Trey Anastasio & Classic TAB In Fine Form At Brooklyn Finale

Ryan Storm recaps the final night of the quartet’s three-show run at Brooklyn Steel.

By Ryan Storm May 24, 2024 3:51 pm PDT

Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB closed a mid-week trio of shows at Brooklyn Steel last night, continuing this tour’s trend of adventurous jamming, awe-inspiring interplay and excellent song selection.

The three-hour show drew from all corners of the Phish and TAB catalogs, mixing in tried-and-true classics with newer songs.

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The first set kicked off with a romp through “Party Time,” setting a positive vibe that let the band get warmed up before a nearly 17-minute “A Wave of Hope.” The jam began at a brisk pace, keyboardist leading the way initially with some slippery leads on organ while Anastasio peppered in envelope-filtered guitar stabs, toying with a riff similar to “Moby Dick” in the first moments.

A typical opportunity for the jam to wrap up came after a fiery initial peak, but Anastasio had other ideas and led the quartet into a second vein of improvisation, sinking into a darker zone atop bassist Dezron Douglas‘ thick tone. The guitarist began to build insistently with excellent use of reverse delay and then thick wah work. The minor-key zone continued over the rock-steady pocket of drummer Russ Lawton as Anastasio and Paczkowski battled each other’s leads and hit a frenzied second peak to close out the jam.


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Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB (See 12 videos)

“All Pretending” offered a nice breather and showcased the excellent vocal harmonies of Douglas and Paczkowski before the next extended jam of the set came in “Gotta Jibboo.” Organ took the lead once again, showing off Paczkowski’s late-tour confidence and form – the keyboardist has been gradually increasing his leadership in jams as this TAB tour has gone on. “Jibboo,” being one of the oldest songs in the TAB songbook, has fallen victim to some shorter and less impressive versions in recent years — and last night it felt like Anastasio was committed to extending the groove for longer than is typical these days.

Around the six-minute mark, Douglas broke from his repeating groove to lock in with Anastasio on a riff that would inform the next segment of the jam as the guitarist built off the funky hook. Once again displaying patience and incredible late-tour form, Anastasio extended the jam for several minutes of sustained peaking before returning home.


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Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB (See 12 videos)

Another amazing part of this Classic TAB tour has been the utilization of acoustic guitar. Rather than just being confined to solo numbers in the encore, Anastasio has used it in various spots throughout the show to highlight slower tunes. I was elated as the band began “Shade” in this format, the acoustic guitar lending extra emotion to the ballad.

“Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan” swung in next with a stellar pocket from Douglas and Lawton, and we were once again treated to some excellent interplay between Anastasio and Paczkowski throughout the jam.

The reggae-tinged “Where They’ll Find Us” gave way to a pairing of “Twist” and “About to Run” to close out the first set, both songs boasting some incredibly confident guitar work from Anastasio.

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“Blaze On” began the second frame and immediately picked up where the first set had left off, Paczkowski infusing jazzy piano chords into the bouncy jam. Quiet loops from Anastasio created texture as the music began to push at the boundaries of “Blaze On” proper, threatening to escape into the first Type II moment of the night.

Resisting the pull of the unknown, the quartet stayed anchored in the groove and touched on a number of different riffs for the remainder of the 16-minute set opener, displaying remarkable fluidity from one idea to the next before returning home to close.

“Plasma” featured another ambitious jam that began with a “Mind Left Body”-like descending progression from Paczkowski as he utilized a very percussive organ tone to dance around Anastasio’s rhythm work, eventually building to a screaming delay-fueled peak across nearly 15 minutes.

“Machine” and “Alaska” continued the set with some solid renditions before an unusually improvisational “I Never Needed You Like This Before” opened up into some fast-paced exploration courtesy of Anastasio’s synth effects.

“Quantegy” made its second appearance of the tour and gave an incredible psychedelic cooldown ahead of an electric “46 Days” to close out the set — Anastasio went absolutely wild on this one.


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Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB (See 12 videos)

A standard pairing of “A Life Beyond the Dream” and “First Tube” closed out the encore and the run, sending the capacity crowd out into the night incredibly happy – whether you caught one or all three of the Brooklyn shows, it’s hard not to be excited about how TAB is playing right now.

If the current state of Anastasio’s guitar playing in both confidence and chops, is any indication for what Phish tour is going to sound like this summer, we are in for it.

Trey & Classic TAB performs at Boston Calling tomorrow to finish their spring tour.

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Trey Anastasio & Classic TAB

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Setlist (via Phish.net)

Set One: Party Time, A Wave of Hope, All Pretending, Gotta Jibboo, Shade [1], Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Where They’ll Find Us, Twist, About to Run

Set Two: Blaze On, Plasma, Machine, Alaska, I Never Needed You Like This Before, Quantegy > 46 Days

Encore: A Life Beyond The Dream, First Tube

[1] Trey on acoustic. Shade featured Trey on acoustic.
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