By Joe Hubbs
Trey Anastasio of Phish fame brought his own band to the Landmark on Saturday, Jan. 19, with all the jamming one would expect to hear.
The jam band Phish, fronted by guitarist Trey Anastasio, has been playing across the country for adoring fans for close to 30 years. It’s not uncommon for members of popular bands to attempt to step outside of their scene with solo albums or side projects, but few have succeeded like Trey has with the Trey Anastasio Band, which came to Syracuse’s Landmark Theatre Saturday, Jan. 19.
As fans began pouring into the Landmark on Saturday, the air was abuzz with chatter—topics ranging from Cuse’s remarkable basketball victory over Louisville to which Phish songs we were going to be lucky enough to hear that night. All the talk quickly erupted into cheers as Trey and his band took the stage and launched into “Valentine,” off of their new album, Traveler. Fast-paced and positive, this song set the tone for what would be a continuously joyous and exciting night as fans unleashed their air instruments of choice.
The Trey Anastasio Band successfully brings a unique vibe and sound to the already much-loved jamming Phish is known for. This fusion was immediately demonstrated in the second song of the night, “Magilla,” where Trey’s trumpet, trombone, and saxophone players added a big band swing to an already upbeat Phish tune. The rest of the first set contained mostly songs from their new album, but culminated in a monstrous performance of “First Tube,” a Phish favorite that built up to a wild release that left everyone breathless from screaming and dancing. After the band struck the last chord, thunderous cheers of gratitude erupted as Trey and the band exited the stage.
SU’s basketball victory pervaded the night; cheers of “Let’s go Orange” erupted in between sets and individual songs during the second set. Trey was clearly amused, joining in on the fun by using a cowbell to mimick the echoes of the crowd to roars of encouragement. Throughout the night Trey made sure to remind the crowd it was the Trey Anastasio Band and never the Trey Anastasio Show. Filled with breathtaking solos by every member of the band, the entire concert was an outstanding example of how one musician’s genius can transcend genres and bring together a variety of instruments and a loving crowd.
There will always be disappointed Phish fans at the end of a Trey Anastasio concert, but that number pales in comparison to the number of new fans suddenly appreciative of the differences in their music. I walked into the Landmark that night expecting to leave as one of those disappointed fans, but ended up falling in love with his alternative sound and only being disappointed that he didn’t play longer.