Article by: Joe Connors

Photography by: Brian Morgan

Chicago is the second stop on Trey Anastasio’s fall tour supporting his new solo album Traveler and it is to be a sold-out Trey experience tonight at Chi-town’s own Chicago Theater. The cool sounds of Brazilian music sets the mood for a feel-good dance extravaganza, and slowly this beautiful theater is starting to fill up. It seems to be very much a post-college audience and from the looks of it the merchandise counter is doing quite well for themselves with plenty of posters and t-shirts being sold.

The Chicago Theater is a beautiful 3,600-seat theater with ornate stonework, gold trim and beautiful Greek paintings on the ceiling. Behind an open red curtain is a seemingly Oriental light blue water dragon of splashes. The theater comes to its full capacity quickly while shadows appear on the blue backdrop. The show is beginning and I can see puffs of smoke billowing through the air.

Although new material is the highlight of the evening, Trey begins the set with a classic Phish song “Gotta Jibboo”, and the crowd erupts into a dancing frenzy. For Trey’s seemingly classic TAB band arrangement he has Russ Lawton (drums), Tony Markellis (bass), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Ray Paczkowski (keys), Jennifer Hartswick (trumpet, vocals), Natalie Cressman (trombone, vocals) and James Casey (saxophones, vocals).

Something prominent in the musicality is how I notice immediate parallels with legendary composer Frank Zappa in the interplay between the bells of the keyboard and Trey’s guitar work. The songs are beautiful, with moments of atmospheric wonderment switching to funk-driven, guitar-infested free-for-alls. No Trey show would be complete with out the obligatory balloons bouncing around the room. Fans have no choice but to dance.

The light show is absolutely stellar as to be expected from a lifetime member of the psychedelic jam band Phish and the set list was well constructed with an intermission and encore. Trey fans definitely get what they pay for and that is why half of the tour is sold out already!

The remaining tour is as follows:

10/20/12 Sat Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Columbus, OH

10/23/12 Tue The National Richmond, VA

10/24/12 Wed The Fillmore Silver Spring Silver Spring, MD

10/26/12 Fri Beacon Theatre New York, NY

10/27/12 Sun Orpheum Theatre Boston, MA

10/28/12 Mon Capitol Theater Port Chester, NY

Here is Trey’s Set for the night:

Set 1: Gotta Jibboo, Scabbard, Push On Til’ The day, Cayman Review, Burlap Sack and Pumps, Frost, Night Speaks to a Woman, Valentine, Pigtail, Sand

Set 2: Alive Again, O-o-h Child, Money Love & Change, Architect, Clint Eastwood, Plasma, Magilla, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, The Way I Feel, Goodbye Head>First tube

Encore: At the Gazebo, Traveler

Well done Trey Anastasio!