Review and Photos by Matt SchwenkeThough the days of seeing the spectacle known as Phish are no longer, Trey Anastasio and his 70 Volt Parade's performance at the Eagles Ballroom kept the Phish tradition of jamming alive and well while still showcasing Trey's exceptional song-writing and mastery of the guitar. Starting the first of two sets off, Trey and company provided danceable beats and pulsing rock in the instrumentals "Nights Speaks to a Woman" and "Cayman Review." Mixing in a handful of new material, Trey dabbled in a little reggae and wandered through a host of scales and progressions before simply shredding the guitar apart on "Mr. Completely." Adding some flashes of heavy percussion along the way, drummer Skeeto Valdez did well to command the rhythm, and bassist Peter Chwazik was solid in linking guitar and drums together. The aforementioned trio were especially tight on a very funky version of Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer," which closed the first set and kept a buzz going in the crowd that lasted through the intermission.
Coming back out on stage with the usual smile on his face, Trey got more than the barefoot dancers in the crowd to groove along to his version of Billy Preston's funky hit "Will It Go "Round In Circles." Keeping the danceability going, the anthemic "46 Days" followed and included a slow breakdown that featured Trey playing fast riffs and bending notes like only he can at low volume. Building the tune back up, the group eventually ended in accapella rounds with the audience helping all along. Adding width to the already fat sound that Trey creates, keys players Les Hall and Ray Paczkowski helped take the spacey sounds of "Push On 'Til The Day" and "Space Oddity" way out with their well-contrasting styles. Wether or not I was hearing things when I thought I heard a few teases of "Iron Man" in the second set, I can say with complete confidence that the band ended the night with an encore performance of "I Am The Walrus" that was exciting and lively.
As new fans may find it is easy to be blown away by the talent of Trey's improvisation and all-around musicianship, this performance was like catching up with an old friend for a Phish fan.
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