Trey Anastasio Band launches new programming in Maine: recap, setlist and photos

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TAB’s first show after Tony Markellis’ death featured his replacement Dezron Douglas and Cochemea Gastelum replacing saxophonist James Casey.

By Robert Ker Sep 18, 2021 • 8:45 a.m. PDT

Despite a reputation as road dogs, the Trey Anastasio Band may have actually upgraded their stock during the 2020-21 live music shutdown. This past fall, Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio brought comfort and community to our living rooms for eight Friday nights with the inspired virtual residence “The Beacon Jams”. TAB also released the live album Burn it, which served as their largest statement of intent since the 2002 Trey Anastasio album.

TAB returned to the road – perhaps rightly on a Friday night – at Thompson’s Point, Portland, Maine, with some notable changes to their lineup. TAB’s founding bassist Tony Markellis passed away earlier this year and was replaced by contemporary jazz great Dezron Douglas (seriously, check out his work as a conductor or with Brandee Younger or Makaya McCraven). Regular saxophonist James-Casey recently announced he is undergoing cancer treatment, and he was replaced for this tour by Cochemea Gastelum, who is best known for his work with Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.

The group opened with “First Tube”, the song that closed “The Beacon Jams”, in a show that picked up the general vibe of this residence (as well as the live performances of January 2020), with the full catalog of Anastasio explored in a playful way. and fleshed out by the Trey Anastasio Band, including classic TAB songs, surprising appearances from Phish compositions, solo material, tracks from Ghosts Of The Forest, and mutt songs with origins across projects.

“Alive Again,” the first extended jam of the evening, arrived in the second slot, with Trey happy to play rhythm guitar over Latin percussion as the brass section took turns with solos. This was followed by two songs from Phish: Jeff Holdsworth’s composition “Camel Walk”, with its tightly wound TAB arrangement, and “Ocelot”, which boasted of a Douglas swing bassline and a bass section. extensive improvisation. “Ocelot” was also the first song to really feature the other novelty of this TAB tour: Trey’s new guitar and rig, which helped ignite some of Phish’s most inspired pieces in years when they were released. recent summer tour.

The relatively new reggae number “Love is What We Are” and the instrumental “Olivia” continued the set, followed by “Set Your Soul Free”. Even though this latter song has served as a launching pad for some of Phish’s stellar excursions in recent years, it increasingly sounds like a TAB song, in nature by how well Ray Paczkowski’s chorus and carnival organ do. of the compound part such a natural fit for them. The blues “Dark And Down”, the Latin instrumental “Mozambique” and “Rise / Come Together” closed the set.

Like many Phish concerts in the summer of 2021, the show peaked in the first half of the second set. “Everything’s Right” began with the longest jam of the evening, as Trey continued his exceptional summer play and, on a stage drenched in fog and color, took the jam to more and more ground. psychedelic. After a one-man “Drums / Space” (and flutes and sounds of birds) by Cyro Baptista, the group came to “Gotta Jibboo”, to the delight of the audience.

“Curlew’s Call”, with its intricate web of rhythms and melodies, kept the momentum going. Trey splashed a range of his new effects onto the furious Russ Lawton drums, who also had more time to solo by the end of the song. “Ether Sunday” then offered trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick a chance to take center stage for a crowd favorite solo on a subtle and spacious bass played by longtime friend and classmate Douglas.

The deeply funky “Burlap Sack and Pumps” put Gastelum in the spotlight, and he delivered some of the evening’s gnarliest plays, approaching free jazz in the song’s established structure. After the song, Trey sent his love and wishes to Casey.

Finally, the set ended with three more songs from Phish: a robust and moving rework of “The Moma Dance”, the muscular new rock number (from Trey’s solo album in 2020). Lonely journey) “I’ve never needed you like this before”, and a version of the must-have Phish “Twist”. They then kissed with “A Life Beyond the Dream” from Ghosts of the Forest and the Sparkle– pop era of “Tuesday”.

While no one can truly replace the great Tony Markellis and his contributions to Trey’s musical orbit, Douglas admirably honored his legacy in his first TAB performance by setting up a camp in a deep and powerful pocket with Lawton and Baptista, all while bringing its own personality to the Material. It was especially exciting to hear Douglas’ unique phrasing of Mike Gordon’s iconic basslines in songs like “The Moma Dance” and “Twist”.

And for his part, Trey’s game was as strong and clean as it was with Phish this summer. The tour and the new era of TAB started off on a sparkling note.

Set One: First Tube, Alive Again, Camel Walk, Ocelot, Love Is What We Are, Olivia, Free your soul, Dark and Down, Mozambique, Rise / Come Together

Series Two: Tout va bien> Gotta Jibboo> Curlew’s Call, Ether Sunday, Burlap Sack and Pumps, The Moma Dance, I’ve never needed you like this before, Twist

Again: A life beyond dreams> Tuesday


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