Last Saturday’s Trey Anstasio Band concert at the Palace Theatre in Albany sold out in a flash. No surprise…
After all, it’s the side-project band of the voice and guitarist of perennial jam-band poster boys Phish. However, the Trey Anastasio Band is no mere clone of the mother band. Yes, it’s Anastasio’s voice and patented guitar licks that lead the charge, but this is clearly his band – and that makes all the difference.
In the past, Anastasio’s solo projects have pushed musical boundaries, embraced pop and jazz sensibilities and even delved into classical chamber and symphonic turf. TAB, however, is a jam-band at heart – but with lots more soul, if you take time to listen to the lyrics.
There was no opening act, and this time out Anastasio split the show between an hour-long acoustic set and a longer, jam-filled, horn-fueled electric set.
Strapping on his acoustic hollow-body guitar, Anastasio cracked a broad smile at the roaring crowd that was piling up in front of the stage. Launching his first set with a heart-warming rendition of “Free,” the audience was soon singing along with the tune. Eventually, all the band members joined him on the stage building momentum to an exquisite finish with, yes, that’s right, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
When the TAB assembled for the second set the crowd was thicker than molasses rolling down the isles and spilling over to the sides of the stage. Cell phone and pocket cameras were shooting off pop flashes while Anastasio looked left and right at his team with the intensity of a baseball pitcher on the mound before the throw. From the first chord of “Money Love and Change,” the band was in the groove with metronome-like accuracy and a big, fat sound.
Saratoga’s own Tony Markellis cradled the electric bass while his fingers effortlessly flew up and down the fret board. Ray Paczkowski’s fingers jumped all around the keyboard stack while drummer Russ Lawton’s sticks pounded the drums with finesse and power.
The triple horn section of trombonist and back-up vocalist Natalie Cressman, trumpeter and second back-up vocalist Jennifer Hartswick and sax man Russell Remington blew energetic accents all night that punctuated the melody line and helped propel the band to mesmerizing jams that Sly Stone would have been proud of.
Though the internet is full of TAB concert outings, the band put together “TAB At The TAB” for concert-goers that want to take a piece of the sound home with them. Recorded a year ago in Atlanta, Georgia, it wonderfully captures the passion and the energy of Anastasio and company.
With dancing in the aisles, lots of beer and smoke filling the house, it was the closest the fans will get to an outdoor TAB or Phish concert in the dead of winter.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Andy Maroney’s review at AdvantageSound.com
A download of this concert is available at LivePhish.com.
THE TREY ANASTASIO BAND SET LIST
(solo acoustic set… mostly)
Backwards Down The Number Line
Limb by Limb
Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan
Wading in the Velvet Sea (with Jen and Natalie on vocals)
Black (with Ray on piano; Jen and Natalie on vocals)
Valentine (full band)
The Devil Went Down to Georgia (full band)
Money Love and Change
Night Speaks to a Woman
Sweet and Dandy
The Way I Feel
Push on ‘Til The Day
*first time played, Gorillaz cover