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In concert: Trey Anastasio

Trey AnastasioPhish's Trey Anastasio played for his adoring fans at 9:30 club Tuesday. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By David Malitz

(Note: This review is of the first set only. Due to weather, had to leave early.)

Does any musician have an easier task when it comes to pleasing his fans than Trey Anastasio playing a solo show? As frontman for jam band saviors Phish he is the focal point for music's most rabid fanbase, filled with devotees who plan vacations around the band's tour dates and have a Rain Man like ability to reel off favorite sets - "8/16/95! 12/30/97!" When Phish's extended hiatus ended last March, bearded dudes with expensive bootlegging gear were given a second lease on life. A few years ago an Anastasio solo outing such as Tuesday's sold-out show at 9:30 club would come with a huge burden - almost a Phish show, but ultimately just a tease of the real thing. With the band back in full force, though, Tuesday's show was a bonus, offering only upside.

Trey Anastasio

So, really, it doesn't matter if it was any good. It was, mostly, but none of the diehards who braved The Blizzard of '10 (Not That One, the Other One) to hear Anastasio and his six-piece backing band, Classic TAB, stroll through funky, noodly jams were going to object to anything, in the slightest. The 90-minute opening set had more peaks than valleys thanks to songs that were greatly enhanced by a three-piece horn section. (What isn't enhanced by a three-piece horn section? Maybe a child custody hearing?)

As songs drifted from five to seven to 10 minutes, the brass helped maintain momentum as audience members buried their heads, closed their eyes, flailed away and occasionally let out an approving "Woooooo!" Plus, the long songs were perfect for today's multitasking concertgoer - spend a couple minutes checking Twitter and Facebook, look up and everyone's right where you left them. As a bonus you've been probably bobbing your head all along and not just because you might have a contact high.

When the horn trio departed stage right, all negative stereotypes of jam bands were fulfilled - meandering guitar solos, a rhythm section off in its own universe, egregious displays of Guitar Face. And the two forays into light-reggae were about as successful as you'd expect from a band of seven white folks led by a dude from Vermont. But the grooves stayed thick more often than not.

The most telling moment may have been a between song anecdote in which Anastasio talked about his first solo show at 9:30 club and mentioned a version of one song played that night that was his favorite ever. It sounds like something you'd read on a Phish message board and showed the rare bond he has with his fans.

Trey Anastasio

Trey Anastasio

Trey Anastasio

By David Malitz  |  February 10, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Trey Anastasio  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: In concert: Jane Birkin
Next: Morning click: Wale fights cabin fever, Thom Yorke goes Green, Eric Clapton summons guitar heroes


Thanks for a great review of a fanbase and some amusing jokes. I can see why you'd have to stuff it full of useless information and your own musical bias, since you were there for less than half of the show. The pictures help, too.

Posted by: danelrey77 | February 10, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

So how was the music?

This is comparable to someone writing a review of a restaurant but not actually trying the food.

It's unfortunate you're on the Post payroll.

Posted by: yadasacker | February 10, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow. This was actually a much better review that I expected, and you still take crap from the diehards. Glad I left this scene many years ago.

Posted by: BabyStew | February 11, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Typical responses from jamband fans. If you don't post 750 words about how "epically Trey's machine gun fingers shredded that Jibboo, brah!," your review is discredited.

Posted by: azaghal1981 | February 11, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the review of the audience at this show. Maybe next time you might not be so distracted by the weather to be able to mention, I don't know, maybe one song title... or perhaps one detail that supports your statement that the show was "mostly good" (beside the horns, which, according to you, makes anything sound good). This review was lazy, uninformed (at least musically), and full of "all the negative stereotypes of jam band" reviews I've seen in the Post for the past ten years (meandering, noodling, contact high). While I am a fan (maybe even a "diehard"), I'm not coming from a bearded stoner boy with too much time on my hands perspective, but rather from the perspective of someone who worked in the Post's newsroom for seven years and wrote many a music review. A haughty mocking tone filled with tired tropes does not a music review make.

Tell me is sucked (I have felt that way about many Phish/Trey shows) and explain why. Or tell me it was "mostly good" and explain why. But for the love of God, next time, please review the actual music rather than the people who seem to like it so much.

Posted by: mattix | February 15, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

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