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. kayatosh Says:

    episode 9 is done. i repeat 9 is done. up shortly. i like this one. I spent the better part of 2.5 hrs on it, which in non-baned time is 40 minutes.

  2. mitch Says:

    I give bottle caps of it to friends when they come over. That way they learn not to let it sit and burn forever.

    iPods play alac @ackbar

  3. SOAM Says:

    If the people of Watkins Glen don’t need the 10 million a phish fest will pump in their economy-thos fucking morons don’t derserve our peaceful-drugged out asses…

  4. kayatosh Says:

    and here she is, episode 9:

  5. SOAM Says:

    I’ll drive to Limestoned maine just to spite them…and have an 8 yr reunion of “it”

  6. Chuck sweD Says:

    do it.

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    ” fucking bee-line thiefs”


    IX Festival, featuring SOAM. I’d go.

  8. river trance Says:

    good stuff Kaya

    nothing like a little liquid gold

  9. goochy Says:

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    nice catch gooch. place looks cool.

  11. nonoyolker Says:

    @ Goochy – can we get any k’angfirmation on that date? Be great to have the boys back at PNC

  12. nonoyolker Says:

    wrong PNC, this is in Cinci? Stupid corporate sponsorship…

  13. neemor Says:

    Thanks for the Bustle link (7.31.05)…this is really good and a great take on the mighty Zep.
    I would definitely entertain the idea of going to see this…
    Wonder why this never crossed my plate before today.
    I’m so sheltered.
    Thank Icculus for this place.

  14. InAMinute Says:

    @Gavinsdad – that place Colette in Paris is legit – super cool/trendy spot but always has good new music/art as well as absurdly expensive clothes.

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Interesting about the Cincinatti show, for sure. Looks legit too.

  16. joe Says:

    and there was the picture on the sleepy bed (or whatever it was) center in Oregon of trey’s guitar…coast to coast tour? which way?

  17. kayatosh Says:

    thanks for your time, river trance.

  18. Lycanthropist Says:


    i too will wait for the series to be complete.

  19. Aquaman Says:


    Episode Nine……Ah, Good Times.

    Things progressing nicely I see.

    For real, though after the pregnant pause between Liquid Gold and Z in the end of Episode 7, I was waiting for Z to end the pause with…”Let’s make out.”

    Hot xtranormal action.


  20. river trance Says:

    as slow as these markets have been a 9 part mini series on bros dressed like super heroes sitting around sipping wine and puffing herbs is exactly what I needed this afternoon

    I think we may need to jump on the cactus train for summer tour 2011

  21. Aquaman Says:


    Seen bustle twice. They are the bee knees.


  22. Aquaman Says:

    Agreed RT.

    Do They have a private train to Cincy?

  23. Tigg Says:

    I was at that 8′ Tubes show. Good times!

  24. ThePigSong Says:

    45 bucks for lawns, 60 for Pavs


  25. river trance Says:

    Cinci date on a Sunday

    Wonder where they are playing on Friday-Saturday?

    Could def look at a little run there if it rolls east into Sunday and not the other way

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