For the better part of three decades, Trey Anastasio has been known as the singer and guitarist for perennial jam band favorites, Phish. Though the jam powerhouse has helped establish Anastasio‚??s name in the music scene and given him the opportunity to play everywhere from colleges to festivals like Bonnaroo, the guitarist has found time to be involved with different ensembles.
One of those outfits, the Trey Anastasio Band, made its way to the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on Oct. 22 for a nearly sold-out show on its brief East Coast tour in support of its new album, ‚??Traveler.‚?Ě
While Anastasio and Co. performed all of ‚??Traveler‚?Ě throughout the night, the songs were wisely separated into different spots of the show, which allowed for some fan-friendly material like the funky opening of ‚??Cayman Review.‚?Ě It‚??s hard not to appreciate the tight musicians Anastasio has on the road with him, like keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, who added some fine almost clavicle-sounding fills throughout the evening.
Following an upbeat take on ‚??Last Tube‚?Ě and a jazzy version of ‚??Magilla,‚?Ě cuts from ‚??Traveler‚?Ě started making their way into the mix beginning with the opening track, a piano-heavy ‚??Corona.‚?Ě ‚??Scabbard,‚?Ě a rhythmically tight jazz fusion track from his new album, led perfectly into one of the higher points of ‚??Traveler,‚?Ě a slow but concise ‚??Frost.‚?Ě
After a groove heavy ‚??Drifting‚?Ě and some fine saxophone work from Russell Remington on ‚??Burlap Sack and Pumps,‚?Ě fans were treated to one of the better live jams in Phish‚??s repertoire, a trippy ‚??Gotta Jibboo.‚?Ě Paczkowski again added brilliant fills on the keys, while Anastasio rounded out the sound with tight soloing.
‚??Valentine,‚?Ě another cut from ‚??Traveler,‚?Ě came off brilliantly with some nice harmonies and brass playing from singers Natalie Cressman and Jennifer Hartswick. ‚??Push on ‚??Til the Day‚?Ě ended the first set with some salsa-influenced drumming from Russ Lawton.
Following a brief break, the second set brought six cuts from ‚??Traveler,‚?Ě including the set opening ‚??The Land of Nod.‚?Ě Anastasio delved into a stoic take on the Phish staple ‚??Sand‚?Ě before launching into another new cut, the haunting ‚??Architect.‚?Ě The slower ‚??Wherever You Find It‚?Ě served as a nice momentum change before kicking things up with the new, ‚??Pigtail.‚?Ě
Showing his musical diversity, the reggae-influenced ‚??Windora Bug‚?Ě and the exploratory ‚??Goodbye Head‚?Ě meshed into more songs from his new album, beginning with the laid-back ‚??Let Me Lie.‚?Ě In a bit of appreciation from his fans, Anastasio seemed genuinely humbled by the crowd singing along to the lyrics on the trippiest cut from ‚??Traveler,‚?Ě a cover of the Gorillaz hit ‚??Clint Eastwood.‚?Ě
Wrapping up the second set with the new albums‚?? title track, Anastasio brought out the fan favorites during the encore. Throughout the night, Anastasio led the band with his famous Languedoc electric guitar, but for the encore he brought out his custom-made Martin acoustic for a rousing version of the Phish mainstay ‚??Heavy Things.‚?Ě Switching back to the electric and telling a story about how the next song was the first one he wrote with the Trey Anastasio Band, the group ended the night with a rousing version of ‚??First Tube.‚?Ě
While Anastasio is primarily known for his role in Phish, his side projects ‚?? mainly the Trey Anastasio Band ‚?? allow the musician to explore angles that may not be found at Phish concerts. If Monday‚??s near-capacity show was any indication, it appears as though Anastasio will keep this band ‚??travelling‚?Ě for many years to come.