Popping a Can of Classic TAB

I: Sand, Cayman Review, Let Me Lie, Gotta Jibboo, Dragonfly, First Tube

II: Alaska, Last Tube, Sweet Dreams Melinda, Valentine, Drifting, Brian and Robert1, Chalk Dust Torture1, The Way I Feel, Spin

E: Heavy Things, Burlap Sack and Pumps

1 Solo acoustic

In a solid tour opener that featured some significant Phish foreshadowing, and some flashes of fiery Trey, Roseland was a fun, if not crowded, way to get things going.  At these “Classic TAB” shows, only three old, a pattern is already emerging.  The known Trey classics- a la Sand, Jiboo, Night Speaks, and Cayman Review will still be played as a nostalgic platforms for Trey to shred on, while other songs have begun to transform into previews for what is to come with Phish.  Tonight, the shredding-spotlight was centrally focused on the first set explosion of Jibboo.   As Trey first spoke with a disgustingly dirty tone reminiscent of ’03, specifically the darker voice of the 12.29 Philly Twist, he built a scorching solo from these distorted tones, improvising heartily in what will sure be talked about as the “highlight of the show.”

Hidden Track

Roseland - photo: Hidden Track

However, the highlights of the Classic TAB shows, are not always the most significant moments for the future world of Phish.  Tonight, two new developments occurred that should see ripples in the new pond.  “Let Me Lie,” appearing as the third song of the show, featured a new arrangement with a mellow backing groove that served as a palate for some minor improvisation.  When put in context of Phish’s reemergence, this seems like it will surely be a calm launching pad for a layered Phish jam.  With a lyrically appropriate theme of recovery, and the song’s significant placement and rearrangement, it certainly signifies a probable entry into Phish’s new repertoire.

8.10.08 All Points West

8.10.08 All Points West

The second major development couldn’t have come from a more unlikely place.  In what seemed like an afterthought to the encore of Heavy Things, Trey stepped to the mic and began to explain the genesis of what would be the final song.  Reminding the audience that such Phish songs as Jibboo, Sand, and First Tube were originally co-written by his band members, bassist, Tony Markelis and, drummer, Russ Lawton, he introduced the last song, “Burlap Sack and Pumps.”  Also written by the Classic TAB duo, this song appeared for the first time ever played by a four piece band.  A staple of Trey’s Afro- Cuban “big-band” era, Burlap Sack and Pumps has always been a song that featured horns, percussion, and multi-layered textures.  Tonight, it was completely different.

Arranged for a four-piece, introduced as the next in a tradition of TAB-to-Phish songs, and with a new psychedelic and exploratory jam, this seems like a shoo-in as a new Phish improvisational vehicle.  What seemed like the denoument of the show was potentially the most significant part, as we look forward to March.  Out of nowhere, this song which Trey explained started as “a little dance number,”  emerged a new launch pad for improvisation that Phish could absolutely slaughter.  You can stop thinking about the big-band, call-and-response tradition of the song- this was a whole ‘nother thing all together.

Throughout the show, Trey sounded clean, precise, and tight, and seemed noticeably more comfortable on stage than at his comeback show in Brooklyn.  Despite a relatively lackluster setlist, and a momentum-killing acoustic segment of Brian and Robert, and an awkward Chalkdust, Trey still put together an intriguing and exciting show.  The second appearance of Valentine, although no more extended than in Brooklyn, reaffirmed its potential as a monstrous Phish launchpad, while the set closer of Spin, featured an adventurous outro jam that moved into more groovy territory than usual, providing a upbeat ending to the mellow twenty-plus minutes of the second set that had preceded.

A sure sign that the next seven shows will be fun and meaningful, Roseland was a tasteful preview of what is to come.  In the over-sized bar scene, a large part of the New York City audience seemed unfocused and overtly social the majority of the evening, treating it as a night out rather than a night with Trey.  The other portion of the crowd was noticeably enthused by the goings on, especially throughout the more uptempo first set.  With what is sure to be a less metropolitan crowd in Wallingford, CT, tonight, look for Trey to extend more of his songs with more fun and improvisation in the musically focused theatre.

And perhaps a big second set Burlap Sack and Pumps?


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18 Responses to “Popping a Can of Classic TAB”

  1. Congressman Says:

    Thank you Mr. Miner

  2. MP Says:

    After what happened to the songs debuted during the “Trey in May” tour in 1999, Miner’s speculation about the growth of this next generation of Classic TAB tunes is very exciting. Infact, I am more excited about these new tunes than any of the tunes released as part of Phish’s last two studio efforts. What would 1999-2000 Phish have been without Sand or Jibboo?

    I am working on bonding with Undermind and Round Room, and am fully aware that my lack of enthusiasm for either of these albums is most likely related to my difficulty “get(ting) back on the train” after Shoreline 2000. Honestly, that was the last time I felt the infectious and addicting vibe that has caused me to trek in every direction seeking more magic.

    I share Miner’s enthusiam about Phish v3.0 and appreciate his optimism about what the future holds. Thanks, buddy. Nice work.

  3. kbill23 Says:

    one of the last times i saw trey play here in chicago, at the Congress Theatre in 2004 he also played a huge Burlap Sack and Pumps. I remember not even reconizing the song until they sang Burlap Sack and Pumps. So it seems as though they have really been developing this song for a long time.

  4. eric Says:

    As far as recent/new phish material, I really dude the funk and groove and Mike’s new material. I hope he gets to put forward more creative input and hopefully some of his Green Sparrow songs are picked up by phish. I have to respectively disagree with MP on Round Room. As Mr. Miner blogged on earlier, they’re are some great songs off round room (Pebbles and Marbles, WAves, Walls of the Cave, Seven Below). And I’m calling it right…Sunday Night closer: time turns elastic. The more I listen to trey’s acoustic version the more I did it and the more I feel it is going to be an epic Phishy classic by the time they are done with it.

    PS: Good luck to everyone tomorrow morning.

  5. Jiboo2 Says:

    Great to see such an enthusiastic review of a tour opener. Bummer that the acoustic songs brought down the moment of the Second Set though. I am unsure whether they belong back at the set break as he was doing in 2003-2004 or gone altogether until Hampton – but as long as Trey stays clean and keeps playing the way he has in Brooklyn, APW, Nashville and Roseland (4 for 4) – Phish v3.0 willc ertainly pass Phishv2.0 by in a night or 2. I am heading to Albany tomorrow and was at Brooklyn. While my life has very much changed since Shoreline ’00 – career, wife, kid – I do very much look forward to getting the road with the boys 1-2 weekends a year. Viva the Red Man – Viva The Pheesh !

  6. Richard Says:

    You say: “Reminding the audience that such Phish songs as Jibboo, Sand, and First Tube were originally written by his band members, bassist, Tony Markelis and, drummer, Russ Lawton, he introduced the last song, “Burlap Sack and Pumps.” Also written by the Classic TAB duo…”

    Is that accurate? I think those songs were written by Tony, Russ, AND Trey. I’m sure the liner notes for Farmhouse could clear this up.

  7. Taylor Franklin Says:

    Jibboo was the highlight for sure. Even Trey knew it. After the song he looked as bandmates and was pretty impressed. One of the best performances I’ve ever seen or heard by Trey.

    The show brings to mind the fall 06 Trey tour that is probably overlooked by the jail and rehab that came after. Those shows had tons of energy and power…Webster Hall was an exciting and fresh show when I saw it.

  8. Jacob Says:

    ^^ Taylor,

    That’s really encouraging. I won’t be seeing Trey on this tour, but I loved the fall ’06 stuff. The show I saw in Chicago was powerful and experimental, and I listen to the Original Boardwalk CD all the damn time.

  9. Tracy Says:

    Sorry, but I have to disagree about he Chalkdust. While Brian and Robert was…well…Brian and Robert, I thought that the acoustic Chalkdust was a lot of fun. I think that Trey really enjoyed it, and you could definitly see that with the ending section. He was HAPPY and even let out a little laugh.

  10. JD Says:

    Trey, tony, and Russ wrote Sand, FT, and Jibboo. 8 ft Flourescent tubes baby!

    I love the fact that Trey is sticking with those tunes with these guys and to pop off a Sand opener to start the mini tour….what could be better!?! I personally never get sick of those songs. I hope when Phish comes back they rekindle the fire in these. I’m sure Jibboo will make it but I don’t think they played Sand or First Tube once on the “final” farewell tour. For my sake I hope they all get played again in Albany tomorrow night!

  11. Brian Says:

    I think this review is spot on. Jiboo was by far the highlight. I remember feeling so enthused that I screamed “TREY IS BACK BABY!” and everyone looked at me weird. But the truth is, HES BACK. Regardless of the “lack-luster setlist” (which was virtually identical to Brooklyn and All Points West back in August) Trey did look incredibly HAPPY! He was enthused the whole time and it was manifest in his playing. It blew me away. I can only hope that the energy stays up for PHISH!!!!

  12. kbill23 Says:

    where is the download? someone has to keep mr. miner honest

  13. Adam Says:

    I think he said he was going to post downloads for all shows except Roseland, so give it another day.

  14. shpongleyez Says:


  15. kbill23 Says:

    ^ i was actually just kidding

  16. bigtimd Says:

    in my humble analysis i will say the following: last tube was the best number of the night.

    furthermore, “valentine”, was pretty reet as well. this song has a ridiculous structure (intentionally so it would seem), but that kind of makes it fun, and the jam was wicked.

    the first set was not outstanding by any measure, but the jiboo was obviously the shit, whereas the sand was obviously not and was a throw away by all respects. i did very much enjoy the new song ‘let me lie’, it was a beauty.

    to be honest, the policies and set up of roseland make it very difficult to achieve basic first-world standards of decency. i was thirsty as hell most of the time and most people were too afraid to leave their spot to get a drink or piss.

    the encore was encouraging.

  17. Malcolm Says:

    Mr. Minor, I love your reviews, but why isn’t there a download of this show up yet? I really enjoyed myself on Trey’s opening night, would like to hear it again.

  18. gills Says:

    Minor, or anyone else what is the trick to get these downloads to play.. they download perfect but wont play… dying to here those Philly picks.

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