Trey Anastasio Band at Ogden Theatre, 1/28/14
The Trey Anastasio Band kicked off its spring tour in Denver last night and debuted a couple of new songs in front of a sold-out crowd whose members had been lined up down the block and across the street before the Ogden's doors even opened. The last time the band was in town, in 2010, the setup had an acoustic first set, but this tour features the full band for both sets, including newer member James Casey on sax.
The night was a mix of older songs and a couple of brand-new songs with a cover, as is standard for a Trey Anastasio Band set list. There were plenty of songs from Traveler, with "Valentine" showing up early; this version was fairly routine but upbeat. After a delicate ballad with gorgeous harmonies from the backup vocalists, the audience got to boogeying as the familiar beginning notes of "Gotta Jibboo" were played.
A high spirited "Magilla" got the place hopping as every player got their turn to shine, including drummer Russ Lawton who was a particular standout. "Curlew's Call" brought a tropical dance feel to the energy with horns sounding like they came straight out of Cuba. We really got to see Anastasio showcase some skills on the bluesy "Dark and Down," as a white light shone behind him and placed him in silhouette alone on stage, making the sad, yearning notes seem all that more lonely.
"Gone," a beautiful song off Party Time and re-released on the 2013 vinyl album Blue Ash and Other Suburbs, always evokes The NeverEnding Story theme song with bombastic "oooooh's" from the backup vocalists and a dizzy synth beat. The band got the chatty audience's full attention with "Burlap Sack & Pumps," a funk bash that had Anastasio and Casey in a dueling battle on their respective instruments. "Pigtail," another Traveler cut, came next, and the band ended the first set with "Tuesday," with Anastasio dancing a little back and forth throughout.
"Money, Love and Change" kicked the second set with a bang, with the band getting into a hot, chunky groove that was really pushed forward by the organ playing of Ray Paczkowski, who also stole the show with a dynamic organ solo on "Cayman Review." "Drifting" brought the tempo down a little for a breather, but once "Sand" started up, the place lit up.
A disco ball overhead shone as purple and pink lights flooded the stage, making it look like a modern day Studio 54. As if that wasn't hot enough, Natalie Cressman began rapping quickly in Spanish (French?), when covering the song "1977" by Ana Tijoux, a song that was played on Breaking Bad and in the game FIFA 11. People hooted and hollered, and Hartswick on trumpet played some Spaghetti Western style melodies. After the song Anastasio introduced her saying, "All the way from Barcelona, Natalie Chainsaw Cressman!"
A nice rendition of 'Architect" came next as a light shined on Anastasio's guitar and he shot the beam of light out into the audience on various faces. It was a really simple lighting design, but it really did the job. The familiar first notes of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" got everyone cheering even more, as Anastasio put his musical skills up against the devil.
The highlight of the show was when the band played "Mr. Completely." Tony Markellis's bass provided the foundation and rock of the song, as the others took turns with solos instructed by Anastasio's hand signals. Ray Paczkowski threw in a dirty clavinet solo as the song moved into a beautiful, ambient zone that stuck around and transitioned gracefully into "Plasma." The marching drum beat made the upbeat song a great way to end the set, with Anastasio holding a long sustained note that caused an eruption of cheers.
The encore started with "Shine" and was followed by an acoustic version of "Heavy Things"and the "First Tube" people had been hoping for all night. As per usual, "First Tube" left the crowd elated as they walked out into the night cheering and talking excitedly about what's to come tonight.
Trey Anastasio Band
Ogden Theatre - 1/28/14
04. Silver Smoke #
05. Gotta Jibboo
08. Curlew's Call
09. Dark And Down
11. Burlap Sack And Pumps
12. Pulsing Days #
02. Money, Love and Change
03. Caymen Review
05. Greyhound Rising
08. 1977 *
10. The Devil Went Down To Georgia
11. Mr. Completely >
15. Heavy Things
16. First Tube @
# New TAB originals
* New cover originally by Ana Tijoux
@ With band introductions
Personal Bias: While I don't want a horn section at a Phish show, I love the hell out of them in Trey Anastasio Band.
Random Detail: I didn't buy the poster because it didn't have the year on it. Details are important!
By the Way: Didn't see any extra tickets outside.
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