Taft Theatre, Cincinnati, Ohio
November 5, 2005
Trey likes Cincinnati. I mean he REALLY likes playing here! How do I know? Well, there's the part where he told the crowd how much he likes playing here, and then there are the actual shows themselves, with the possible exception of the "comeback shows" of 2003 at US Bank Arena which were uneven at best. However the September 2000 at Riverbend Music Center was a barnburner! I would love to see that on a Live Phish release some day!
So what I am saying is that Trey had a pretty good track record coming into the Queen City. So I was looking forward to seeing the new improved TAB I had first witnessed 3 months earlier in Indianapolis, with the added female vocalists and kick-ass Tony Hall on bass!
Trey Anastasio SETLIST 11/05/05I arrived an hour or more before the show in hopes of finding any type of "Shakedown Street" near the venue. Alas, there was none to be found, just a few veedubs parked in the nearest lot next to the venue, jamming some tunes and drinking some imports. Because this was in the middle of downtown, and because that downtown was conservative Cincinnati, I didn't expect much of an outside scene and I guess to that extent I wasn't surprised. Undeterred, I went to Margaritas Cantina for mas tequila and preshow fire up with my loyal jamband partner, Mr Fabulous and his foxy sidekick, Meaux!
Night Speaks To A Woman, Sleep Again, Sand, Shine, Dark And Down, Invisible1, Alive Again, Come As Melody, Sample in a Jar2, Dirt2, At the Gazebo2, Pebbles and Marbles2, Chalkdust Torture2, Money Love and Change, Tuesday, 46 Days, Push On Til the Day
Encore: First Tube> Cincinnati
1 With Trey and Les on acoustic guitars
2 Solo acoustic
We arrived in Taft Theatre just after the opening act of Tea Leaf Green, so I can't really comment on them, other than to say that I like what I have heard of them on Nugs.net. Mr Fabulous has scored us some nice seats on the floor, right center, about 35 rows back.
It was great to see the show even closer than the balcony seats I have had for the last Trey show with Dr Pauly and Snailtrax and for Widespread Panic. As the opening notes of Night Speaks to a Woman rang out the place absolutely EXPLODED with energy! Once again, as in Indy, Trey picked a winner to open the show! The band played it well, and Mr Fabulous commented "You can really HEAR the bass in the mix this time!"
It was true of course, Tony Hall is up in the mix and driving the band much better the previous Taft show with a different bass player.
Sleep Again was the next song and never was a song more appropriately titled! I fought hard not to pass out from boredom and smash my head on the seat in front of me. I guess what I am saying is that the new songs are just not doing it for me yet. It’s not just because I am not familiar with them. I can hear a songs potential even on the first listen, but the new one are just not moving me much. Having said that though, I must say that Sleep Again does have a really nice Beatle-ish Strawberry Fields-feel to it, so the jury is still out on that one.
Sand was next, and it was one of the highpoints of the night for me. Well played and grooved out, it makes you wonder what these guys could do with a few MORE Phish tunes in the set. Shine was next, and I think this one is gonna take a while for me to get into. At this point I decided to try my favorite concert trick:
SEE HOW CLOSE I CAN GET TO THE FRONT!
As you take each additional step past each row a surge of adrenalin spikes though you..... 20th row.... 15th row..... where are the security/ticket people in the right center of the floor? Nowhere to be found my friend, that's where, and so I worked my way over to an empty seat in the SECOND ROW!
I saw the situation for what it was: Manna from heaven, and quickly ran back up to Mr Fab and Meaux and brought them back down with me to enjoy the rest of the show from the Third row! Meanwhile, I had befriended all my fellow freaks and was now leaning on a sub-cabinet in the FRONT ROW!
So it was from this vantage point that we enjoyed the rest of the show. It was great to see the band so close and watch their eye contact and facial expressions. I could tell how much Trey was enjoying himself during the show. He never stopped smiling and exchanging grins with bandmates. Tony Hall was the biggest ham of all, making faces and interacting with the front rows the whole show!
Alive Again was another highlight with the band hitting the carribbean groove on all cylinders. Come as Melody was consistently good, as it has been for many years in concert. That brought us to the mid-set "Trey revisits Phish acoustic style."
I actually look forward to this part of the show and he did not disappoint. As he picked up his acoustic, Trey addressed the crowd: "I really love playing here in Cincinnati! I remember the Phish tour in 2003 when we played here and there was a fire at the hotel we were staying at(The song Cincinnati is about that night). Anyway, they were making announcements about the fire, and I look out my window and a fire truck had just pulled up right in front of the hotel. Then I see one of those fire truck ladders on the back of the truck angling up and coming right up toward ME on the 12th floor! I start looking around the room, thinking I have started the fire! As I got into the hallway and see the other guys in Phish, I say to them, 'Man for a second there, I thought I had started that fire.'
Phish, Mike and Page all respond in unison, "Yeah we thought the same thing too!!"
The whole crowd gave a cheer!
Then he continued: "Now I am gonna play a few Phish tunes for you."
"Yeah I love those guys and (paraphrasing here) as for the future, who knows?"
Well that was quite the comment, but probably shouldn't be overanalyzed. We will just have to keep our fingers crossed on that one!
The first song on the acoustic set was a new one for me. Acoustic-style that is! Sample In A Jar was well received with a fun sing along on the choruses. Dirt was even better! One of my favorite late period Phish tunes, it was great to hear it get an acoustic treatment which translated well. Pebbles and Marbles is not one of my favorites, but it seems as if I am in the minority on that one, as the crowd was singing along throughout. Chalkdust Torture was next, and this is one tune that I felt did not translate in the acoustic format as well, save for the fact that everyone got to yell out "Can I live while I'm young?" one more time!
The second electric set then got underway, and Money Love and Change was tight and funky, another "A List" jam in my humble opinion. Tuesday was next, and it was headbanging time at the Taft! As the last notes of Tuesday faded out, we got back to the groove with 46 Days. While I enjoy this Phish tune as much as the next fan, I would love to see Trey pull some other Phish groove-tunes out again. Anybody for Wolfman’s or how about a nice Moma Dance?
Push On Till The Day continued in my favorite carrribean/new orleans/salsa grooves that Trey solos over so very well! The show was wrapping up in a strong fashion!
First Tube was the first encore and was also well played with the new light show/effects twirling flowers of light over the sidewalls of the theatre Cincinnati was the encore, and that song and Tuesday bring one of the few criticisms I have about the new Trey show:
Too many and too long on the hard-rockin' Head-Banging Riffs!!My god if I wanted to bang my head for 15 minutes straight I could have gone to a Megadeath concert! Maybe I am in the minority, but I spoke to a few "tourheads" and they felt the same way. Anyway that is just a minor glitch in an otherwise good performance.
Overall I would say that it was a good show, getting closer to the potential of what this new band can do. But instead of watching Trey in the front row of a small theatre would I rather be on the lawn with 20,000 seeing Trey , Mike , Page and Phishman?