and played “Camel Walk,” after making the requester promise not to “hit him in the head with a beer bottle” if he forgot a verse as he claimed not to have played the song in more than 2 years. The audience got into “Camel Walk” and sang along before Anastasio segued into another Phish classic “Chalkdust Torture,” to finish the 45 minute set.

Though it only took me about an hour to get through the line to get my poster signed, I heard that some folks waited nearly 3 hours for the opportunity to meet Anastasio. He was a great sport to hang out and meet more than 200 of his fans and I think people left with the feeling that he actually cares about the people that have stuck with him for all these years and have given him the opportunity to make music for a living.

Setlist:
Sample In A Jar
The Inlaw Josie Wales
Sleep Again
A Case Of Ice And Snow
Back On The Train
Dragonfly
Waste
Camel Walk >
Chalk Dust Torture

Energy: B+
Sound: B
Muscianship: B+
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: N/A (It’s a record store afterall)

Overall: B+

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Who Is Timothy Dwenger

Music has always been a part of my life. It probably all started listening to old Grateful Dead, Peter Paul & Mary, and Simon & Garfunkel records that my parents had, but it wasn't long before they were taking me to concerts like Starship, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Huey Lewis & The News. I got the bug to write about music after reviewing an Eric Clapton concert for a creative writing project in high school but didn't really take it up seriously until 2002. Since then I have published countless articles in The Marquee Magazine and done some work for Jambase.com, SPIN Magazine, and various other outlets. I started Listen Up Denver! as a way to share the music information that is constantly spilling out of my head with people who care. Please enjoy!