The Scene: The scene last night was about what you would expect from a solo show by one of the members of Phish, there were lots of Phish fans . . . surprise, surprise. While the line to get in started about 5pm, two hours before doors opened, the room didn’t really fill up till just before 8. By the time Trey went on at about 25 after the hour, the place was packed, and while most people were friendly and respected your space, I did run into one guy that, suffice it to say, needed to try and enjoy the evening a little more. There’s really no need to try to ruin someone else’s evening just because you are having a bad day . . . good thing he didn’t succeed.
Trey Anastasio & TAB: The first set began with Trey walking out all alone and picking up an acoustic guitar to play “Farmhouse.” It was a mellow opening to what was a decidedly mellow, and largely acoustic, first set but it was beautiful to hear hundreds of voices singing the background part “This is our farmhouse . . . ” in perfect time. Trey even stepped back from the mic and seemed to soak it up for a few seconds with a giant grin on his face. It was clear from the very beginning that he was enjoying the evening.
He then moved into an underwhelming version of “Wolfman’s Brother” and the set didn’t really take off again until Trey began really interacting with the audience as he went back and forth with a guy in the crowd and agreed to play “Tube” after telling a story about how he used to peak in Fishman’s journals and write songs based on what he found. “Tube” and the two songs that followed it, “Gumbo,” and “The Wedge” were “a trip into the mind of Jon Fishman” and Trey turned the show into a bit of VH1 Storytellers. He talked about how he had lived with Fishman in Winooski, VT when Fishman was into Wheatgrass, really into Wheatgrass. The climax of the story telling portion of the show was when Trey revealed that he had once walked in Fishman giving himself a Wheatgrass enema . . . raucous laughter ensued from every corner of the building.
Trey then ran through a couple of new favorites from the Joy album, before closing out the solo portion of the set with a mesmerizing “Strange Design” and inviting Tony Markelis (bass) and Russ Remmington (sax) up to the stage for a very jazzy take on “Lawn Boy,” which proved to be one of the highlights of the set. He then gradually invited band members out until they all gave us a taste of what the second set had in store with a raging, full electric, version of “Gotta Jibboo” that featured the full horn section in all their glory.
After about a 35 minute set break the band was back and launching into a stretched out version of “Night Speaks to A Woman” from Anastasio’s 2002 eponymous solo record that ended with Russ Lawton breaking one of this drum heads. The suprise early set highlight was clearly the bands take on Five Stairsteps “O-o-h Child.” The song seemed to fit into Trey’s vocal range quite well and the smooth 70’s vibe of the song had the room swaying in unison and singing along with Natalie Cressman, and Jen Hartswick who were handling horn duties as well as background vocals. A fiery and horn laden “Ocelot” set up the staccato and salsa tinged “Burlap Sack and Pumps” before the next crowd pleasing cover of the evening showed up in the form of The Gorillaz “Clint Eastwood.”
While the second half of the set lost some of the energy that the band had built up so well in the first half, it was punctuated with an absolutely raging version of the classic “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.” The set wrapped up around 11:30 with a typically well played “First Tube.”
As if they felt they had ended a little bit early, what followed was a very rare three song encore that started slowly with “Words to Wanda” and built into the big band sounds of “Magilla” before finally ending in majestic fashion with the Trey Band staple “Sultans of Swing.” The deafening cheers as the song wrapped up proved that Denver does indeed care about a “trumpet playing band.”
Set 1: Farmhouse, Wolfman’s Brother, When the Circus Comes, Timber (Jerry), Theme From The Bottom, Tube, Gumbo, The Wedge, Joy, Backwards Down the Number Line, Strange Design, Lawn Boy^, Let Me Lie#, Heavy Things%, Liquid Time%, Gotta Jibboo*
Set 2: Night Speaks to a Woman, Acting the Devil, O-o-h Child, Ocelot, Burlap Sack and Pumps, Clint Eastwood, Last Tube, Alaska, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Plasma, Tuesday, First Tube
Encore: Words to Wanda, Magilla, Sultans of Swing
^with Tony Markelis and Russ Remmington
# with Tony Markelis, Natalie Cressman, and Jen Hartswick
%Full Band – Trey Acoustic
*Full Band – Trey Electric
Stage Presence: A-
Set/Light Show: A-
All Photos by Tim Dwenger
Here are some videos from YouTube of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” & “Lawn Boy” from the show