Dennis Cook on Trey Anastasio’s Warfield (night #1)

Believe me, I’m all for not talking about Trey Anastasio right now. I skipped the show in Dekalb for a reason, even considering that I would have liked to have seen Tea Leaf Green for the first time. I’m sure anyone reading this blog knows (and some have mentioned) that we write about Phish a lot. And, obviously, that means we’ve done a hell of a lot of writing about Trey Anastasio. A lot, and in hindsight, probably a lot more than I actually would have liked to have published.

At any rate, I’ve had plenty of mixed feelings lately about what I keep reading about Trey, Shine, 70 Volt Parade, Skeeto, whatever. This latest show review from last weekend’s Warfield outburst/Grateful Dead jam session definitely struck me in a few spots. Good stuff.

Unfortunately, in a world where My Morning Jacket and the Mars Volta are blowing minds nightly, it’s hard to regard Trey as anything but what he is presently – a middle-of-the-road legend coasting on his rep while trying to get into the mainstream.

I seriously have to agree with that right now. He gets all pissed at people when he gets s*** on while being the posterboy for the drug-induced Phish breakup, and yet he’s still doing crazy interviews and AIM chat sessions. I don’t see Mike Gordon talking about it. I know Page has declined interviews. I just have to agree with this one right now, and maybe it’s because I didn’t see this latest tour. It just seems to me that this is so clearly another case of The Police -> Sting situation that I’d hate to see happen to any other group I’ve held so dear.

Hall is the weak link here. His playing might be described as so subtle as to be absent much of the time. I kept trying to figure out what he was adding to the mix and frequently found myself scratching my head.

I felt the same way when I saw Trey and 70VP at Northerly Island in Chicago.

How good is this new drug Trey is offering? Not that good really. When the first things that come to mind about a band are stamina and confidence, not emotional content or musical inspiration, it’s not a positive sign.

Yeah, very well-said if you ask me. That’s a very good point.

Again, good stuff. I was glad to see that he wasn’t filled with the same optimism that a lot of other people are about this, especially considering the quality of the music Trey’s putting out right now.

Read the whole review here.

15 COMMENTS

  1. You guys have it all wrong. I’ve been seeing Phish for over a decade, and I’ll admit that seeing Trey is not the same as seeing Phish in their prime, but I think its a result of getting older, not the music. I was at the first Warfield show, and I thought it rocked. Lots of energy, great jams, great song selection. People need to get off the Trey hating bandwagon…the guy is still the same old Red Beard we have loved for years. He still rips, period.

  2. You guys have it all wrong. I’ve been seeing Phish for over a decade, and I’ll admit that seeing Trey is not the same as seeing Phish in their prime, but I think its a result of getting older, not the music. I was at the first Warfield show, and I thought it rocked. Lots of energy, great jams, great song selection. People need to get off the Trey hating bandwagon…the guy is still the same old Red Beard we have loved for years. He still rips, period.

  3. You guys have it all wrong. I’ve been seeing Phish for over a decade, and I’ll admit that seeing Trey is not the same as seeing Phish in their prime, but I think its a result of getting older, not the music. I was at the first Warfield show, and I thought it rocked. Lots of energy, great jams, great song selection. People need to get off the Trey hating bandwagon…the guy is still the same old Red Beard we have loved for years. He still rips, period.

  4. I thought the review sucked. He mentions he never got Phish then goes on to detail how he thinks Trey’s personal life is affecting the music. All of the sudden the guy is an expert on all things Phish.

    I love watching Trey play guitar, always have always will. He still lays down amazing solos and jams every night.

    The reviewers main issue was too much noodling, he never liked Phish and the bands he listens to don’t really improvise. Of course he didn’t like the show.

  5. I thought the review sucked. He mentions he never got Phish then goes on to detail how he thinks Trey’s personal life is affecting the music. All of the sudden the guy is an expert on all things Phish.

    I love watching Trey play guitar, always have always will. He still lays down amazing solos and jams every night.

    The reviewers main issue was too much noodling, he never liked Phish and the bands he listens to don’t really improvise. Of course he didn’t like the show.

  6. I thought the review sucked. He mentions he never got Phish then goes on to detail how he thinks Trey’s personal life is affecting the music. All of the sudden the guy is an expert on all things Phish.

    I love watching Trey play guitar, always have always will. He still lays down amazing solos and jams every night.

    The reviewers main issue was too much noodling, he never liked Phish and the bands he listens to don’t really improvise. Of course he didn’t like the show.

  7. I’ve read that review over and over about 6 times now, and the guy seems liking he’s ripping on Trey for the sake of ripping on Trey. I’ve seen Trey once with his solo band in 2002, both Alpine Phish shows in 2004, Three times at Vegoose (Trey, Dave & Friends, Widespread), and most recently at the Dekalb NIU show with 70 Volt Parade. The only time I’ve ever felt he was off was when he seemed hammered at Alpine (but then again so was I) and during his acoustic set at Vegoose, which dragged a little for me despite the incredible “Waste” with Jen Hartswick. His show at NIU – which I was proud to take my 14yr old sister to as her first show – had all the energy I expected from Trey, a great synergy with the crowd, and a good selection of tracks. Frankly I thought Shine was a great record, and it was probably because I went into it expecting something short, sweet, and to the point; I don’t see how you could think it would be anything other than that after seeing Farmhouse, Round Room, and Undermind. If you can get a copy of his Vegoose show and listen to what he says to the crowd during the solo acoustic set I think people would really appreciate what he’s doing more, I mean the man nearly started crying on stage. Anyways, as much as I would love to see Phish again considering I never saw any of the 90’s shows, this is what the guys doing now, people need to stop and realize it’s not supposed to be the same stuff Phish did.

    P.S. I will say…. I also frankly don’t see a point to Les Hall, either. I’ve seen what Trey can do with other guitarists (Vegoose with Dave & Tim Reynolds and later with Widespread) and it’s just not that great with Les. Sorry for the length, I’ll probably end up posting this on my site, too, lol. Thanks for the site comments man, I did the whole thing in one imsomnia-fueled binge a couple nights ago.

  8. I’ve read that review over and over about 6 times now, and the guy seems liking he’s ripping on Trey for the sake of ripping on Trey. I’ve seen Trey once with his solo band in 2002, both Alpine Phish shows in 2004, Three times at Vegoose (Trey, Dave & Friends, Widespread), and most recently at the Dekalb NIU show with 70 Volt Parade. The only time I’ve ever felt he was off was when he seemed hammered at Alpine (but then again so was I) and during his acoustic set at Vegoose, which dragged a little for me despite the incredible “Waste” with Jen Hartswick. His show at NIU – which I was proud to take my 14yr old sister to as her first show – had all the energy I expected from Trey, a great synergy with the crowd, and a good selection of tracks. Frankly I thought Shine was a great record, and it was probably because I went into it expecting something short, sweet, and to the point; I don’t see how you could think it would be anything other than that after seeing Farmhouse, Round Room, and Undermind. If you can get a copy of his Vegoose show and listen to what he says to the crowd during the solo acoustic set I think people would really appreciate what he’s doing more, I mean the man nearly started crying on stage. Anyways, as much as I would love to see Phish again considering I never saw any of the 90’s shows, this is what the guys doing now, people need to stop and realize it’s not supposed to be the same stuff Phish did.

    P.S. I will say…. I also frankly don’t see a point to Les Hall, either. I’ve seen what Trey can do with other guitarists (Vegoose with Dave & Tim Reynolds and later with Widespread) and it’s just not that great with Les. Sorry for the length, I’ll probably end up posting this on my site, too, lol. Thanks for the site comments man, I did the whole thing in one imsomnia-fueled binge a couple nights ago.

  9. I’ve read that review over and over about 6 times now, and the guy seems liking he’s ripping on Trey for the sake of ripping on Trey. I’ve seen Trey once with his solo band in 2002, both Alpine Phish shows in 2004, Three times at Vegoose (Trey, Dave & Friends, Widespread), and most recently at the Dekalb NIU show with 70 Volt Parade. The only time I’ve ever felt he was off was when he seemed hammered at Alpine (but then again so was I) and during his acoustic set at Vegoose, which dragged a little for me despite the incredible “Waste” with Jen Hartswick. His show at NIU – which I was proud to take my 14yr old sister to as her first show – had all the energy I expected from Trey, a great synergy with the crowd, and a good selection of tracks. Frankly I thought Shine was a great record, and it was probably because I went into it expecting something short, sweet, and to the point; I don’t see how you could think it would be anything other than that after seeing Farmhouse, Round Room, and Undermind. If you can get a copy of his Vegoose show and listen to what he says to the crowd during the solo acoustic set I think people would really appreciate what he’s doing more, I mean the man nearly started crying on stage. Anyways, as much as I would love to see Phish again considering I never saw any of the 90’s shows, this is what the guys doing now, people need to stop and realize it’s not supposed to be the same stuff Phish did.

    P.S. I will say…. I also frankly don’t see a point to Les Hall, either. I’ve seen what Trey can do with other guitarists (Vegoose with Dave & Tim Reynolds and later with Widespread) and it’s just not that great with Les. Sorry for the length, I’ll probably end up posting this on my site, too, lol. Thanks for the site comments man, I did the whole thing in one imsomnia-fueled binge a couple nights ago.

  10. I think Dennis makes some great points here–he really articulated a couple thoughts that I’ve never been able to put down on paper. (including that Mars Volta/MMJ comment)

    For me, I’m just not impressed and I think the review was a great way to describe that feeling. The show this summer at Northerly Island was a ghost-town and those in attendence were feeding their nostalgic itch (myself included).

    If you listened to Shine off the shelf, got past the unbelievably bulls*** DRM-crippler preinstalled, and had no Trey Anastasio history inside you (including the Phish side), you would NOT have gone to a two-night run at the Warfield. I’m sorry, but I just going on a serious hunch that it’s true.

    I don’t know, it just seems that everything about this, especially his mini-acoustic sets–they’re all aimed and pleasing our inner Bathtub Gin singalongs and feeding our nostalgic itch. This is not new musical territory being chartered regardless of how much his guitar solos continue to rage on audiences–I mean, haven’t we all seen this before?

  11. I think Dennis makes some great points here–he really articulated a couple thoughts that I’ve never been able to put down on paper. (including that Mars Volta/MMJ comment)

    For me, I’m just not impressed and I think the review was a great way to describe that feeling. The show this summer at Northerly Island was a ghost-town and those in attendence were feeding their nostalgic itch (myself included).

    If you listened to Shine off the shelf, got past the unbelievably bulls*** DRM-crippler preinstalled, and had no Trey Anastasio history inside you (including the Phish side), you would NOT have gone to a two-night run at the Warfield. I’m sorry, but I just going on a serious hunch that it’s true.

    I don’t know, it just seems that everything about this, especially his mini-acoustic sets–they’re all aimed and pleasing our inner Bathtub Gin singalongs and feeding our nostalgic itch. This is not new musical territory being chartered regardless of how much his guitar solos continue to rage on audiences–I mean, haven’t we all seen this before?

  12. I think Dennis makes some great points here–he really articulated a couple thoughts that I’ve never been able to put down on paper. (including that Mars Volta/MMJ comment)

    For me, I’m just not impressed and I think the review was a great way to describe that feeling. The show this summer at Northerly Island was a ghost-town and those in attendence were feeding their nostalgic itch (myself included).

    If you listened to Shine off the shelf, got past the unbelievably bulls*** DRM-crippler preinstalled, and had no Trey Anastasio history inside you (including the Phish side), you would NOT have gone to a two-night run at the Warfield. I’m sorry, but I just going on a serious hunch that it’s true.

    I don’t know, it just seems that everything about this, especially his mini-acoustic sets–they’re all aimed and pleasing our inner Bathtub Gin singalongs and feeding our nostalgic itch. This is not new musical territory being chartered regardless of how much his guitar solos continue to rage on audiences–I mean, haven’t we all seen this before?

  13. First off it seems extremely difficult to find someone picking up Trey without any phish experience and going straight to a show. Not saying I haven’t done it with tons of bands, but those bands weren’t led by Trey.

    As far as the damn DRM bs with the CD’s, I won’t lie, I downloaded the CD a month early so I wouldn’t have to wait and I supported him by going to the shows. Sony be damned, they’re not getting any more of my money than I really need to spend. Not that anyone needs to spend money on Sony’s crap.

    I see what you’re saying with the mini-acoustic sets. I feel like a few of the tracks are aimed at appeasing the masses so to say. They are a new take on the songs, though, doing them solo acoustic rather than having the band pump them out every night. That would feel much more nostalgic to me, like they were just there to play the classics. Also I enjoy the acoustic, but it’s really a buzzkill on my dancing.

    For awhile I thought his sets were rather repetitive as well, four tracks of Shine, three of Trey Anastasio, two or three Phish tracks with the band, and a Phish solo acoustic set seems to be the standard 70Volt show. But on the other hand he’s played what? 30 shows with these guys? They just changed drummers, and how often have these Phish tracks had Horn arrangements? If they sound like they do now in a year, I’ll completely concede that the band should go the way of a fun little experiment and end, but right now as I watch the tour progress from the week of Halloween when I saw them twice, the band seems to be integrating more T.A. disc songs, more Phish songs, and getting comfortable with a lot more covers. I mention this to point out they seem to be progressing together, not just sticking in the same mold that they were in for the first 15-20 shows.

    Anywho, screw it, within the next month or two I’ll be seeing Keller/Umph’s/Groovatron/Moe./Bisco and god knows what else. God I can’t wait. BTW after the Bisco/Moe. show Groovatron is playing at a club across the street from Aragon. I was talking to the band after their Canopy show, they mentioned it to me. Those February dates haven’t shown up on their site yet. That’s going to be a good Friday for sure.

  14. First off it seems extremely difficult to find someone picking up Trey without any phish experience and going straight to a show. Not saying I haven’t done it with tons of bands, but those bands weren’t led by Trey.

    As far as the damn DRM bs with the CD’s, I won’t lie, I downloaded the CD a month early so I wouldn’t have to wait and I supported him by going to the shows. Sony be damned, they’re not getting any more of my money than I really need to spend. Not that anyone needs to spend money on Sony’s crap.

    I see what you’re saying with the mini-acoustic sets. I feel like a few of the tracks are aimed at appeasing the masses so to say. They are a new take on the songs, though, doing them solo acoustic rather than having the band pump them out every night. That would feel much more nostalgic to me, like they were just there to play the classics. Also I enjoy the acoustic, but it’s really a buzzkill on my dancing.

    For awhile I thought his sets were rather repetitive as well, four tracks of Shine, three of Trey Anastasio, two or three Phish tracks with the band, and a Phish solo acoustic set seems to be the standard 70Volt show. But on the other hand he’s played what? 30 shows with these guys? They just changed drummers, and how often have these Phish tracks had Horn arrangements? If they sound like they do now in a year, I’ll completely concede that the band should go the way of a fun little experiment and end, but right now as I watch the tour progress from the week of Halloween when I saw them twice, the band seems to be integrating more T.A. disc songs, more Phish songs, and getting comfortable with a lot more covers. I mention this to point out they seem to be progressing together, not just sticking in the same mold that they were in for the first 15-20 shows.

    Anywho, screw it, within the next month or two I’ll be seeing Keller/Umph’s/Groovatron/Moe./Bisco and god knows what else. God I can’t wait. BTW after the Bisco/Moe. show Groovatron is playing at a club across the street from Aragon. I was talking to the band after their Canopy show, they mentioned it to me. Those February dates haven’t shown up on their site yet. That’s going to be a good Friday for sure.

  15. First off it seems extremely difficult to find someone picking up Trey without any phish experience and going straight to a show. Not saying I haven’t done it with tons of bands, but those bands weren’t led by Trey.

    As far as the damn DRM bs with the CD’s, I won’t lie, I downloaded the CD a month early so I wouldn’t have to wait and I supported him by going to the shows. Sony be damned, they’re not getting any more of my money than I really need to spend. Not that anyone needs to spend money on Sony’s crap.

    I see what you’re saying with the mini-acoustic sets. I feel like a few of the tracks are aimed at appeasing the masses so to say. They are a new take on the songs, though, doing them solo acoustic rather than having the band pump them out every night. That would feel much more nostalgic to me, like they were just there to play the classics. Also I enjoy the acoustic, but it’s really a buzzkill on my dancing.

    For awhile I thought his sets were rather repetitive as well, four tracks of Shine, three of Trey Anastasio, two or three Phish tracks with the band, and a Phish solo acoustic set seems to be the standard 70Volt show. But on the other hand he’s played what? 30 shows with these guys? They just changed drummers, and how often have these Phish tracks had Horn arrangements? If they sound like they do now in a year, I’ll completely concede that the band should go the way of a fun little experiment and end, but right now as I watch the tour progress from the week of Halloween when I saw them twice, the band seems to be integrating more T.A. disc songs, more Phish songs, and getting comfortable with a lot more covers. I mention this to point out they seem to be progressing together, not just sticking in the same mold that they were in for the first 15-20 shows.

    Anywho, screw it, within the next month or two I’ll be seeing Keller/Umph’s/Groovatron/Moe./Bisco and god knows what else. God I can’t wait. BTW after the Bisco/Moe. show Groovatron is playing at a club across the street from Aragon. I was talking to the band after their Canopy show, they mentioned it to me. Those February dates haven’t shown up on their site yet. That’s going to be a good Friday for sure.

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