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. BTB Says:

    I saw TAB at Boneroo in 05 and he was sub par. I believe it was his “70 Volt” experiment if I recall. I enjoyed my 1st and only Roo experience, but I’m never doing it again.

    In general, i don’t really like jam bands or pop music. I wouldn’t mind catching Arcade Fire / Decemberists / Stokes just to check them out.

  2. GuyForget Says:

    I believe the original title was “Bing Bong”…wonder why. This was one of those shows that when you read the setlist in the late 90’s, saw nothing of Phish significance, you kind of closed your browser and moved on. No streaming of a audio file or video link, most people were maybe exposed to it in June of 98 by the time the DAT’s were even on line. Smack dab in front of the Phish 98 summer tour. It really took until 5/99 for most to hear his solo shit, which when you hear Heloise belt out her vocals, you wonder why she was never added to the mix on tour.

    Great piece today.

  3. jtran Says:

    Cool article Miner.

    Morning BB. On my way back to VT today

  4. lastwaltzer Says:


    thats why it used to be so hot though, there was so much more than pop and jam band shit. It really used to be a bit of everything.

    04′ trey show was sick. The orchestra set in the rain was surreal and the electric set was HOT HOT HOT

  5. BTB Says:

    Waltzer – I wish I had seen that 04 TAB show. Listened to it – $$$

  6. lastwaltzer Says:


    it really is amazing how quickly trey’s solo career tanked. I remember being excited for trey’s solo career following the break up because of how hot those shows were…………little did we know.

  7. BTB Says:

    70 Volt’d – I have to go back and look at how many TAB shows I caught after PH disolved. I hit a hot show back in 03 I think.

    Nothing tops Oysterhead – best piece of non-PH material, IMO.

  8. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Gotta say the ‘roo lineup looks mildly interesting as there ar esome artists on th elist that I would like to see and have not yet. Couple that with some other bands that I could check off without having to designate specific times and dollars to, is a bonus, I suppose.

    Not in the cards or the budget or the priorities list this year. This is going to be a year of serious changes for me, some scary, some fun, some sad, some happy.

  9. angryjoggerz Says:

    Seem to have some interesting acts at Bonnaroo, but not enough to get me there. That having been said, I have never gone, so that is nothing new. Wouldn’t mind seeing Iron & Wine, Deerhunter, Wavves, !!!. However, it does looks sort of like a lineup that is drawn from Pitchfork festival’s past with a splash of jammy bands for the youth dem.

  10. goochy Says:

    We getting a few dates today?

  11. ThePigSong Says:

    very cool write up – had no idea

    did they play the whole show behind that curtain?

  12. ThePigSong Says:

    haha nevermind

  13. jtran Says:

    Bing Bong not as sweet as first tube but cool to see the genesis.

  14. sumodie Says:

    Roo 09 was amazing -saw over 20 fantastic acts from a range of musical genres. Plus Phish

    I never understand the polarity over Roo. I’ve only been twice (02 & 09) and it’s still the same: a diversity of bands at all hours of the day (some good, some bad), heat, mud, a crazed mixture of peeps (some good, some bad), more heat & mud

    To get there & stay there is still the same huge inconvenience, so I doubt I’ll return without 2 shows from Phish

  15. KfL Says:

    is crystal wulf playing?

  16. fat bastard Says:

    i went to the 1st roo and never again. it was toooo hot

  17. river trance Says:

    Fat Tony looking nice and slim in that old 8 ft fluorescent tubes vid

    Bonnaroo seems to be a lot like what hell must be like

    laterz kids

  18. BTB Says:

    I guess Rothbury is back – July 4th weekend no doubt…interesting (weird viral marketing attempt)

  19. BTB Says:

    Wookie Foot is confirmed on the 3am THAT tent

  20. lastwaltzer Says:

    The leaked campagian to destory Wiki Leaks…………….don’t be duped kids.

  21. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Wookie Foot crashed at my house once. Didn’t even know who they were but a friend was promoting a show w/them and somehow my place became their crash pad. Interesting night.

  22. butter Says:

    good piece Miner, ya got to know your history if you want to know where you are going!

  23. lastwaltzer Says:


    the change to me has been that the lineups aren’t very unqiue anymore or perhaps not as unique. The line ups don’t seem that different then one other festivals are offering.

    That said, if money wasn’t an issue I’d still probably go, there are a lot of good acts on the bill.

  24. lastwaltzer Says:

    Wookie Foot, now that is some scary shit right there.

  25. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    If only y’all knew what wookie foot was actually like.

    Shit’s gross, yo.

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