The Landmark Theatre, the iconic newly renovated venue in downtown Syracuse, brought an icon of it’s own to town on January 19th. Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, the jam scene’s biggest star, brought his band to Syracuse on the second night of his Northeast Winter Tour to a packed house.
I was lucky enough to attend the show with my 9 year old son Brayden. He loves Phish, and is probably pound for pound their biggest fan. Like many of us, Trey is his favorite, and the chance to see our favorite performer together was priceless!
We arrived after doors about 15 minutes before showtime. The lobby was already jam packed as patrons lined up to get their favorite beverages. We quickly hit the stairs and made our way to the first tier in the balcony. It didn’t take long to meet some old friends from Phish tour gone by, and we settled in to our seats as the lights began to lower.
The crowd swelled and Trey came out – front and center – and opened with “Valentine” off his new album Traveler, followed by our first treat from the Phish catalog, the rarely played instrumental “Magilla”. Things started to get rolling after that, as the combination of “Caymen Review” and “Gotta Jibboo” had the crowd dancing and cheering. After Jibboo, Trey brought it back down for the next 3 songs, all off Traveler – “Scabbard”, “Frost”, and “The Land of Nod”. “Money Love and Change” was next, and with Jen Hartswick vocals soaring over the others during the chorus, the pace briefly picked back up. This led to “Drifting”, one of my (and Brayden’s) personal favorites. To this point, the first set was good, but probably nothing to write home about. “First Tube” changed all that, Trey was on fire and the band was all in on this one!! Quite possibly the best version I have ever seen live, the light show on stage and projecting on the historic walls of the theatre was epic!! The crowd roared for more as the song ended, but Trey would make us wait a little longer as the set break began.
After showing Brayden the theatre and talking to a few old friends, we decided it was time to hit the floor and see how close we could get. We picked the right side, and walked all the way to the front row, right were the orchestra seats started. We waited patiently, and played some Phish trivia while we waited for the 2nd set. After mellow versions of “Pigtail” and “Mozambique”, the action picked back up with “Sand”. Always one of my favorite Trey band originals, (Sand has been a force on Phish tour in much of the 3.0 era), this version was solid. Up next was the opening track for Traveler called “Corona” which is rumored to be influenced by the Beach Boys Brian Wilson. At this point, as the band paused for a minute, the “Let’s Go Orange” chant started from the balcony (SU had beat #1 Louisville earlier in the afternoon). Soon the whole theatre was cheering “Let’s Go Orange”, and Trey immediately grabbed a drumstick and joined in on the fun!! A great version of Alaska was next (another of my favorites), followed by The Charlie Daniels Band’s infamous “Devil Went Down To Georgia”. “Night Speaks to a Women” was next, and once again Jen Hartswick’s soaring vocals dominated. Album tracks “Let Me Lie” and “Traveler” were sandwiched around “Windora Bug” which brough great banter between Trey, bassist Tony Markellis, Hartswick and the others. “Push on ’til the Day” ended the set in fine fashion, and the horn players finally had a chance to stretch it out a bit.
After a brief retreat, the band was back, and Trey opted Gorillaz’ “Clint Eastwood”, once again featuring the vocal prowess of Ms. Hartswick! And with that, it was over. The first (but certainly not last) Trey show for my son was in the books. He was beaming as we left the theatre, high fiving fans on his way out. The future looks bright my friends!!
Trey Anastasio Band : January 19, 2013 – Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, NY
Set 1: Valentine, Magilla, Caymen Review, Gotta Jibboo, Scabbard, Frost, The Land of Nod, Money, Love and Change, Drifting, Greyhound Rising, Goodbye Head, First Tube
Set 2: Pigtail, Mozambique, Sand, Corona, Alaska, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Night Speaks to a Woman, Let Me Lie, Windora Bug, Traveler, Push on ’til the Day
Encore: Clint Eastwood