As the horn section left the stage to let Trey, Ray Paczkowski, Tony Markellis, and Russ Lawton stretch out the number, the band began to lay down simple grooves. Trey’s soloing meshed with Ray’s work on the electric clavichord, and it was often difficult to distinguish which notes were coming from which instrument. The sound textures blended into a soft wash over the audience and then Trey stepped out to lead the jam into the peak. As the horn section stepped back in to close the song, it was clear that the new incarnation of TAB was benefiting from a sleek, trimmed down brass team.
Goodbye Head, a longer composed piece fared well, with rich horns providing musical context for the transition from one section to the next. The piece sounded more triumphant than its studio counterpart, which is padded with strings. The ever clever band leader, Trey decided to take Money, Love, and Change on a key-changing musical journey. Signaling to his bandmates when to modulate up or down (and into what new key), Trey conducted each change smoothly and tastefully, causing the crowd to roar as the band shifted its sound. Russell began soloing, and Natalie and Jen stepped in to join in the game – no band member knew what Trey would call next, having only a few second to register a given hand signal and change.
As the crowd celebrated a successful and groove-laden two sets, the band came out for the much-expected encore. While the setlists had been relatively similar the past few nights, Trey decided to bust out a special surprise, “saving it up for Friday night.” He strummed out the opening chords to Sultans of Swing, and the horn section developed the well-known harmonies on top of his playing. Not only was the song a remarkably tasty and well-played surprise, but the brass trio really kicked it up a notch on this one: while Trey took care of the first guitar solo halfway through the song (ornamenting it in his own, but still tipping the hat to Mark Knopfler), the horn section took care of all the memorable guitar licks that intersperse the verses. They even nailed the classic guitar solo at the end, note for note!
As if the night hadn’t been special enough, Trey introduced the last piece of the night, First Tube, as the first song that he Tony and Russ wrote together during the birth of TAB. Trey, who had been jumping up and down all night, was all over the place, smiling at Ray and playing off of his organ work, and connecting with as many people in the audience as he could. While most of the songs played are likely to be repeated throughout the tour, it’s still unclear if “Sultans” will show up again. Keep following the TAB tour on Hidden Track to see what other gems Big Red unleashes this February.
Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB
February 12, 2010
House of Blues
Set 1: Shine, Cayman Review, Push On Til The Day, What’s Done, The Birdwatcher, Mozambique, Night Speaks to a Woman, Alaska, Let Me Lie, Plasma, Tuesday
Set 2: Drifting, All That Almost Was, Sand, Goodbye Head > Gotta Jibboo, Small Axe, Valentine, Money Love and Change, Show of Life, Dragonfly
Encore: Sultans of Swing, First Tube