On Saturday, I had gone to CT to see Trey and Classic TAB at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford. Because of a new hookup from my cousin, I had great seats, about 6 rows back. I had seen bands from that close before, but never a Phish-related band. The seats were great.
Upon arrival, there wasn’t a large lot scene that I could see. We had driven by around 6 to meet my cousin at a bar in downtown Wallingford and there was no one at the Oakdale yet. When we go back to the Oakdale around 7:15, the lot was pretty full, but there wasn’t a large scene. So we headed in.
We grabbed a beer and headed to our seats. The Oakdale is a pretty nice theatre, though it was the largest venue scheduled for Trey’s tour. It wasn’t a sold out show, but the vibe inside felt as if it had been sold out. The crowd was excited and Trey was visibly happy to be there. In fact, he had mentioned it was one of his favorite rooms. I could tell why. The sound in the room was perfect. We were low below the speakers and the sound was still excellent. This is a major contrast to the last time I saw TAB at Lupo’s. The sound there tends to be too loud, making it difficult to pick out the different instruments. The Oakdale had a nice warm sound to it.
He opened the show with “Alive Again” and it was clear the show was gonna be a good one. Everyone was playing at the top of their game. The next song was “Shine”. This is a song that I had previously only heard played by 70 Volt Parade. The song was horrible then. It was just way too much of a pop song. The horns added a nice element to it and made the song really sparkle (pun intended). After the new song “All that Almost Was”, he dedicated the next song to Natalie’s (the trombonist) great-grandmother who was in the audience, and they played “Mozambique”. You could tell the band was well rehearsed and didn’t just get on stage and wing it (which was how 70 Volt Parade always sounded). They followed that with my favorite TAB song, “Push On Til The day”. They really played this one strong and jammed it out a bit. Other highlights from the first set were “Sand”, “Alaska”, and “Liquid Time”, which really sounded great with the flute. I can’t wait for Phish to play this one. They closed the set with a song he said he was playing for his friend, Steve Pollack, aka the Dude of Life. He had written the song with Trey, but had never heard it performed. The song was “Show of Life”, which was another great song and could become a great Phish tune as well. It ended a long 90 minute set.
The second set opened with “Cayman Review”, followed by “Gotta Jibboo”. The band was nailing everything. They played “The Birdwatcher”, a barbershop tune from Phish’s Party Time album. They then went to “Love is Freedom” which segued to “Simple Twist-up Dave”, keeping up the energy. After calming things down a bit for “Flock of Words” and the nice groove of “Drifting”, they closed the set with “First Tube”. We knew we’d get a great encore. They came back and Trey explained how curfews worked and why there would sometimes be a three minute encore. He then said that wasn’t going to happen this night and it didn’t. The triple encore included “At the Gazebo”, “Valentine”, and “Dragonfly”.
Trey was visibly excited to be there throughout the whole show and didn’t seem to want the night to end. But, as with all good things, the night had come to an end. It was a very strong show and reminded me why I love Trey and TAB so much. This smaller incarnation of the band is really what he needs to stick with. Things started to get out of hand with the 10 piece band. It was almost too much going on to really get it. It’s also nice that he’s able to play the smaller venues. I had seen his bigger band at Great Woods during Phish’s hiatus. While it made sense that he played a venue that big, the music and the band really weren’t fit for such a large venue. For a band that’s full of just fun music, they need a smaller venue where they can be closer to the whole audience.
Unfortunately, the scene outside after the show was pretty bad. There were nitrous tanks and balloons everywhere. We made our way to the car and headed out.