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Trey Anastasio Still Wants More

October 13th, 2011

Trey Anastasio Band – The Wellmont Theatre – October 12, 2011


My dog is insatiable: run her ragged out in the yard until she’s too tired to stand and after a five-minute breather she’s ready to play some more. Trey Anastasio has the same problem. Zigzagging the country, playing three-hour shows every night with Phish doesn’t seem to be enough to satisfy his urge to play. So Anastasio is on the road again with his other band, and a three-hour marathon didn’t seem like enough last night at The Wellmont Theatre.

Opening with “Burlap Sacks and Pumps,” a horn-heavy big-band rave-up, the dial was instantly turned to party. Anastasio took the stage with his characteristic giddy-to-be-here grin and little hops accompanying nearly every guitar lick. After several tours, the band has become an independently functioning unit, no longer needing cues from the lead dog about when to make the changes or let things stretch out a bit. And stretch out they did: The first set featured more than 12 songs, including Trey Anastasio Band standards, like “Money, Love and Change” and “Cayman Review,” tunes that have entered the Phish catalog, like the jammed-out “Gotta Jibboo,” and well-timed covers, like “Small Axe” and “It Makes No Difference.”

But the first set was merely a warm-up for an even more compelling second act, a two-hour blur of a dog delightfully chasing its tail. A stretch that started with a straight-up cover of the soul standard “Ooh Child” made its way to Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” and finally exploded with the techno-rock of “First Tube” had the sold-out Wellmont pulsing with impossible energy—Anastasio’s guitar finally taking the forefront and the band grooving its hardest to keep pace. The crowd was tanked, but not Anastasio, who brought the band back out for a multisong, curfew-flirting encore (including yet another great cover, “Black Dog”), leaving no doubt, he’d love to do it all over again. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | www.jcmcilwaine.com