Trey played a smashing finale of his cross-country solo tour at Oakland’s Fox Theatre on Saturday night, bidding the road adieu with a scorching second set that concluded another well-received tour. In a tale of two halves, the electric set provided consistent fire from Big Red and his entourage ignited the audience with a set containing no discernible lulls. However, in a complete juxtaposition, Trey barely drew attention from from the crowd until the full band emerged to backed his acoustic efforts for “Heavy Things.” Once his band got behind his acoustic efforts—a rarity in Trey’s career—it became wholly apparent that this set-up should have comprised the entire opening half of the show. When “Heavy Things” started, the oversold Fox Theatre transformed from an annoyingly-crowded and over-sized cocktail party into a focused concert. Concluding the short, full-band, acoustic portion of the set with tour staples “Liquid Time,” and “Hey Ya!,” the night ignited in earnest with the set’s closing “Push On Til the Day.” A densely grooving rendition of the early-TAB classic set the show afire just before the lights came on (another odd nuance to this tour’s set structure.)
But the story of the show—as was the case for each night of this tour—unfolded in the second set. Without varying his setlist choices from his other shows, Trey’s band played crisply through a set of high-octane, dance-floor, fun. From the candy grooves of “Jibboo” to the funk of “Cayman Review” and the uplifting melodic spiral of “Valentine,” Trey packed a wallop with each piece at the beginning of the set . The centerpiece of the show, however, came in the cerebral psychedelia of “Plasma.” A song that has been revived over this tour outshone any other piece in Oakland with legitimate whole-band improv. And its energy spilled directly into the popping jazz of Page’s “Magilla” and the island vibrations of Toots and the Maytals’ “Sweet and Dandy.” But after this lighter interlude, Trey and his band kicked down the most sinister portion of the show in ferocious “Sand” followed by “Clint Eastwood.” Migrating from full-on to laid back grooves over the two dark-themed pieces, TAB crafted the other improvisational beast of the show in “Sand,” with a pimped out cool down in The Gorillaz cover.
The final segment of the show was laced with Phish songs, as Trey closed the set with “Ocelot,” “Show of Life,” and “First Tube.” While the second two are songs that started in Trey’s side project and jumped to Phish, “Ocelot” is the first song to be debuted by Phish and brought into regular TAB rotation; a standout all tour long. Held down by the butter-smooth pocket of bass stalwart, Tony Markelis, this song translates better in TAB—with a full horn arrangement—than it does in Phish, where the song has remained painfully one dimensional. In fact a similar phenomenon took place in the blues-based “Alaska,” where the slower tempo and thicker groove coaxed far more dynamic playing from Trey than the Phish’s loafing rhythms. “Show of Life,” a song that has become a big-stage mainstay, has stuck around the solo circuit to slay TAB shows with its late-set catharsis.
Punctuating the night with a scintillating “Black Dog” encore, Trey and Jen Hartswick undertook musical relations as his guitar and her vocal solo merged in a mind-numbing hard-rock convergence. Trey dug into the Zeppelin cover with extra gusto as the last song of his tour, drawing a massive ovation from the adoring Bay Arena audience. In a fine ride through and through, and a great summation of their winter tour, TAB smacked down a fierce tour closer that illustrated the current strength of all things Trey. And with summer tour on the distant horizon, that couldn’t be more encouraging.
I: NICU, Backwards Down the Number Line, Limb By Limb, Down with Disease, Theme From the Bottom, The Wedge, Strange Design, Bathtub Gin, Let Me Lie*, Heavy Things**, Liquid Time**, Hey Ya!**, Push On ‘Til the Day^
II: Gotta Jibboo, Cayman Review, Alaska,Valentine, Plasma, Magilla, Sweet and Dandy, Sand, Clint Eastwood, Sultans of Swing, Ocelot, Show of Life, First Tube
E: Black Dog
* with Jen and Natalie, ** full band, acoustic, ^full band, electric
3.5.2011 TAB @ The Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA
Here is the download of Trey’s tour closer. The setlist is above.
Source: Schoeps mk41>kc5>cmc6>sonosax sx-m2>sound devices 722
Jam of the Day:
“Theme From the Bottom” 6.7.95
An out-of-character “Theme” stemming from the dark sonic brew of Summer ’95.