I’m sitting here doing absolutely nothing (though this is being published the following day) listening to the acoustic sets from the Trey Anastasio shows that were released on LivePhish (the audience recordings all have too much audience noise to properly hear the acoustic set). Anyway, I attended the Boston show as a very last minute decision (decided a couple hours before the show that I was going and managed to score a ticket for face value). It was a good decision. I have only seen Trey play solo acoustic once at the Newport Folk Festival a couple years ago. This show was different though. He seemed to be having more fun. The whole show was awesome, including the electric set. It was very loose and laid back, and I think it’ll have a good effect on Phish.
I’ve liked Phish and Trey for many years now. I’ve listened to them from all different eras and their current era is probably my favorite. There’s a kind of new life to them that you don’t get in some of the other eras. They’re all happy, healthy, and having fun. At the Trey show, you could tell that he was having a blast playing random songs that you wouldn’t expect in solo acoustic form, like Carini. Some of the others he’s played at the other shows are also odd choices, but work so well.
Even during the electric set, he has a lot of fun and, this time around, he’s letting the band take the lead a bit. He’s just playing along, letting them have some space. The band is much tighter than they were last year. What I like most, though, is that they’re keeping the jamming to a minimum and keeping it concise. I was never a big fan of long musical excursions with TAB, even as a 10 piece band, which is what happened. They’d play song for 15-20 minutes and it just seemed to go nowhere. Perhaps it was the drugs, but I just don’t think it was suited for the band and the style. This time, they’re playing much more loosely, but keeping things concise. Trey has a bunch of great bluesy jazzy tunes that are very fitting for the band and I hope to see some of the style come into Phish. The most impressive song, however, was Ocelot. It’s a relaxed Phish song, but with TAB, the tempo is increased a bit and it has a nice beat to it. Oh, and the horns… adding the horns to it blew me away. I’d like to see Phish take a stab at it.
As summer tour approaches, I’m hopeful that Phish will come back and be a bit more loose and relaxed. I think it will help their playing and the flow of their sets. I think this tour that Trey did will help him not take a huge lead in Phish. He’s the definite bandleader with TAB and pretty much the leader in Phish. But having taken a step back this time around with TAB, I think we’ll see four truly equal parts in Phish this summer. Mike going on tour right after Trey will do nothing but help him take the lead a bit this summer. It’s looking like the summer will be a good one for Phish. Here’s hoping they play some acoustic numbers, and maybe do an acoustic set at the heavily rumored festival at Watkins Glen.