We got there about two and a half hours before the start of the show and endured a cold, rainy hour before we made it inside the doors. God bless Emily, who ran in ahead of us and secured an incredibly good spot in the second row, in the dead center of the stage. By far the closest I have ever been to any concert in my life. The wait was almost unbearable, but luckily we met this guy who had some great stories to tell. He had followed Phish from '94-'97, had met Trey, and was even good friends with the Dude of Life.
When Trey finally came out, we were crazy excited. It just felt sort of surreal to be so close to him. His first set was almost entirely acoustic. Highlights for me were Backwards Down the Number Line, Theme from the Bottom, Halley's Comet, and Dirt. He got the crowd singing along the different parts and, as usual, seemed to be having a grand time up on stage.
Then he invited the backup singers on stage for Let Me Lie, for sure one of my favorite TAB songs. Trey had his eyes closed and was really sincere, which seemed sort of funny given the kind of goofy lyrics the song had. We also got a really sincere Wading in the Velvet Sea, another beautiful number which seemed to give our last "soft satisfaction." For Heavy Things, the whole band came out, and I was jumping up and down like a mad man with my friend Tim.
Trey covered Hey Ya!, which I had heard about earlier on the tour, but it was absolutely hilarious and awesome and energy building to experience it from about 7 feet away. Push On 'Til the Day, though, was unreal. Trey did such a great job of building crowd energy up throughout that first set, and went absolutely nuts with that final song of the set. I lost my mind jumping around, and Trey just seemed to be having the time of his life up there, too. It was an incredible end to a really solid set.
Gotta Jibboo opened the second set, and the light show really exploded. Ocelot was kick-ass, with a nice touch of horns in the background. He continued with several TAB originals, all of which were great fun for us. And then, what? The girls who were in the front row decide to go to the bathroom, and the three of us get to move up to the front! And then, what? Trey whips out THE DEVIL WENT DOWN TO GEORGIA! We were thrashing our heads, Trey absolutely nailed it, and was watching us dance for almost the entire song. He had that silly grin, with his top teeth sticking out, just jamming out of his mind. So that? That was insanely cool.
He then did Night Speaks to a Woman, per request of "the guy in the front," who was right behind me. That song just kicked some butt. His eyes, once again, were on us for quite a bit of that tune, which was just the coolest feeling. And then, Ether Sunday, a slow-down jazzy tune that may have been my favorite of the second set. It was unbelievable, Trey would walk over and smile at the girl doing these slow trumpet solos, and then would creep back over toward the front row and would look to ME for approval. Here was one of my musical heroes, just playing a stellar show, and going back and forth between this nasty soloist and me, smiling at the beauty of the moment. I just nodded, gave him some thumbs up, smiled, and soaked it in.
He followed with First Tube to close the set. He gave us a really nice jam with that one, and tore down the house. It was just crazy, I was actually front-center to see one of my favorite musicians of all time, and he was tearing down the house. The encore kicked some more ass, and left us all really satisfied. Having such a great time and watching Trey have so much fun on stage made this concert just an incredible experience. I had a big smile on my face as I cleared out of the auditorium on a cold February evening.