Review: Trey Anastasio and TAB in Richmond

Trey Anastasio @ The National – October 23

Words: David Paul Kleinman

I went to hear Phish at Alpine Valley in ‘96 because of a sorority girl who had a certain way of popping her chest in and out during I Didn’t Know. I went to hear Phish at Deer Creek in ‘98 because God told me the band would open with Rhinoceros. I went to hear Medeski Martin & Wood play at the Symphony Center in Chicago in ‘01 because I knew Chris Wood would cause the building to levitate with one booming C. I think he woke the ghost of Stravinsky, who floated over to Russian Tea Time for a vodka. I went to hear Danny Barnes play at the Taphouse in Hampton, Vir. because banjotronics are better than indoor plumbing and air conditioning. I went to hear the orchestral debut of Time Turns Elastic in Nashville in ‘08 because I really had to pee.

[Photo via @RoughSax]

All kidding aside: why do we go hear live music? Cretans will tell you the answer is subjective, but as you know, you can’t trust a Cretan. Is there a singular, objective reason for hearing live music? Is there an objective reason for music? Yes, yes there is. We go to hear live music to reconnect with our ancestors who lived in Ethiopia four million years ago. We hear live music so we can travel back in time and see the wide open African sky and hear the holy drums beating the rhythm of all gods. We hear live music to worship the simplest aspects of ourselves. We hear live music for the pure, uncut source of energy.

That is why I went to hear Trey Anastasio with a new-and-improved TAB in Richmond last night, a show that was about sixty miles from my house, which put me in bed next to my wife at 1:30 for a 6:20 alarm. Several times last night I was transported away from the tightly-packed floor to some other place, the other place. Last Tube, Money, Love, and Change, The Land of Nod, Push on ‘Til the Day and Simple Twist Up Dave were as rapturous and beatific and shreddelicious as anything Phish has done this year. I was especially taken by the newer songs, Scabbard and Frost. Tunes I may have not liked so much when I heard them off of Traveler.

TAB’s new multi-instrumentalist, James Casey, stole the show twice: once on saxophone during Burlap Sack and Pumps and once as a dainty model when he came out for the encore wearing Natalie “Chainsaw” Cressman’s tight San Francisco Giants wife-beater. Apparently, he lost a bet. If you’re reading this, chances are you love live music; in which case, you should catch this version of TAB before it is too late.

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16 Responses

  1. Really? This is the entire review from last night’s performance. Really? Two paragraphs about the actual show with little detail, this is the best Hidden Track can do? This is a pathetic review, even if I do agree with most of the first paragraph. What a waste of time.

  2. I haven’t ever been a huge fan of Trey’s solo band, but I can’t say no when they come to my home town. I have to say, I’m really glad I went because this incarnation is really tight. Sometimes in the past, the horns had a tendency to hold everything tight to the pocket, but that didn’t happen tonight. Twist up Dave, Jibboo, Money Love & Change, and Push on Til the Day all went deep, and sent me out the door with a big smile on my face.

  3. loved the article! i enjoyed your take on why we love live music, … “to reconnect with our ancestors…to travel back in time” and especially, “hear the holy drums beating the rhythm of all gods.” never thought about it that way. very insightful!

  4. worst review ever. who cares about your alarm or your girl, how’d the jaguar sound you idiot! HT how the hell did the editor let this garbage get published. my 12 yr could have used written better than this.

  5. Here’s what I don’t get about your comments. You seem to have wanted me to do something I intentionally set out *not* to do. You are accusing Seinfeld of not including a moral at the end of an episode. You are accusing a hamburger of not being vegan. You are talking trash to Phish because they play long songs. You are accusing me on not writing a play-by-play review when I intentionally didn’t do that. Such reviews have their place, but if you see my three names, don’t expect such pedestrian forms. I don’t write to be Wikipedia. If you want the Phish version of SportCenter wank, ready Mr. Major or the seventeen other spanky blogs that will splatter mayonnaise all over your bologna.

  6. I’d be careful attacking other bloggers/reviewers when the word “shreddelicious” is one of the scant few adjectives you used to describe the music you enjoyed in Richmond. Because “shreddelicious” has a certain mayonaissey quality to it…and I don’t like mayonnaise either.

  7. I am sorry sir but this review, if that’s what you want to call it, is an absolute travesty. There is no substance w/ regard to the actual show. I dont care about your philosophy on why we listen to live music or the reasons you went to the different shows you’ve been too or how far you live from the venue and what time you went to bed. Are you freaking kidding me?? Then you have the nerve to rip on Mr. Minor?? Do you know how stupid you look? It is a shame that Hidden Track posted this… it’s definitely misrepresentative of the usual quality that HT puts out.

  8. as an essay on why folks love to go see live music, this piece is passable, if not brief. as a review of the TAB show in Richmond it is, at best, thin to the point of being glib. saying that one musician stole the show by wearing Chainsaw’s tank top due to losing a bet is superfluous and has nothing to do with what was played – the entire point of a “review”. then, to come back at readers questioning their comments, insulting another reviewer with grade-school name-changing, and *then* insulting the readers thenselves with the comment about the “SportCenter wank” is an affront to the readership of Hidden Track. if you didn’t intentionally write a review, don’t bill it as such. if you want to write introspective prose on why we do what we do, perhaps a different forum is in order. the only thing that I will think of now when I see your three names is “written from a high horse, wasting your time”. and, really, how pedestrian is *that*? an internet blogger/reviewer whose own assessment of their abilities are much, much more favorable than the actual blog/review they produced.

    not your best effort, HT. I *know* you can do better.

  9. Thank you for sharing this alternative and refreshing take on the music scene and for providing some thought-provoking ideas. At a scant 450 words, I’m not sure how one categorizes such, if they must. It is compelling as an feature article or ‘column’ – if it were labeled as such, rather than with ‘review’ misnomer, the peanut gallery would have never existed. Looking forward to the next one.

    1. Thanks. I think I need to remember that Michiko Kakutani slammed virtually everything David Foster Wallace wrote. (Not that I would compare myself to him, but if someone that good gets slammed. . .) I am really puzzled as to why these guys bothered me. It certainly isn’t the first time I’ve heard those type of comments. I have read similar “my twelve-year-old” and “worst review ever” and “this is a travesty” comments on stuff written by guys with more talent than I could ever dream of. Those are just standard Internet bully phrases that mean nothing. The only thing I regret is bringing Calarco into it. That was stupid, but not as stupid as the comments that so unnecessarily provoked me.

      1. good thing you’re not coming off as a wildly self-important and blindly arrogant intellectual elitist. you wrote a bad review. it happens. own it. you’re embarrassing yourself, and you’re embarrassing Hidden Track (and everyone who works very hard to make it as good as it *typically* is) with your ill-conceived responses to your critics. if you can’t, or won’t, accept criticism or handle it professionally, perhaps publishing your material isn’t the best course of action for you?

        and you did compare yourself to Wallace…*directly*. which is simply outrageous, and an insult to DFW’s legacy. shame on you for that.

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