Everynight Charley

Trey Anastasio & Classic TAB at Brooklyn Steel / May 21, 2024

Ernest Joseph “Trey” Anastasio III is best known as the lead vocalist and lead guitarist of Phish, the jam band he co-founded in 1983 while attending college in Vermont. In addition to his work with Phish, Anastasio has released 11 solo albums, and has participated in numerous side projects, including the Trey Anastasio Band, Oysterhead, Ghosts of the Forest, Phil Lesh and Friends, and Surrender to the Air. Now living in Manhattan with his wife and two daughters, he also jams frequently at local concerts by musicians including Billy Strings and Goose. Last year, Rolling Stone named him number 53 in a list of the 250 greatest guitarists of all time.

Anastasio’s latest project is Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB, a side project of his side project the Trey Anastasio Band. This quartet has reunited him with founding TAB drummer Russ Lawton, longtime keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, and bassist Dezron Douglas. Unlike the regular Trey Anastasio Band, Classic TAB has no horns, extra percussion, or background vocalists other than the foursome. While this ensemble has not recorded yet under the Classic name, the musicians began working together in 2023 and toured throughout the month of May in midwestern America and Canada. The tour concludes with a three-night run at Brooklyn Steel on May 21-23.

Anastasio led the band onto the stage a little at 8 p.m. Unlike most other performing bands, Anastasio and company did not have printed set lists taped to the floor by each musicians’ station. The program would be a free-flowing repertoire led by Anastasio’s whims and inspirations. Over the past 40 years, however, Anastasio has composed more than 150 songs for Phish, so, without surprise, half of the set on the first night at Brooklyn Steel was comprised of reworked Phish songs. The other half originated from Anastasio’s solo product.

Photo by Everynight Charley

The sound was clear and crisp, never overbearing. The first set was largely on the soft side, with the beginning of the second set, the rhythms started to percolate during “No Men in No Man’s Land” and “…And Flew Away.” Each song began with an instrumental groove, led into verses, choruses, and extended melodic jams, before reprising the lyrics and closing. It hardly mattered what song was played, as each song drifted into waves of cascading guitar and keyboard leads. The band cut deep grooves, thanks in large part to the steadfast rhythms provided by Douglas and Lawton. Whenever Anastasio stepped back from his guitar leads, Paczkowski jumped in with pleasant keyboard fills. The jams ventured from jazz and funk to rock, and were always smooth and tasteful.

For the most part, the stage lights remained bright enough for the audience to see the musicians clearly. As the second set started jumping, however, the formerly calm lights began spinning at a dizzying pace. Perhaps this accelerated flashing was designed to escalate the excitement, but too much is too much and it became distracting to the golden moments which the musicians were offering.

Finally, at about 11:15 p.m., as the encore began, Anastasio switched to acoustic guitar for the first time in the night’s program for “When the Words Go Away” and “Heavy Things.” The night closed with Phish’s popular “Ghost.” In all, Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB produced an exceptional concert, perhaps as good or better than any Phish concert.


Set 1

  1. The Moma Dance (Phish cover)
  2. Back on the Train (Phish cover)
  3. Steam (Phish cover)
  4. Drifting (Trey Anastasio song)
  5. Spin (Trey Anastasio song)
  6. Pillow Jets (Trey Anastasio song)
  7. Wolfman’s Brother (Phish cover)

Set 2

  1. No Men in No Man’s Land (Phish cover)
  2. …And Flew Away (Trey Anastasio song)
  3. The Kid in the Sky
  4. Monsters (Phish cover)
  5. Evolve (Trey Anastasio song)
  6. The Well (Trey Anastasio song)
  7. Everything’s Right (Phish cover)


  1. When the Words Go Away (Trey Anastasio song)
  2. Heavy Things (Phish cover)
  3. Ghost (Phish cover)
Photo by Everynight Charley