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Review:Trey Anastasio & Mike Gordon with The Duo

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Trey Anastasio

with Mike Gordon, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo (G.R.A.B.)

Hummingbird Center - 07-18-2006 - Toronto, ON

by: Tim Batke

Trey Anastasio

Photo by: Mike Bouchard

On the ticket it said TREY & MIKE W/ THE DUO, I have wondered to myself is that the name of this group? For that matter, is this even a group or just a side project for the summer of 2006? I do not know the answer to that question, but I hope it is more than a one off tour for GRAB or BRAG the acronyms that have been tossed around online to describe Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo.

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The Trey & Mike w/ the Duo concert at the Hummingbird Centre in Toronto, Ontario not including their performance of three songs (“Boogie On Reggae Woman,” “the Ocean” and “Sex Machine”) at the Century Room in Toronto the night before for a private party, was their first gig outside of the United States of America. Grab which is how I will refer to the band started out at Bonnaroo and then began a run of eleven shows with Phil Lesh and Friends beginning on June 28 in Raleigh, North Carolina and ending on July 12 in Essex Junction, Vermont. After seeing the Darien Center, New York gig, the tour closer with Phil Lesh in Vermont and gig Toronto, I feel that Grab is getting better with each and every gig.

Let us face it, Trey and Mike have been performing together since longer than many of you reading this have been alive, so they know each other inside out or shall I say inside in? The Duo may have not been going at it as long, but they have known each other since children and they have been performing with Mike off and on since 2004. That said adding Trey into the mix created a new band. Especially since Trey and Mike have brought new material to the sets and the majority of the material performed originates from Trey's solo output.

One of the two big surprises from the Hummingbird show was the fact that Grab opened the set with the Phish song “Sand.” Many would argue that it started out as a Trey Anastasio Band song, but it still ended up on Phish 2000 release ‘Farmhouse'. So performing “Sand” is as close as it has gotten to all four members Grab performing a Phish song. Leading up to the Hummingbird show it had seemed like an unspoken rule that this group that resembles Phish based on instrumentation would not perform material from Phish's songbook, which even up and until the private party gig the night before included the covers. So the Toronto gig definitely started off with a bang.

Grab growing tighter as a group was evident in their extended jams at the end of both “Goodbye Head” and “Suskind Hotel.” Specifically the build up in “Goodbye Head” had such a Phishy feel that you could close your eyes and it was as if you were listening to “the Squirming Coil.” The comfort level was far past what I saw at Darien Lake PAC a little over a week before. Another example of this could be found where Trey was hitting every note on the Duo song “Something for Rockets,” which could not have been said at Darien Lake.

Marco Benevento

Photo by: Mike Bouchard

The crowd really appreciated the acoustic set of Trey on guitar and Mike on banjo mid way through the show. Opening with “Waste,” everyone seemed to be singing along when it came time for the chorus. That did not occur when the next song by Jimi Hendrix entitled “You've Got Me Floating,” found on ‘Axis: Bold as Love.' It seemed like much of the crowd had never listened to Hendrix's sophomore effort. The crowd did seem to know the Willie Nelson classic “On the Road Again,” and the Phish song “Mexican Cousin” for the acoustic set closer.

To close the set, Grab performed the Who track “Who Are You.” Of all players on stage Joe Russo really stood out on this song, as he was quite capable of taking on the late great Keith Moon's bombastic drum style. Trey even recreated the Pete Townshend windmill with his arm nearing the songs climax which drew cheers from the crowd.

The next big surprise in the show came when Grab came back out for the encore and Trey said how he thought Toronto is such a beautiful city full of beautiful people, something I recall Trey saying back during one of the two shows by Phish at the Molson Amphitheatre in either 1999 or 2000. Then Trey spoke of the private party at the Century Room the night before, where someone requested a certain song by the Canadian group the Guess Who. Trey went on to say how he loved the band and the first tape he ever had was ‘the Best of the Guess Who' and with that they went into “These Eyes,” a Top 10 single in both Canada and the USA back in 1969. It ended humorously enough with Marco making Trey run through the big ending of the song repeatedly running up the scale beyond the original composition, until Trey just laughed and stopped the last time through.

The set ended with the new song “Dragonfly” and the Trey ‘Shine' song “Tuesday” which was fitting since it was a Tuesday night.

I look forward to what all of these musicians do in the future together or apart, though I do hope that next year around this time I will be seeing another set by Grab or Brag or as the ticket stated Trey & Mike w/ the Duo.


Trey & Mike w/ the Duo

Hummingbird Centre

Tuesday July 18, 2006


1. Sand

2. Drifting

3. Trouble

4. Sleep Again

5. Something For Rockets

6. Goodbye Head >

7. Plasma

8. Waste*

9. You've Got Me Floating*

10. On The Road Again*

11. Mexican Cousin*

12. Suskind Hotel

13. Who Are You


14. These Eyes (Guess Who)

15. Dragonfly

16. Tuesday


*Trey on acoustic guitar, Mike on banjo

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