Nothing compares to the anticipation of an upcoming Phish show. Knowing the inner emotions that will be accessed by the music and the transcendent experience you will have, the wait for the show takes on a life of its own. It usually started- well, for me it usually started when dates were announced. Immediately, plans would be whipped into place-hotel reservations, mail order tickets, scoring Ticketmaster tickets, figuring out with whom you’d share a car, a quickening heartbeat–all that and more. While Phish has yet to officially announce their return, and those emotions that rest inside us all will have to lie dormant for a little while longer, a similar inner-dynamic, on a much smaller scale, is happening for Trey’s comeback shows. Much anticipation and genuine excitement is swirling around his intimate 550 person Brooklyn show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, and his set at the All Points West Festival in New Jersey, both just around the corner on August 7th and August 10th. These two gigs represent his return to the proverbial ring; the beginning again. The hype around Brooklyn has been juiced by the virtual impossibility of scoring Ticketmaster stubs over the weekend, while secondary market tickets are ranging from anywhere $200 to $500.
With his Languedoc slung over his shoulder, his old mates Russ, Tony and Ray back in place, he is primed to set the Phish scene afire with what is sure to be an electric show featuring classic TAB songs and, hopefully, some previews of what will soon be new Phish songs. The “power-trio” was always the best TAB incarnation– a deep and steady groove with limitless space for Trey to rewrite the universe. Then the horns came, and then came the keys, and percussion and backup singers to the point where Trey became a conductor for parts of the show. The Afro-Cuban poly-rhythmic ten-person TAB, although technically quite good, got old pretty fast for the simple fact that there wasn’t enough focus on the man himself and his searing melodies and uniquely funked-out rhythm licks. Yeah, I get it, that wasn’t the point with ten people on stage, but when you go to see Trey, you want to see some shredding, am I wrong?
There will be no lack of focused chops come the seventh of August with his quartet, when Trey and his sober enthusiasm will surely translate into the most fierce playing we have heard from him in a while. You may read Phantasy Tour and see people posting about how it won’t be that good because it’s his first show back and he won’t be that sharp– wanna’ bet? You can name the stakes. Those people are just bitter because there weren’t enough tickets to go around. Trey is going to be coming out with his renewed game face on, and this show is one that is literally a no-brainer. His first show back– his first time to emote publically through his guitar again, to speak from his soul and to rejoice in his happiness– all in a tiny room in New York City. You think it’s gonna’ be anything less than amazing? No, it will be just that. This is the first step back onto the yellow brick road on the way to see the wizard to get back to Kansas- to get back home.