Trey Anastasio | 10.19.08 | VT

Words by: Todd Snelgrove

Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB :: 10.19.08 :: Higher Ground :: Burlington, VT

Trey Anastasio by Rod Snyder
The recent announcement of Phish's upcoming reunion in Hampton has re-ignited a scene that has been resting somewhere between dormant and hopefully expectant since the band stopped playing together more than four years ago. The excitement surrounding Trey Anastasio's short tour with his original solo band seems to have spiked now that we know this is only a prelude to the big show.

Inside Higher Ground the energy swirled like so many patchwork skirts as Trey and band prepared to take the stage at his de facto hometown venue. The room teemed with happy souls who showed up early to peruse the silent auction, poster sales and raffle prizes that contributed to this evening's fundraiser for the Seven Below Arts Initiative, while idle chatter centered on Hampton tickets, the previous night's Albany show and potential sit-ins by other local heroes.

As the lights went down, the 600-strong crowd cemented their sightlines and howled in anticipation while Anastasio approached center stage and soaked it in. In such an intimate venue it was easy to see Trey close his eyes and take a quick, deep breath before launching into the show. "Gotta Jibboo" was an apt opener, sending heads bobbing, asses shaking and good vibes growing as the crowd drifted somewhere between a surge and respect for another's space. Whether you were against the stage or in the back row, everybody had a great spot, and we all knew it. Right out of the gate Trey's playing was stellar, and as he pulled "Jibboo" through the improvisational wringer he showed the crowd why he is so revered in the jam world. That he can make so much of two chords is a testament not only to his unparalleled guitar playing but demonstrates his skill as a songwriter, as he somehow kept the straightforward song fresh and unpredictable. He was rewarded for his efforts with a rabid response from the crowd.

As the first set ebbed and flowed its way up and down the energy scale, it became apparent that Trey shared the exuberance and optimism he has recently fostered in his fans. Whether it's a stronger outlook on life or an enthusiasm for the future is unclear, but as Anastasio closed the set with a virile attack on "Sand," he looked younger and healthier than he has in some time. Starting his solo by wrenching low growls from his custom Languedoc guitar, Trey pulled the timbre from the dark depths up to that signature soaring bright tone he is so well known for. By the final cadence, the song was brought to a peak that made it undeniably a set ender.

Trey Anastasio by Rod Snyder
After the set break, Anastasio reminded the crowd of the history between himself and the venue, remarking that one of the first TAB shows was the first concert held in the new Higher Ground. At that show Trey debuted several songs that have since become well known and loved by his fans and much played by his various ensembles, and as such, he said those songs are as old as the venue we all stood in.

It was midway through a deft and dexterous second set, when a poignant line emanated from the stage - "The time has come for you to be alive again" – which set the crowd cheering loudly during "Alive Again." While it may be hyperbole to say that the scene has been dead these last four years, it is clear that a spark has been lit under tour-minded folk since Phish announced their reunion. There is an underlying excitement brewing and that vibe rushed through the room. The time has come, and we do feel alive again. And it's not stretching the imagination to say that the grin on Trey's face as he sang the line showed that perhaps he too feels alive again.

To be fair, any comparison between the energy at this show and the energy that will be felt in Hampton remains to be seen, but the feeling of celebration, of being part of a new beginning was indeed in the air at Higher Ground. Regardless, nobody could complain about Trey's energy and ability this night. He was up-beat and smiling, blazing up the fretboard and his vocals were spot-on. He was even feeling playful enough to submit to a request for "Moesha," a song the band hasn't played in years. And he did an admirable job of it too, despite predicting that he'd forget the lyrics and get flamed about it online afterwards.

At 1 a.m. the encore wrapped up with "First Tube" and the crowd, exhausted and ecstatic, bled their way out the door and back to their hotel rooms, sated by a great show and eager to get back on the train. Trey Anastasio seems chomping at the bit to get back at it himself, and this performance proved he's got the chops to pull it off.

10.19.08 :: Higher Ground :: Burlington, VT
Set I: Gotta Jibboo, Peggy, Dark and Down, Push On Til The Day, Sweet Dreams Melinda, Sand
Set II: Burlap Sack and Pumps, Money Love and Change, Last Tube, Let Me Lie Drifting, Alive Again, Tube Top Flop, Windora Bug > Ruby Waves, Moesha, Dragonfly
Encore: A Case Of Ice And Snow, First Tube

Trey is still on tour, dates available here.

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[Published on: 10/22/08]

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shakobe starstarstarstarstar Wed 10/22/2008 02:08PM
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KNVES OUT!!! REALLY!! I never knew,so so sweet.

schofizzl Wed 10/22/2008 02:09PM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
schofizzl Wed 10/22/2008 02:09PM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
Bill Clifford Wed 10/22/2008 02:26PM
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Well, here's my review of his CT performance.

The point I was trying to make in this review - and its so hard to do with a limited word count of a daily - was that the energy just didn't live up to the energy of a phish show. I know, I know, Trey is not Phish. But I was just expecting a little more. He played a whole lot of mellow tunes this night in CT. Check PT for the set list. And the editors cut my last sentence, which read: "While this performance from the Classic TAB had its moments, here’s looking forward to the return of Phish 2009."

Nicely done Todd.

Here's my review;,0,7773861.story

Bill Clifford Wed 10/22/2008 02:28PM
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^^^^^ You gotta copy and paste the whole link above into a browser window to open. Or go to and search Trey.

earlofkent star Wed 10/22/2008 02:34PM
Show -9 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
phishr82 Wed 10/22/2008 02:40PM
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^^^ dude....chill. Trey writes great music, lyrics not so much. But why slam the author like that?

Benjamin Human starstarstarstar Wed 10/22/2008 03:13PM
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Benjamin Human

The Rhode Island show blows this show away. Hands down best TAB show of the run so far look at this setlist:

I: Come on Baby Lets Go Downtown, Last Tube,Tube Top Flop, Sweet Dreams Melinda, Cayman Review, Ooh Child, Alaska, Backwards Down the Number Line, Gone, Sand

II: Push on Til the Day, Gotta Jibboo, Drifting, Simple Twist Up Dave, Water In The Sky*, Brian and Robert*, GBOTT*, A Case of Ice and Snow, Tuesday

E: First Tube > Jam (w/ Billy Kreutzmann, Oteil Burbridge, and Scott Murawski)

I was also at the VT on Ct shows and this show by far destroyed them. Phenomenal. I cant wait for phish.

Flat5 starstarstarstarstar Wed 10/22/2008 04:19PM
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tear it up Trey!

jesposito Wed 10/22/2008 04:20PM
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sweet setlists! i'm so pumped to see TAB friday!!

moephishH2O starstarstarstarstar Wed 10/22/2008 05:34PM
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Phish - The Gorge - 4th of July 2009 oooooh yeah.

NittyGritty starstarstarstarstar Wed 10/22/2008 06:04PM
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Is this Phish reunion just a marketing scheme, they waited 4 years for fans to get all rowled up and then finally hit them with a reunion tour that will probably be the highest grossing tour of all time. If it is, they got me, im hooked in, ready and willing. Please Please have a good summer tour. The gorge would kick serious ass by the way moephish...hope that happends

shoffer Wed 10/22/2008 06:41PM
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Marketing scheme? So they stop doing something they love for 4 years with the intention of coming back and cashing in? It's like the Seinfeld where Mom and Pop skip town with Jerry's sneakers and Jerry sarcastically explains to Kramer that they came into the neighborhood 50 years ago to establish trust and with the ultimate goal of skipping town with some old sneakers. Call me naive but with all the money these guys must be pulling in with Live Phish releases, merchandise, memorabilia, and current projects I think its really just about time they wanted to enjoy being Phish again. But thats just me...

O1Roggae Wed 10/22/2008 07:08PM
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I think your right shoffer^^^ It's good to Big Red healthy and tearing shit up again. I've been through almost the exact same shit he went through and it was a very hard transition to go from being a junkie to being a clean and responsible person. Pot doesn't count though to me pot. Pills on the other hand can shoot you down the tube and into jail. I really hope they play at least one alpine show in the summer I would love to go back up to wisco to visit phamily and phriends.

oboyler Wed 10/22/2008 08:50PM
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the gorge would be cool but im hopin too god that they'll be spendin there 4th of july at rothbury. hope trey and the boys will be ready for a big summer on the road.

mfgoof Thu 10/23/2008 06:06AM
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Rothbury is dead. Dude went bankrupt and the property was lost maybe two weeks after the fest ended. Just an FYI.

GeorgieP Thu 10/23/2008 06:17AM
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^^ The owner might have to sell the property, but that doesn't mean Rothbury's dead, dude. I'm sure whoever owns the resort next year will pounce on the Rothbury cash cow and bring it back for '09.

twist2piper starstarstar Thu 10/23/2008 06:20AM
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"Inside Higher Ground the energy swirled like so many patchwork skirts..."

Really? Hyperbole much?

ttown555 Thu 10/23/2008 06:28AM
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first rothbury isnt dead. the website is updated and says rothbury 2009. aeg is trying to buy the property. second phish is way to big to do bonnaroo or rothbury they will do there own big show. last but not least cant wait for summer tour. go trey go!!!!

apgunter13 Thu 10/23/2008 06:32AM
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So most of you guys seem happy. Does that mean you got tickets at face value? And not at the ticketmaster recommended price of $300. Just wondering. Peace.

apgunter13 Thu 10/23/2008 06:36AM
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Of course I'm referring to the Phish shows at Hampton. I mean they had so many more options. Were they afraid that their popularity had waned? Did they need to create this hype? Remember the Warlocks at Hampton? Tickets one week in advance only at physical ticket outlets and only locally. Their were literally tickets on the ground. Everyone got in, no parking lot mess, lots of fun. They could have done a longer run at a place that MusicToday could sell tickets for. I started seeing and supporting these guys back in 1988. I have not talked to a single person who got tickets. Did anyone really get tickets when they went on sale the first time?

Deadphishbiscuits Thu 10/23/2008 06:42AM
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sounds like the boys are gearing up nicely with their side projects to finish up '08. Great to see trey back with TAB loved cayman review and wasnt a real big fan of the newer rockier trey solo stuff. any who sounded like a good show and wouldnt miss this act if it comes to a venue near year. As always a good show to one and all..enjoy

Jeff Kash Thu 10/23/2008 10:11AM
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Jeff Kash

The Wallingford show was weak. Trey solo shit is not even in the same realm as Phish. Don't get me wrong, I love Trey and I'm very happy that he's healthy now and that the boys are back-- but if you've been to one of these shows and think that it's "nasty" or "sick", you either have never heard Trey solo before- or you are completely in the dark when it comes to what "ripping" truly is. The sound just isn't there solo-style. New phans have much to look forward to, especially if they think Trey solo is a solid show.

joshpotter Thu 10/23/2008 10:19AM
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For context, here's a review of the prior night in Albany:

lovejahlive Thu 10/23/2008 10:22AM
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The newer Trey eclipses the older solo stuff. Timing of the reunion is perfect because (to me anyway) he is finally not sucking. See ya in StL April 23!

bluefox starstarstar Thu 10/23/2008 10:52AM
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Night Speaks To A Woman is a GREAT tune for what it's worth, musically and lyrically. TAB can bring the heat for sure, not sure what shows of Trey's you've seen. He did have some weak sauce for a while with 70 Volt Parade and some of the bands after that and I haven't seen the new 'original TAB' but I did see his first tour in '99 and several after that.

iAMuANDwhatIseeISme starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/23/2008 11:31AM
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WWWWWWOOOOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!! earlofkent -- what is your deal???? "juvenile"???? "..concepts i ponder and concepts i won't ever see, god isn't one of these, former or later, which did you think i meant? i doesn't matter to me..." thats a fucking awesome, super refined, personally insightful line with a simple phrasing but a very open ended ontological concept. ITS PERFECT!!!! and as far as some of his odd, "offbeat", "juvenile" lyrics, WHAT THE FUCK DID ZAPPA WRITE??!?!?!?!?!? llama, tube, etc., etc., etc., are all about absurdity. its contemporary lyrical dadaism that NO ONE does anymore. is weird, and i admit, hard for most to get their head around, but it's sublime in it's own right. so unless you have some badass lyrics you want to loan him that you think fit what he's going for better, SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!!

johnnygoff starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/23/2008 12:37PM
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I was @ both Albany and Higher Ground. Both shows demonstrated that without the horns behind him, Trey has taken it personally to turn any TAB tune, regardless of popularity or crowd favorite, and turn it into a deep, evolving, growing jam.

sometimes in albany, trey would cresendo the jam too quickly, (IMHO) and it left him little room to go. However, with normally mundane tunes ---ie - "Drifting" in Albany and "Dragonfly" in Burlington, Trey exhibited perfect jam-strength and preciseness. The 'noodling' seemed to be going places which made the payoff/peak that much more rewarding.

I ran into Tom Marshall in my Albany hotel elevator and he said Roseland was great. Asked which show was better, 'Albany or Roseland', Tom said, "it's a toss-up." (playing 'Switzerland' masterfully)

Well, in the 3-day/7 hr. trek Trey took me on in Albany and Burlington, I can say, Trey definitely improved over the course of the 2 evenings. One thing remains. The "Alive Again" we got near the end of Higher Ground was metaphoric. We, as phish nation, are Alive AGain. TAB, with or without, horns, are Alive AGain. And undoubtedly, with out question----with his ear-to-ear grin, swaying, groove-lip-syncing and his highest notes since his highest note, TREY is Alive AGain.

great writeup.

thanks to Trey, Classic TAB, and all the phans!

granola Thu 10/23/2008 02:28PM
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What a surprise same set list hes been playing for 4 years - bad songs

granola Thu 10/23/2008 02:29PM
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Oh yea, and dragonfly is THE WORST and gayest song ever written

In a Big Country Thu 10/23/2008 02:34PM
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In a Big Country

Sweet Melinda !!!

breadloaf Fri 10/24/2008 08:00AM
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The writer makes no mention of the band per se; I felt that the fellas played with a lot of heart- Russ and Ray particularly. Johnnygoff, my wife and I felt that a few times in Albany Trey milked the jams beyond their useful life (Gotta Jiboo, for one)and did in fact enter the pure noodling range- I was wondering what your thoughts on that are? I loved the solo acoustic numbers. And I have to say that Trey is singing very well, all things considered. I understand he has been studying with a vocal coach and it shows. He seems pretty damned happy overall.

jbleiche Fri 10/24/2008 09:48AM
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While I agree that Dragonfly is not a GREAT song, it does seem like he's been doing some extra awesome jamming on all the shine/bar17 stuff in attempt to redeam those songs, and it seems to be working. I never saw so many people rocking out to shine until last night. I've been to all the shows this tour, Lupos rocked but it didn't blow the others out of the water.

kaiserbun starstar Fri 10/24/2008 03:20PM
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i'm personally never enjoyed his solo band at all, the songs are absolutely terrible. maybe every once in a while they'll play a cool jam, but i just don't get why people like it. i really wish the sirius jam station would stop playing it so much. pray that phish sticks to their original stuff rather than dive into the band members' solo stuff like they did last time. after the last hiatus, some of the new songs and the solo stuff really killed a lot of the shows. the Iamuandwhatisee guy needs to calm down, wow.

johnnygoff starstarstarstar Fri 10/24/2008 06:39PM
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excellent points...and I would be remissed if I didn't totally agree with you man. Trey's vocals were honestly, the best, i've heard, possibly ever. Let's just say, it was never even close to a point where anyone winced. In fact, in true testiment to Trey vocals, you didn't notice = much improved._______________________also, you're right about TAB...(not the lea 80's cola) Russ, Tony and Ray (always fun to watch that hipster rock sway between his two organs fueling jams when your ear has been 'trey'd' by soprano gee-tar licks for 3 mins (not complaining)....________________________also, lastly agreed on his full-blown authentic happiness. see y'all in hampton.

Dire46daysWolf Fri 10/24/2008 08:36PM
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it is so good to see big red healthy and doing well. Killer set even though no "That's the way I Feel". Can't wait for the phish reunion.

GnarDogg Sat 10/25/2008 07:28AM
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Trey @ albany got a Bathtub Gin!

Harmonium Sat 10/25/2008 01:53PM
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"Time for the meatstick bury the meatstick take out the meatstick time. Wo Wo shocks my brain."

Not a great lyricist.

WidespreadPhanic Sun 10/26/2008 01:54PM
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Dude how can anyone say trey is not a good songwriter. He is a compositional genius. You go write You Enjoy Myself or Reba or the story of gamehenge or countless other awesome trey songs.

No he's a good lyricist but that's not the point of his music (besides he doesn't even write them, it's marshall, try hating on the right dude)

thehurricane23 Sun 10/26/2008 02:01PM
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Trey's never been a lyricist, that's why he has Tom Marshall. I got shut out this time on lottery tix but I've scored a Sunday already. Hampton demand will fall off once they announce the Big Cypress dates-week after Hampton (one can dream), or at least 5-10 dates in the NE (Boston, NYC, Philly). I hope Capshaw makes them play like 40 dates over the summer, he's a money grubber so it's likely we'll see a lot more shows than 03-04.

thehurricane23 Sun 10/26/2008 02:06PM
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And anyone who thinks Phish will have the largest money grossing tour ever are not too bright considering 2003. Shoreline/Gorge 03 was about 3/4 full at best, Utah had about 5000 people there, extras were everywhere at Deer Creek/Burgettstown. Scalpers are just inflating these tickets. I'd kill myself if I payed $300 to see Phish...

RedRocks88 Mon 10/27/2008 06:41AM
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Marketing scheme? No way! If it was money they were interested in, you are going to make a lot more of it in the four years of touring that they missed than in this upcoming tour, although it will certainly put up some big numbers.

Reggaehead Mon 10/27/2008 07:57PM
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Hey just to let everyone no Phish has the Air force Base in Maine reserved for 09

Nick1257 Tue 10/28/2008 11:25AM
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I laughed when someone referenced YEM in a category of good lyrics. Great song, and i love the words.... but is that song really a strong effort by the boys.

djacoustic starstarstarstarstar Tue 10/28/2008 12:17PM
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Here's my thought on the whole lyric thing:

One of the greatest song writers of all time once said (I am paraphrazing) "It doesn't matter what you say in a song lyricly. As long as the music is good and the lyrics fit and sound correct they can be anything about nothing." The man that said this was John Lennon. He tended to know what he was talking about and you would be a fool not to take those words to heart. And to all the people that feel it necessary to bitch about music on message boards: If you dont like it dont listen to it! And quit bothering all of us that are in this thing called music for the true meaning of it all - Fun! P.S. Trey playing Radiohead just goes to show you how awesome Radiohead is. Love that band and cant wait for Phish! And Trey, if you're on the road and your looking for your memories of home just remember...They are burried in an icy clump that lies beneath the ground!

Antelope49 Wed 10/29/2008 03:05PM
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beansavi, got my 3 day pass through TM...Don't know how I did it, but I got through....good fast internet connection I guess...

mtonin starstarstarstarstar Fri 10/31/2008 03:47AM
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A solid review Todd ... thanks for it! I've always enjoyed your writing, and hope to read more of your reviews here in the future. And I certainly hope to see Trey at some point in 2009, as it's been a while. Peace, Mark

cavemandan Wed 11/5/2008 04:34PM
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wow not meaning to hate but the sample song Knices Out is aweful! is this an inside joke nobody told me about? even if i did drugs i would need an overdose to even think this was good music....blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

goatman_H Thu 11/6/2008 08:18PM
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i wonder how many of you kiddies have seen phish in their heydey. don't be pissed you didn't get tickets for your one chance to be cool and finally say you've seen them. that shit was the greatest time of my life and im tired of hearing people compare them to seeing trey pay his fucking bills

brendan3 starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/12/2008 08:02AM
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anyone who had anything to do with the writing of meatstick is obviously one of the worlds greatest people. seriously people, PHISH is coming back. have fun red, gear up. see you all in hAMPTON!!!!