10/17/08 Chevrolet Theater – Wallingford, CT
I: Drifting, Tuesday, Sand, Peggy, Dark and Down, Money Love & Change, Sweet Dreams Melinda, Push on til the Day
II: Light, Gotta Jibboo, Alaska, Shine, Windora Bug, Burlap Sack & Pumps, A Case of Ice and Snow, Dragonfly
E: Water in the Sky*, Waste*, Sample in a Jar*, First Tube ( *solo, acoustic)
If Roseland’s show was symbolic of Trey feeling at home on stage again, last night’s show in Wallingford, CT represented Trey at play in his romper room. In a show that absolutely slaughtered the previous night from start to finish, Trey imaginatively improvised while shredding with absolute precision, and played with a childish joy and enthusiasm not seen in years. Not only Trey, but the entire band, stepped up to a different level than New York City, improvising cohesively throughout a creative show that featured a diverse set list of songs, all taking on a fresh feel with his four piece band.
In a show strewn with highlights, the brightest point shone at the beginning of the second set with the second-ever performance of a top contender for future Phish epic, “Light,” and an otherworldly Jibboo. Complete with a several minute ambient build up, the spiritually-themed opener led into a sky-scraping jam with Trey emotively wailing in what seemed to be a sure preview of a huge Phish vehicle. Taking on a new character, as the band collectively improvised and extended the jam far beyond its abbreviated debut, the song’s performance was truly inspiring in its soaring trajectory.
Leaving the audience awestruck, and taking a moment to enjoy it himself, Trey soon began the opening chords of Jibboo. Reaching far beyond Roseland’s show-highlight, this Jibboo moved through multiple improvisational segments, as Trey fired from all angles during this near twenty minute version. A guitar-based acrobatic act of grooves galore, this Jibboo electrified the magnificent Cheverolet Theatre in Southern Connecticut. Illustrating the energy, creativity, and precision of the entire night in a microcasm, this Jibboo made sure that no one who saw both versions would remember Roseland’s.
In a massive follow up of the encore debut of the “new” Burlap Sack and Pumps, the freshly-arranged future Phish jam, was centrally focused, as expected, in the heart of the second set. Listening to Trey and his band fully improvise over the new arrangement for a second time, its potential really seems unlimited. Beginning in a percussive groove and moving into a dark transcendent jam, this seems like a made for order Phish entree. Much more than a palate for Trey’s imagination, Burlap Sack and Pumps, represents a full band journey that that will explore many places by the end of the next six nights. With any such cohesive exploration, one can’t but help but ponder what Phish might do with it. Stay tuned.
Yet, the high points of this show were far from secluded to the second set. The zenith of the first set came in the funk exploration of Money, Love, and Change. As Trey ran a clinic in rhythm grooving, taking a lot from his hallowed portfolio, and moving beyond, as the venue pulsed with the dancy rhythms. As this song took center stage in the opening frame, it ballooned outwards, bubbling with infectious grooves that flowed effortlessly, as Trey seemed like a kid on Christmas. Dark and Down provided another improvisational highlight off of what is now proving to be an album full of legitimate launch pads, Shine. The slower, darker composition gave way to an inspirational, and divergent jam- the type that has usually been left behind with the more percussive incarnations of TAB. To close the adventurous set was a welcome return of the Classic TAB staple, Push On ‘Til the Day, sounding ever tighter with the four-piece lineup, and featuring huge improvisation from Trey and his second band, who were all on the same page and firing tonight.
The one other highlight of note was a gorgeous rendition of the rarely played, A Case of Ice and Snow. A song only played during the sub-par post-70 Volt Parade days of 2006, this song appeared in regal form in Wallingford, enrapturing the focused and active audience- a stark contrast from the New York City scenesters. Both uplifting and majestic, this provided a magnificent treat that will hopefully appear again in these upcoming shows.
It seems as though with each show since his return, Trey moves closer to his March ideal. Recapturing an energy and complete command of the room not seen from him in years, last night was a real affirmation that the moment is ripe, and the future is bright. Far from just your average Trey tour, momentum has quickly built moving into the northern territory of Albany and Burlington. As the “Northern Exposure” tour moves into the cold, things seem to be only heating up.
–SET 2 COMING ASAP–
RECORDING AND CONVERSION THANKS TO MATT QUINN!!