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Trey Anastasio & Mike Gordon
w/ the Benevento/Russo Duo

Charter One Pavillion
July 20, 2006
Chicago, IL

I’ll be honest — I really tried to silence and supress all expectations going into Thursday night’s Trey Anastasio & Mike Gordon show. In the end, though, I wasn’t blown away as much as I would have hoped. If that’s the worst thing I can say about it, I guess I still saw a pretty good concert. It just really felt like Phish, Jr. to me — the nostalgia trip is something I’ve had very little tolerance for musically lately — and the moments of greatness were easily attributable to Cactus Gordon and The Duo. The new stuff.

I didn’t end up getting down to the venue until about 7:30pm or so, which unfortunately meant that I missed a pretty big portion of The Duo’s opening set. I did get in time to hear “9×9” and “Soba” to close the set — the end to “Soba” is just fantastic — and we quickly found one of the better spots in the venue.

There wasn’t any challenge to finding a seat, though. The venue wasn’t even close to sold-out, which always sorta depresses me, and it definitely reminded me of the Trey & 70VP show I saw there last year.

The house music drops, GRAB comes out, and a minute or two of feedback later finally reveals the first notes of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” — cleverly referencing the afternoon’s Cubs game that Trey through out the first pitch at — into “Host Across the Potomac.”

Right from the get-go it was clear that it was a Trey-lead show — he usually leads any band he lends his hand to — and it just didn’t sit well with me. The musical moments I enjoyed were the Gordon tunes, The Duo tunes — the moments where Trey had to take a backseat — and it seemed to envoke a similar reaction to the crowd in my direct proximity. Trey’s confidence was through the friggin’ roof and it just seems way too false to me right now. Wailing on a guitar solo during “Drifting” is just not covering new ground — this is not Trey in “classic” form — and it was in these moments where I felt the incredible urge to yawn and pack it up to head home.

Granted, with some new covers under their belt and some setlist switch-ups, they’re keeping the crowd guessing and that’s always good to see.

Maybe I’m on Trey burnout right now, but this is exactly what I did not want to happen when I saw that Trey, Mike and the Duo would be doing shows together. I wanted it to be the Benevento/Russo Duo with Mike Gordon & Trey — not the other way around. Maybe I just like the Duo a lot right now (read: I do). I dunno — it just didn’t do it for me on that night.

I’ll post some tracks once I can get them ripped down (download the torrent here) — the “Suskind Hotel” morphed into a fantastic jam, “Hap-Nappy” was more than fun, “Becky” (with Trey accenting perfectly) was beyond fantastic — but in the meantime you can sample some tracks from a recent GRAB show below. Again, these would be my highlights but you can easily grab the show from the PT forums or bt.etree.org.

I know some of you agree with me and some of you will not, but I just have a pessimistic feeling that this band will not bring back Phish nor that feeling that they gave me. I think I’m just a little “over it.”

Photo 7.20.06 © Trey.com


Setlist (link):

* Take Me Out To The Ballgame*
* Host Across The Potomac
* Hap-Nappy
* Coming Up Roses
* Drifting**
* Suskind Hotel
* Trouble
* Tuesday
* Becky
* Let Me Lie
* Goodbye Head
* You’ve Got Me Floating** >
* More Pretty Girls Than One >
* Poor Heart
* My Sweet One**
* On The Road Again
* Something For Rockets
* Who Are You

*{Encore]*

* Mud City**

Key:

* *performed instrumental with crowd singing along.
* **with “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” teases.

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