The Spark of Trey’s Solo Career

2.16.10 - NYC (J.Orsillo)

I still remember getting the analog tape in the Spring of ’98. It was labeled “8 Foot Fluorescent Tubes,” the moniker of some local Burlington musicians Trey had assembled to play a single show at Higher Ground, a club in their home town. His band featured Russ Lawton on drums, Tony Markelis (formerly of The Unknown Blues Band) on bass, Tom Lawson of the punk outfit The Pants on a second guitar, and Heloise Williams of viperHouse on vocals. Together they ran through a stripped down set of Trey’s unplayed solo material before many more musicians joined them as The Burlington All-Stars for a second half filled with covers . But in that first set, Trey’s solo career was born.

The first two songs on the analog tape were labeled “Bing-Bong” and “Wee,” both referencing musical elements of the songs themselves. “Bing Bong” alluded to the climactic and repetitive chord change at the peak of the the song (words also sung by Williams)—a piece that would transform into “First Tube.” “Wee” alluded to Trey’s siren loops that started at the beginning a heavy groove, one of the strongest parts in the show, that would soon be known as “Sand.”Also performed in the set were the debuts of “Free Thought,” which would later appear as “Mozambique,” and a “jam” that would evolve into “Last Tube.” In between these songs, all that soon morphed into polished staples of Trey’s solo act in 1999, the band played four other pieces including the punk-inspired “Silicone Fairy” and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”

Event Poster

The band’s sound that night in April 1998 was raw, as this was the one and only show The 8 Foot Fluorescent Tubes ever played together. But something was there. Trey liked what he heard so much that he plucked the band’s rhythm section of Markelis and Lawton and brought them into The Barn to jam, thus beginning the the power trio—the first incarnation of The Trey Anastasio Band. The trio soon made their debut at the Very Special Arts Vermont benefit at Higher Ground, but would come together in earnest a year later, hitting the road as The Trey Anastasio Band in May of ’99. Touring in the same acoustic/electric format of Trey’s upcoming winter run, the trio threw down extended second sets filled with sweltering dance fury, in what were, perhaps, the most spectacular shredding guitar showcases Trey has ever played. But a year before he ever hit the road as a solo act—a project that would balloon to an eleven-member ensemble before returning to a quartet in 2008—Trey’s solo career was sparked with one under-the-radar gig in Burlington, Vermont.

Here’s the original setlist:

I. Bing Bong, Wee, Free Thought, Mr. Green Man, Naturally to Blame, In the Mood, Silicone Fairy, Jam > Higher Ground

Here’s the translation:

I. First Tube, Sand, Mozambique, Meatman, Shame, In the Mood, Silicone Fairy, Last Tube > Higher Ground

4.17.98 – “First Tube” debut


Jam of the Day:

Ghost > She Caught the Katy” 7.21.98 II

Before Worcester’s recent bust-0ut, the last version of “She Caught the Katy” came out of Desert Sky Pavilion’s “Ghost” during the summer of ’98.




4.11.1991 The Cave, Carleton College – Northfield, Minnesota SBD

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Carleton College

Here’s another ’91 SBD, famous for Fishman’s telling of “The Prison Joke” during the encore, not to mention plenty of on point playing throughout.

I: Runaway Jim, Cavern, Paul and Silas, Tweezer, Magilla, Dinner and a Movie, Bouncing Around the Room, Foam, Carolina, You Enjoy Myself, The Squirming Coil, Chalk Dust Torture

II: My Sweet One, Reba, Llama, TMWSIY  > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY, The Lizards,Split Open and Melt, Lawn Boy, The Landlady > Destiny Unbound, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

E: Fee, HYHU > The Prison Joke > HYHU, Possum

Source: SBD

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567 Responses to “The Spark of Trey’s Solo Career”

  1. Leo Weaver Says:

    “my dream of dreams would be a late august, september run up the west coast”

    ^this! Just gotta get those dates before I overbook myself for this first leg

  2. jtran Says:


    Just figured they ended too far from early July but on second glance I’m wrong.

    How far after leg 1 was leg 2 announced last year?

  3. albert walker Says:

    great avatar SW

    that’s the pressing I have on Lightning Records from 1978

  4. William H. Bonney Says:

    As far as the south goes no one makes you live down here fellas. If you don’t like it why would you stay. Anyway the south is amazing Florida is my favorite east coast state and that is why I own property and live here. Also I do like Nascar so bring on the stereo types. Granted some work to be done to make it better here, but that is another story. If those dates hold on, will be first “hometown” show for my crew since 1995…so suffice to say we out stoked. BB’ers don’t sweat the south we got you covered. 🙂 I have gotta in and out of more trouble in GA. than NY on Phish tour. So you never know.

  5. BTB Says:

    Hit Riverbend in 2000 for that massive rain storm…shiver me timbers!

    Pumped to get some Southern Ohio PH!!!

  6. yematt Says:

    nice to hear! @ selectorJ
    taking the ferry to the show and back was pretty surreal.
    hotel>dock>ferry ride>phish show>ferry>
    and to do that for 2 nights would be $$$

  7. mitch Says:

    dag. south is a little defensive today. one too many tall boys in the mornin’

    sincerely yours,
    yankee doodle dandy

    p.s. i’d go see a show in the bluegrass state. dunno where they’d play tho. maybe at the maker’s distillery.

  8. Leo Weaver Says:

    Scratchin’ Disco Devil…always makes me want to spark a spliff on JA’s south coast.

  9. William H. Bonney Says:

    Of course half the Nascar drivers are from the west coast these days too….just sayin…

  10. SillyWilly Says:

    yeah, AW, i think you spun that for me at your crib one time.

    i just love that album

  11. Gratefulcub Says:

    Riverbed 2000. Not enough extra curriculars in the world to convince me I was having a good time, but we tried extremely hard.

  12. Gratefulcub Says:

    Zip it you fuckin’ Hoosier!!

  13. William H. Bonney Says:

    See now we would never do this down south. 🙂

  14. Leo Weaver Says:

    At the maker’s distillery? Sign me up! that is one awesome little slice of dirt.

  15. butter Says:

    thanks butterfly

    i bet those dates are close, remember last summer was all figured out with Radio City added on

    if they want to sell 75,000 tickets to the festi, those dates would be a good stategy

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    my dad, sister, and I were all born in Evansville, IN

    my mom was born in Owesboro, KY

    there were always some weird contradictions in our house

    but, everyone loves basketball

  17. gavinsdad Says:

    those dates are fuckin with my head.

    cept bethel, which is the shit.

    leg 2 in Aug?

    if they push on announcing longer they’re gonna have to announce legs 1 and 2. no way these dudes are in the studio all together in Aug.

  18. willowed Says:

    I would like that Bethel – Spac run

    Camden can suck a dick. that place is the dregs.

    Sorry if you live in Camden.

  19. butter Says:

    i prefer formula un

  20. Chuck sweD Says:

    driving nascar and watching nascar are entirely different animals.

  21. gavinsdad Says:

    my folks are in WPB, FL. make that a 2 pack and i’m there.

  22. jtran Says:

    No alpine or deer creek means there has to be a leg 2?

  23. mitch Says:

    “Zip it you fuckin’ Hoosier!!”

    ^heh. 😯 8)

  24. butter Says:

    yes, that’s what August is for jtran 😉

  25. gavinsdad Says:

    willowed i’m two towns away. and you know camden is 2 pack status. flip that 1 camden and the 2 mpps and that’s more like it.

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