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Published: 2002/06/14
by Cory Tressler

Trey Anastasio, The Fox Theatre, Detroit, MI- 6/7

“It’s Too Hot For That Hat, Cyro”

Groove. That’s the obvious word yet the apt one that best describes Trey Anastasio and his solo band. From the moment they hit the stage at the beautiful Fox Theatre in Detroit, Trey and his band were grooving. Night Speaks to a Woman was the opener and my oh my’ was it some opener. Now I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Trey as a member Phish, and I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing him solo in every incarnation he has presented. I saw his first solo show in Ann Arbor, Michigan when it was just Trey (guitar impresario) with Tony and Russ as his backing rhythm section. Then, when Trey added horns to his band last year I was able to see the Anastasio/Medeski explosion that was Deer Creek, and then a sweaty summer night in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. At all of these shows I went away happy, but none of these shows (even the Creek with John Medeski) can compare to how his band sounds this year. Amazingly tight at all times, with some great individual interplay between Trey and each member of his talented backing band.

Night Speaks to a Woman was a great start, complete with a long (20 minutes) jammed out instrumental section. Throughout the night, the four-piece horn section walked on and off stage depending on the song and often added extra percussion to the grooves when horns weren’t needed. These moments of Bass, Drums, Percussion, and Trey greatly added to the flow of the show and made the times when the horn section went all out horn crazy really special and memorable.

The first set only’ consisted of four songs, but was completely satisfying. Each song was action packed and explosive. Trey did not rely on his superior guitar skills to carry any moment of the first set, instead he let the full sound of his original melodies do all the work. The horns and especially the newly added flutist were the stars of the first set, and they gave each one of Trey’s compositions new life and energy.

Set breaks are set breaks, much like all that come before and like all that will come in the future. But, thanks to Amber Groen my set break was filled with beers and cheesecake. Although I may be the furthest thing from a VIP, the luxury suites at the Fox treated our party of people very well.

Set two started off where the first set had left off. The combination of Tube Top Wobble and First Tube kept the funk hot and spicy. If a stranger to Trey’s music had been in attendance at the Fox, First Tube would have been their first opportunity to see who the star’ of the show really was. Trey’s guitar work was fabulous, and the jam ragged on for a solid twenty minutes. This First Tube was very intense, and you could feel the vibrations in the floor from all the dancing and shaking that was going on in the crowd.

After the raging Tubes, Trey began his inter-set acoustic cool down. Ray Dawn Balloon and Discern allowed the pumpin’ crowd a chance to catch their breath before the groove came screaming back in the form of Sand. Trey’s guitar work once again took center stage during the show closing Sand. Firey and intense is the best way to describe the Fox version of Sand. Trey was knee deep in the groove and his playing made the entire theatre erupt with appreciation.

The encore was representative of the entire concert. The beautifully melodic At The Gazebo was like a good night kiss, and Sultans of Swing was one more shot of rock for Detroit Rock City. Sultans was the only cover of the night, and was a very appropriate way to rap up a concert in the hometown of Motown, the motor city madman Ted Nugent, Bob Seger, and the pyrotechniquely-enhanced Kiss. Like always Trey let his playing and song writing do all the talking, and once again he left the audience tired, sweaty, and satisfied.

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