On Sunday, Trey Anastasio brought their namesake band to New Haven, CT for their first performance at Westville Music Bowl to wrap up the first weekend of the outfit’s 2021 tour.
“This place is costs“Anastasio exclaimed after an opening jam for the” Set Your Soul Free “show.” I like that, man. You’re all there.
Anastasio, for his part, was referring to the seemingly comfortable yet spacious layout that has made the former professional tennis battlefield a premier destination for live music in the Northeast throughout its inaugural summer. For the New Haven crowd, his statement resonated with a double frequency: After nearly five months of gradually growing pod-style shows, Sunday night’s Trey Anastasio Band show marked the biggest concert ever for Westville Music. Bowl.
A lot has happened for Trey Anastasio and his company since TAB’s last weekend in late January / early February 2020 in New Orleans. After Trey released an album of new material from his New York apartment, TAB appeared in various iterations throughout Trey’s eight weeks. Beacon jams residence. The sudden death of the founding bassist Tony Markellis earlier this year, these concerts marked the end of an era for the group.
Even after the announcement of the band’s new bassist, Dezron Douglas, the programming changed again when the saxophonist James casey revealed his recent colon cancer diagnosis and announced that another decorated player, Cochemea “Cheme” Gastelum, would perform in his place during the fall 2021 trek alongside Trey, Dezron, drummer Russ lawton, keyboardist Ray paczkowski, trumpeter / singer Jennifer hartswick, trombonist Nathalie Cressman, and percussionist Cyro baptiste.
Let’s not forget, there was also the summer of 2021 Phishing tour, an impressive national race in which Anastasio experimented with a new stable of low-register effects and gave several of his quarantine tunes their first outings.
Westville’s performance was unsurprisingly imbued with an element of novelty on all of these fronts. Here is a new group formation working on new tracks (including TAB’s debuts of “… And Flew Away” and “I Never Left Home”) and throwing old songs in a new light (“Quantegy” and “Mr. Completely ”were also menacing as“ Ether Sunday ”was merry, the“ Sand ”jam sounded almost Floyd-ian, and the Latin vibes were louder than ever all night) at what is sure to become a new stop on the tour.
In many ways, Trey Anastasio Band’s Westville debut was uniquely “2021,” a relic of a dawning era, a new chapter from an old book that could only have been written with the last eighteen. months of perspective, difficulties and growth in hand.
But while some of that novelty may make the headlines on this tour, the music created by this band is sure to be worth its own attention, without an asterisk. No, it’s not quite the same TAB you’re used to. It’s not entirely different either. As we’ve seen over the past few years in all of Trey’s different projects, hard lines and creative silos seem to lose their significance over time. TAB songs become Phish. Phishing songs become TAB. Ghosts of the forest goes both ways. They are all part of the same narrative, and as it unfolds the sound continues to evolve. The story continues.
Click below to check out a selection of videos from the show and scroll down to browse a photo gallery via David Gray (@graypeakimages). Stream the full show via LivePhish here.
For a full list of upcoming Trey Anastasio Band concerts, click here.
Setlist: Trey Anastasio Band | Westville Music Bowl | New Haven, Connecticut | 09/16/21
Set One: Free your soul, Olivia,… and fly away, revive> Ghost, Liquid time, I never left the house, the night speaks to a woman
Second series: in the rounds, camel ride, sand, curlew cry> Quantégie> Dérive> Voyageur, M. Complément
Again: Ether Sunday, first hit