5-31-02, Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV

review submisions to me at dws@netspace.org or dws@gadiel.com

Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2002 01:32:24 -0400
From: Jonathan jbkendall76@yahoo.com
Subject: Trey Reviews:  5/31/02

5/31/02:  Flew
into Vegas the night before from the East Coast and stayed up
all night gambling away at the assorted Strip casinos...running into several
fans doing the same.  This was my first time in the City of Sin and was
eating up the energy of the place.  Woke up Friday afternoon to a HOT 100+ temp day and made my
way over to the lot at the T&M Center.  The lot was one of the deadest I had seen in a while, but
all there were extremely friendly and kind.  The gates were to open at 5:30 so I wandered up to
the entrance around 4:30 and met some very cool Left Coasters who were staked out for a rail
position once the doors opened.  Once inside, the cool air aroused my excitement and I could
barely sit still...knowing that
I would only be 2 rows away from Trey in a few hours.  The opening
band--Spearhead really setup a magical night with an extremely energetic and
upbeat set full of positive messages from an extremely charismatic and
talented leader--Michael Franti.  If you ever get to see these guys, I would
highly recommend them.  They had the crowd leaping into the air, grooving on their feet, and even
doing a little wiggle down on the floor before
springing back into the air.  The already enthused crowd seemed to be
boiling at the end of their set....and then we all got our first glimpse of
Trey for the night.  Trey's face was aglow as he joined the band for a tune
(Sometimes?) that featured a surprising and welcome tease of Smells Like Teen Spirit that created
a mosh pit feel on the first few rows.  The following
Los Lobos set was not really my cup of tea until Trey once again joined them
and they broke into a Dead medley.  This medley (Not Fade Away -> Bertha) brought forth strong
emotions in not only myself but also many of the fans around me.  At this point, there was no
question this would be an extremely special night.  Trey's first set was marked by several
exceptional versions of Push On, Night Speaks, and Simple Twist Up....Trey seemed to be leading
the interlude jams with nice rhythymic chords and the band was extremely tight as they would
isolate certain members/sections of the band before roaring into the jam again.  For those of you
who have not seen Trey tour this year but may have seem them last year, get ready for some
explosive entries back into jams.  Russ and Tony are really masters at the timing that goes into
getting back in.  After watching the Letterman appearance, I was a little put off by Cyro feeling
that he was a little too overt and showy in his
performance....but after seeing him live, he takes the band to a new level.
The first set ended with Michael Franti joining TAB for really exceptional
versions of Small Axe and Higher....during which Michael Franti picked up a
joint that someone had thrown on stage earlier during Trey's set.  He
handed it to Trey who had a chuckle.  Overall, a very fun and energetic
first set.  By this time, it was already almost 11:00 and many people were
wondering if there would even be a 2nd set.  We had already been treated to
over 3.5 hours of music and there were whisperings that it would only be a
one setter.....but it was not to be thank God!  Trey appeared for the second
set and entered into Last Tube...which wound its way through many solo
sections with each one erupting back into a full band jam.  Trey was really
happy and enjoyed coordinating the band and CKs lights moved perfectly with the music.  My first
live version of Pebbles was truly enjoyable...this is a
great tune and a real nice one that I am surprised didn't end up on the
album.  After this, the rumbling began as a figure began to appear from
stage left...the crowd on Ray's side erupted as Page stepped into the light
of the stage and bowed graciously to the screaming crowd.  The next tunes
were blurred by euphoria from watching Trey and Page work through 1st Tube and Bug....at many
points smiling at each other.  No offense to Ray..but you could sense a real presence of the keys
much moreso when Leo was out
there....the notes were perfectly placed and bounced perfectly off of Trey's
guitar notes.  Oh, and the crowd erupted as Page was introduced as Mike
Gordon.  The night ended with an excellent version of SofS that had the
security in the front row nodding their heads.  This show was specatacular
and the crowd was shaking their heads on the way out amazed at what they had seen.  Post Show: 
Hit a jackpot at Mandalay Bay and won $500 and saw a bunch of fans taking over the fanciest
casino in Vegas---pretty damn funny to see the dready heads crusing through the casino as pit
managers stared nervously.

Date: Sat, 01 Jun 2002 11:19:02 -0700 From: Aaron Braganza a_dog333@hotmail.com Subject: Phish News - Update from Vegas Last night Page joined the Trey band for two songs - First Tube and Bug. After Bug (the 2nd set closer), Trey says to us, "Everybody go out and have a good time. Oh, and put all your money on 17." He then proceeds to put up fingers counting out 17. Then after the show, the music on the PA was "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green. So I was CORRECT in my news that the first Phish show will be November 17. Woohoo!!! As for the show itself, it may have been the best show I have ever seen of any band. It's up there anyway. Michael Franti came on for two songs, including Sly's "I wanna take you higher". Then Page came on. And the show just altogether rocked out of this world. Vegas is a fucking blast, there's no better place to party. "Push On 'Til The Day" is probably my favorite song. Anwyay, we're off to the Bellagio for brunch. Who knows what tonight's show will bring? I hope everyone's doing well. -Aaron
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 14:52:08 -0700 From: "Bushik, Dean" DBushik@barksdale.com Subject: REVIEW - Trey 5/29 & 5/31 First off, general comment on the lack of phans in attendance. Everyone who is avoiding this run because of how disappointing Trey's band was last year is really missing out. They are much much tighter this time around, and much better than last year. Many times during the first show I saw at the Greek in LA I was thinking, "Oh, that's what they were trying to do last year." More general comments, I'm surprised Trey isn't more self indulgent with his guitar work. Seems like the perfect opportunity to showcase the screaming solos when he's the main attraction, but he's really rather restrained and sticks with the band sound. He does a bit too much directed orchestration in my opinion. I know he's getting a huge thrill out of it, and many times it does work great, but some times it's a bit strained, like he's flexing his muscles in a mirror for the audience. Yeah, okay, you can make them start and stop on command, now do something interesting with it instead of just doing it for it's own sake. Also, still not thrilled with the fact that he wants his bass line lashed and nailed in place through entire songs (nothing against Tony, because it's clearly what Trey wants, but the guy plays the same repeating riff through the whole of songs with insanely nauseating repetitivety). The new percussionist actually adds a lot, to my surprise. Guy is freaky, though. Mid-song, he pulls out a woven bread basket, but instead of getting some nice warm roti or naan to go with your paneer, wham!, it's covered in bells! I commented to my friend, who's a big Clapton fan, that the truly disturbing thing was that, despite how freaky this guy looked and acted, Ray Cooper is just as freaky (even regularly garbed in a suit). Also, seemed like through the shows the band was having a general bell-off. Pete had a piece of rope he'd occasionally pull out and shake with all kind of bells and crap knotted into it. Okay, brief fashion piece. The tee-shirts on this tour are really nice. I'm surprised all the colors were fairly dark/earthy, as I'd expect bright colors for a summer tour, but the percentage of good designs (obviously this is subjective taste I'm talking here) was very high compared to your average tour (Trey or Phish). They were pretty much all stuff I'd myself wear, and I had a hard time not buying one of each. The orange with the Clint Eastwood pose and the banditos on the back was my favorite (following in line with last year's mariachis in lime with watermelon). Anyways, would have liked brighter colors, but good tees. One last note, the light-show is way too much for this band. Killer lights as always, but the band really doesn't warrant the crowd being repeatedly blinded the way you'd be willing to do seeing the real thing. I saw Phil and Friends a few nights before at the Greek, and they were more deserving of that kind of spectacular light frenzy. Having said that, the show at the Greek was rather good. Also, would like to send prop's out to the Greek for the way they've started handling their pit. They used to cram as many little folding chairs into that space as possible, so it was crowded and uncomfortable. Now, they put the same number of people in without the chairs and there's plenty of elbow room. Great place to see a show obviously. Won't go into the set list and stuff because I'm sure it's been covered, but would like to point out the funk jam the band did to start the second set in the middle of Sand. Trey starts repeating this riff on his guitar until the rest of the band catches on and goes for it as a group. It's the "everybody's got a little light under the sun" part from P-Funk's classic Flashlight. Killer song, they should have just played outright, but I'll take whatever P-Funk from Trey I can get! (more on that later...) Okay, so then on to Vegas. I got to the show at a time that I would have normally considered late, but as I pulled into the venue, I was genuinely afraid the show had been cancelled. No one was there. I got plainly insulted trying to move my extra for the price on the ticket. Got in line with maybe 150 other people right as the doors opened, and had no problem casually strolling in to take the seat of my choice with absolutely no sense of urgency. The floor was wide open also. Okay, so I'm a huge hockey fan, and the show happened to occur on the same day as the Western Conference Finals game 7 between Colorado and Detroit. Hockey usually gets slightly less coverage and attention than pro Soccer here in the states and maybe a little more than Curling, so I figured I'd have no problem not hearing any news on the game until I got home to watch the tape. Well, I get in line behind a half dozen guys from Calgary and end up seated in front of two separate groups of people from Colorado. Man, some days... Good thing the show made up for it... Spearhead wasn't what I was expecting, but not having ever heard them before, that's not surprising. Only band I've seen with a beat-box guy who didn't annoy me. Good thing too, because after their set he came out to talk to his friends in the crowd in the row directly behind me. Good set with maybe a few too many "how's everybody feeling!!!" 's. Los Lobos rocked as usual. I'm always amazed at how good that band is considering how little attention most people in the jam band fan community give them. They ended their set with Trey coming out for the last two songs (as he also did with Spearhead), doing Not Fade Away->Bertha. Okay, a little patronizing for the hippie crowd, but downright awesome none the less. I loved it. Then Trey's first set was high energy and very good. Again, I'll avoid the set list too much, but have to mention the Small Axe with Frenti coming out on vocals. I know it was a bit predictable with Frenti on the bill, but it completely made my night. I love Marley, and the song can bring tears to my eyes. I was a bit disturbed by Frenti turning the song into a drug tolerance ditty ("some people use it for spiritual / some people use it for medical / I just like to pass it around with all my friends and tonight, you are all my friends / if you want the big tree / we use the small axe / aiming to cut it down / so we can pass it around"), which I feel detracts from the solid and very relevant political message, but like he said during his set, we should have fun instead of being intellectual about it. Some guys from Los Lobos also came out for Sly and the Family Stone's Want to Take You Higher. Here's where I'd really have preferred to have heard them do Flashlight or Maggot Brain, being a P-Funk fan. Nothing wrong with the song they did, but knowing how much better the funk can be... Later in the second set (maybe during Burlap Sack?) the horn section did do another P-Funk quote from Tear the Roof Off, doing the "la-da-dadee-la-da-dada-da-dada" bit before going into another part of the song, so the funk was served. And then in the second set came Page. Wow, you forget how good they are, don't you? When I saw Ray leaving the stage to be replaced by Page, I was excited, but was kind of thinking, "Hey, Ray was good, I don't know how much of an impact Page is going to have of these songs". Yipes! How I had forgotten. The difference was huge. These four guys in Phish are just simply too good together. They should be legally bound to play with each other whether they want to or not for the good of society. Wow. That's about all I can say (translated to it was really really good to hear Page and Trey together). Okay, so that was pretty much it. Reading Aaron's review of this show, I'm curious as to how Trey's fingering out the number 17 leads to a November 17th possible reformation date. It did seem odd how much Trey stressed the number, but interested as to what other hints there were to lead one to believe we could actually have that wonderful little bits of our lives back. -Deano
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