Tales of Mental Tangle #8: Is Trey the Weak Link?

The Skinny
When it comes to Mental Tangle topics, we’ve generally kept things light: best version of Hood; best festival set; best jam sandwiches. Even when we’ve discussed a more serious topic, like tiered pricing, we’ve never featured an opinion that would offend the sensibilities of any Phish fan.

Until now. Though any attentive listener would agree on the improvement in Trey’s ability to play his compositions since the band returned in 2009, once the composed sections end, so does the agreement. Where some people see a rejuvenated man finding a new energy in his middle years, others see a former genius whose light is fading with remarkable rapidity.

Zim had the idea not only to suss this all out in a Mental Tangle, but to double the number of voices, in order to get a variety of different views on the state of Trey’s playing. And so here we are, debating the question that many have thought of, but few have dared to ask: is Trey the weak link?

Now before we get started, a quick note: this is only about Trey’s improvisatory skills on the guitar. We will not consider his songwriting, his flubs or lack thereof, or his kit work on HYHU, which I think we can all agree has been just stunning.

The Mental Tanglers
Arguing in the negative (i.e., Trey is NOT the weak link): The Relentless Communicator, Aaron Hawley, and the Thinker Out on the Page, Zim. Aaron’s favorite Trey moment: Divided Sky. Zim’s favorite Trey moment: 11/22/97 Halley’s

Arguing in the affirmative (that Trey IS the weak link): Guy Forget and guitarist/Trey scholar Nick Richter. Guy’s favorite Trey moment: a tie between about a million of them. I’ll pick two: the climax of 8/17/97 Gin; the Supernote at 15:35 in 2/28/03 Tweezer. Nick’s favorite: the 6/13/94 Stash.


Opening Statement: Guy Forget
Guy ForgetSince we’ve chosen a polarizing topic for this Mental Tangle, I thought it would be appropriate to start things off with a point that I think we can all agree on: none of us would be here writing, and this site would not exist in this form, were it not for Trey’s creative output. Whether it’s his genre-defying compositions, his electrifying riffs, or his nerdy sense of humor that float your particular boat, I don’t think any of us would challenge the assertion that Trey has proven himself to be a brilliant and innovative musician.

Furthermore, no one would deny the many reminders he’s given us over the years that he is, in fact, human: the many botched compositions in 2003-2004; the questionable reliance on keys in 1999 and drums a few years earlier. Even 12/31/95 and 4/3/98, two of the best shows ever, both get flubbotronic in the fugue section of Reba.

But what we’ve seen in the two years since Phish reunited is a different kind of thing. Trey’s gotten through the compositions just fine; his reliance on certain pedals has thankfully gone the way of his mini-keyboard. The trouble isn’t what he has done, it’s what he hasn’t. He hasn’t socked you straight in the gut like he used to all the time. He hasn’t taken his trademark left turns when it looked like there was no direction but straight ahead. He hasn’t played with what OPT called his “cocky stage swagger.”

And what’s so frustrating about all this is that it all takes place against what’s arguably an incredible backdrop that features jams like the Augusta Reba and the Berkeley Cities. But most of the time, these jams happen in spite of Trey, not because of him. And while the other guys in the band have always been great, it has always been Trey that’s been the driver of the majority of Phish’s creative improvisational moments. That’s not true anymore; now, Trey is the weak link.

In one sense, you are not wrong. But in another sense, you are deeply, exceptionally wrong. Yes, Trey has taken the longest to get back in he jam saddle. There have been times when he has been overshadowed by his band members. There have been other times when he has, for whatever reason, murdered otherwise healthy, developing jams. But when you make a sweeping statement that Trey is the weak link of Phish, you’re making a number of suppositions that are simply absurd.

First, your point about cocky stage swagger implies that you equate growing older with growing worse. Of course the stage energy is somewhat different than before–that’s what happens when you reach your mid-forties. He is still the emotional and physical leader of the “hardest working band in rock and roll.” I hope I have the same energy Trey does when I’m his age–and that’s without the same prodigious substance abuse as Big Red. Understand, I’m not making an apology for Trey’s energy; I’m saying I like it just how it is. He is still fun, vibrant, goofy and intense–perhaps just a bit more refined than before. Sure we could all go around wishing that we and everyone around us were exactly the same as we were 15 years ago, but that seems like a pretty sad way to be.

Second, the jamming. What you call weak, I call collaborative. What you call directionless, I call exploratory. What you call unnecessary jam abortions, I call…well, never mind. In truth, it has taken longer for Trey to find his “voice” in the jams again, but that’s because his voice is the most important one. His playing has been sloppy and uninspired at times, but at other times it’s been exceptional and brilliant. The great news is that those moments of brilliance are coming closer and closer together. For evidence, look no further than the many exceptional, Trey-led jams of the NYE run.

The point is, Trey has been searching for a new voice over the last two years, and the exploring he’s done has started to bear some seriously sweet fruit. Maybe the journey has been rough at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I mean, isn’t that supposedly why we love this band in the first place? Your move, hombre.


I would like to start out by making it perfectly clear that I appreciate and fully realize everything Trey has done for Phish. If you wanted to choose an individual as the poster boy for the band, there’s only one choice. What he has accomplished as a guitar player, composer and overall rock star is easily hall of fame material. As a guitar player myself, and a huge Phish fan, I love Trey. But you can’t live in the past, and right now, Trey is underachieving, uninspired and simply not as good as he used to be. And unfortunately for Trey, Phish has a very critical fan base which has always been embraced and understood by the band. They set a standard, and if 2004 showed us anything, it’s that if that standard isn’t met, people get upset.

Now don’t get me wrong, ’09 and ’10 are leaps and bounds better than ’04, but I’m not going to get excited because the band I go to see knows how to play their own songs. On the improvisatory side of things, I fully expected them to ease into jamming gradually, and I do believe the jams have been getting better for the most part.

So to start off, I want to address how Trey simply doesn’t attack the guitar anymore. Check out this video (5:00 mark):

Trey attacks every note in the song, and is noticeably more focused than I have ever seen him in 3.0. Everything is sharp and precise, and he isn’t just rolling through scales. It isn’t even a jam song, but every minute is played like it matters. Even after segueing perfectly into Tweeprise, they don’t feel the need to finish with a cliche “rockstar ending,” like so many Phish tunes now end.

Next, check out the 10-31-94 Reba:

Starting at 10:15, for example, Trey is actually listening to what each other is playing and feeding off it, weaving in and out of different patterns with the common goal of a huge crescendo at the end.

Nowadays, he doesn’t look as focused on his own playing or what the rest of the band is doing. I think he wants to appeal to everyone now, which is why I have been saying that Phish still puts on an amazing rock show, but mediocre Phish shows. There is more of a formula to the gigs these days. This is more like the early nineties, and is something I would be fine with…if they were still playing with the focus and energy of the early nineties.

His approach to the guitar is now mostly lazy and uninspired, and he relies more on muscle memory and whipping mindlessly through scales without much direction. You really don’t hear patterns and themes anymore in jams–even above-par ones. The specific jams that serve as arguments for ’09 and ’10 shows are, like Guy said, in spite of Trey rather than because of him. You know of some instances where Trey is specifically ripping it up? Listen to see if you hear any locking in with the rest of the band. Is Trey actually creating themes in the jams with the rest of the band? Some of the best moments in Phish improvisation are when they are rolling along, then bring it down to almost nothing in volume, only to bring the jam back up to a furious climax. Trey never does this in 3.0. In turn, because he is the leader, the rest of the band just plays loud and constant too, and nothing really stands out besides the fact that yes, all of these guys can obviously play, and yes, even without thinking much, they mesh very well.

As far as age goes, I don’t think Guy was saying age makes musicians worse–he was calling out the decline in Trey’s confidence. Trey used to be a guitarist who could seemingly pull anything off, and that attitude was reflected in the way he carried himself. The reason that’s not true now probably has more to do with laziness and lack of inspiration than age. Age can actually be a good thing. For example, I think Mike realizes how fortunate he is to have the freedom to do almost anything he wants musically, and he takes advantage of it. Instead of being content with his playing and what he’s accomplished with Phish, he is always trying to get better, always trying new things. When your instrument makes you millions, why not continue to master it with all the time and opportunities you have?

To sum it all up, I think dynamics, patterns and overall focus are missing from Trey’s playing. This also affects the entire band, just like everyone complains that Trey is a “jam killer.” Again, Trey isn’t awful, and I am not trying to take anything away from all he has done the past 25 years. You could say he has nothing to prove, but when I see all the advances in Mike’s bass skill alone, I just can’t accept that as an excuse. People do change, and life priorities do as well, but Trey has to know there are people out there like me who love Phish for the things he strove to make Phish all about. Also, apparently guitar tone changes as well, but that’s for another time…

I don’t know, guys, I think that what those in the “Trey’s-the-weakest-link” camp are asking for is impossible and absurd. It’s 2011. It’s not 1994. While it’s seems possible to get Trey to just play everything like he did fifteen years ago, it still seems like a bit much to ask. Phish is a different band now than they were then, and besides, if they were the same band, what fun would that be?

Trey’s “lack of swagger” has nothing to do with the grey hairs that are now appearing in his trademark beard. It has everything to do with the fact that Trey has nothing left to prove to you, me, or anyone else. While it seems convenient to toss out some great examples of Big Red shredding in the mid-90s, he’s a completely different guitar player now. He’s universally respected as a virtuoso at his instrument. Phish can do whatever they like, whenever they like, without having to prove themselves within the confines of the music industry. Trey’s relaxed, and not nearly as hungry as he was fifteen years ago, and that’s fine. His obsessive attention to detail propelled Phish from clubs to theaters to arenas in a flash, and without him, that never would have happened. Now he’s taken the foot off the gas a bit, and Phish is a better band for it.

Your argument that Mike, Page and Fish outshine Trey couldn’t have happened in 1992. There was no room in this band for anyone else. The other three guys were simply filling in blanks that Trey just couldn’t play himself. Now, they have a voice in the band. You can hear them steering the ship now. You can’t hear that on a lot of shows prior to the late-90s. Trey knows that in music, less is often more. Fewer notes can have more effect than many notes. It’s a more mature approach than the band took on their way to the top, and the end result is addition by subtraction.

You say the jams aren’t there, but clearly they are. In addition, they’re appearing with a similar frequency as they did back in the halcyon days of the mid-90s. Phish just played more shows then. You can throw out more “epic” versions of tunes from those days, because there are more to choose from. Everyone will acknowledge that there’s no era of Phish that has a monopoly on those “hair stands up on the back of your neck” moments, so why trash Trey for the way he’s playing these days? That’s what they were going for in 1994, 2004, and 2010. They were successful every time.

Phish is an arena rock band. You might like that, or you might hate that, but that’s the truth. The way Trey’s playing right now is perfectly suited for the situation, and Phish is among the best in the business at reaching everyone in the room, no matter how big the room is. To ask Trey to play like he was playing back when the rooms were smaller just seems crazy. Trey’s creating some of Phish’s finest moments right now. I’d hate for anyone miss or minimize that while they were pining away for 1995.

Guy ForgetI commonly hear that those who criticize Trey must just be wishing for it to be 1995 again. Well I don’t. In fact, that’s pretty much the opposite of what I want. What made Trey great in ‘95 is the same thing that made him great in ‘92 and ‘97 and ‘04 (on which I differ with Nick – June is an outstanding run): he was constantly evolving and innovating. Just as every Phish show gives you something different than the last, each tour and each year puts the Languedoc to fresh use. Where I’m coming from has little to do with the explosive youthful energy he had in the early to mid-90s, which he’ll obviously never recover. It’s about the creativity and curiosity, the incredible improvisatory sense and musical storytelling ability that made him among the world’s most compelling guitarists in 1993 and 2003 alike. Far from wishing Trey would look backward, what frustrates me is the fact that he’s not pushing forward.

But I want to get concrete, because these arguments can go in circles when they’re abstract. First, let’s look at straight-up soloing in a Type I context: the Chalkdust from 12/2/09. I’m choosing this version because it’s actually one of the better 3.0 renditions, but it still comes up short. Start at 6:05.

Trey is fast and loud, but there’s very little of interest going on. He plays on top of the others, rather than along with them, and there’s almost nothing in the way of phrasing to his playing. Furthermore, his notes are not crisp. I don’t know a better word for this than wankery.

Phish played another middle-of-the-road version just a few years earlier to open the 12/1/03 show in Albany. Listen to that one starting around 3:55.

Trey leads the band in a deliberate downward direction. Once they hit bottom, he works the scale from about 4:45 with careful phrasing and lyricism. At 5:35, he tosses some notes in the air, and the others fly along with him. Over the following couple minutes, Trey continues to develop one theme after another, culminating in a climax that, again, involves the buildup of a theme which the band plays off of. In the context of this straight-ahead rock jam, Trey’s playing is subtle and focused. This kind of thematic playing is Trey’s trademark, but he seems to have abandoned it almost entirely.

I’d like to look at one other comparison, this time between two longer-form jams. The 12/30/10 Tweezer is, in my opinion, one of the best jams since the band returned. But its 18 minutes are a perfect encapsulation of the deterioration of Trey’s abilities. The first 11 minutes, which basically stick to typical Tweezer territory, are downright ugly at times, purely because of Trey. He constantly hits what I assume are wrong notes, which he then tries to cover for by fitting them into a mode that simply doesn’t sound good. My knowledge of modes is not good enough to name this. But one example of what I’m talking about happens around 7:14. Now look, Phish are masters of turning a mistake into a good idea. But Trey’s good notes here are almost outnumbered by the bum ones.

When the jam takes off, around 11:00, it is Fish and Mike that lead the way. Trey hangs back for the rest of the jam, setting discreet loops. I don’t have a problem with any of what he’s doing here; I’m only noting what he’s not doing: namely, much of anything. As is so often the case in 3.0, the only time in this jam that Trey steps up is at the end, to kill it.

Compare this to the 6/19/04 Walls of the Cave. This isn’t my favorite jam – the second set alone has several jams that are better – but, like the Tweezer, it includes a groove-based jam in which much of Trey’s playing is low-key. But here, Trey’s playing is inspired. First off, he’s the one that gets the jam started: at 12:55, when the song would end, he keeps grooving. Next, he stops chording and sets some loops; the rest of the band follows him into a spacy groove. The final section, beginning around 18:00, is truly democratic, but Trey gives the jam shape.

My point in all of this is not to bash the 12/30 Tweezer. Nor, again, is it to argue that a changing role must be a bad thing – I compare the SPAC Walls to, say, a SPAC ‘95 jam, and I hear evolution. Rather, my point is to emphasize that these days, Trey is rarely the one with the confidence, and he’s rarely the one with the ideas or the chops to pull them off.

I’m really glad you brought up that 12/30 Tweezer. At no point in this meeting of the minds was I planning to make any excuses for Trey’s playing, because I don’t think he needs any… except in this case. If you look at the video evidence–starting at 4:30 (in video above) and preferably at full screen and in HD–you will see that Trey is flat out nailed in his fret hand by a glow stick. He spends the next two minutes vigorously shaking his hand whenever he can lift it off the guitar. So while you are right that Trey’s sloppiness is what prevented this Tweezer from reaching the next level, I think we can agree to give the man a pass for that one.

Anyway, I guess the point I’m making is that Trey has been pushing his sound forward, very much so. While you detractors have some fair points, you’re also missing the big point. You may not like some of the twists and turns Trey’s 3.0 journey has taken us–I think we all could have done with a much shorter stop off in Whaleville–but the overall journey has been enjoyable and increasingly fruitful. Remember the musical apocalypse that was Coventry? The last 2 years have been the portrait of a band starting all over again with a fresh canvas and trying to rebuild themselves carefully and organically. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it definitely is happening.

Remember again: Trey is the leader of this band. He is the creative decision-maker and the conductor of the Jam Train. Before we rush to heap all the blame on him, let’s make sure he gets his due share of credit as well. For instance, the Worcester Hood is an example of a top-shelf jam that was definitely led by Trey, despite many detractors rushing to say it was all Page and Mike. Depending on your tastes, this is either an example of Trey delicately leading the way through a a subtle and highly original jam, or him not asserting himself in the jam enough. Clearly, I favor the former. Listen to the way Trey leaves room for Mike to play while still guiding the “rainforest jam” all the way up to its peak before releasing into some beautiful sustained grooves.

What’s great about the aforementioned jam, and I think the reason why it’s captured the imagination of fans perhaps more than any other in 3.0, is its uniqueness. It feels like the kind of uncharted musical territory we fans crave from our favorite band (and the kind that the detractors say doesn’t happen anymore). Of course, the “rainforest jam” sound didn’t just happen overnight; it evolved over the course of many jams and is still evolving. Check out the evolution from the 8/6 Simple from the Greek (below) and the Sand, Jim and Tube all from later in the NYE run. Trey is leading the band into new territory and allowing the sound to develop naturally over time. This is a very good sign for the future.

Now for some examples where Trey 3.0 shreds it old-school. I’ll be the first to admit that there are fewer of these types of jams nowadays, but don’t let anyone fool you into believing they don’t exist anymore. First, check out this masterful 46 Days jam from MPP in August ‘09:

Its short but extremely sweet and the peak is outstanding. Next, step back a week and check out the Bathtub Gin from the Gorge–top level Trey licks before he leads it into the prolonged beatific ambient space. For more recent examples, you may want to check out the Halloween Stash with its raging climax:

Or the frantic Augusta Reba. Or the dark and inventive Antelope from the famed Guyitca throw down:

Finally, when you’ve caught your breath, listen to the whole second set of the 1/1/11 show and see if Trey is the “weak link.” To me, it sounds like four musicians playing brilliantly together, no one sounding any better or worse than anyone else.

And I guess, ultimately, that’s my real point. It’s less that I think Trey isn’t the weakest link than that I think the idea of Phish even having a weakest link is absurd. It goes against everything Phish stands for and the entire way they function as a band. They work because they are able to sublimate their egos and individual needs for the greater good. Trey is sort of like an older basketball star who can’t drive to the hoop quite as fast but has learned how to pass the ball to get his teammates more points. And when the situation calls for it, he can still put up some highlight reel performances. As long as the team is still winning, how can you say that this player is any weaker than before?

Sorry, I’ve been watching way too much basketball. The point is, If Phish 3.0 just sucked, then I could agree with you. And at times, especially early on, it hasn’t been great. But this last NYE run was great. And the fall run that preceded it had a ton of great moments. And the summer run before that. And the greatness is growing and getting closer and closer together. And we have four talented gentlemen to thank for that, not three or three and a half.

It is quite obvious that different people like Phish for different reasons, and I simply believe what really defines this band is tension-release jams, creative risk-taking, and overall tightness. I see all three of these elements lacking, and if I had to pinpoint a reason, it’s Trey. This is why I would have to call him the weakest link. This doesn’t mean every single note he plays pierces my ears until they bleed, but overall he isn’t as impressive on guitar. We are saturated with a catalog spanning over twenty-five years right at our fingertips on the interwebs, so it is hard not to make comparisons to the past. But we can, and he just isn’t playing as well as he used to. Can you say that about Mike, Fish and Page?

I want to start with the Worcester Hood since it was mentioned and it is easily the best 3.0 Hood. This is a great example of Trey playing some nice volume-controlled patterns, allowing Mike to make a move around 8:23, which launches the jam to the next level. Around 10:30, Trey goes back to the main theme of the jam, and a couple minutes later, Fishman switches to the ride, and that’s basically it. First and foremost, I believe Hood should peak. Even a little. This one had none at all, and I just can’t understand why. They spent all that time in the dark, sunk in this “rainforest jam” before slipping subtly into Hood again. What Trey plays fits, but you can’t tell me that it is impressive guitar playing. Furthermore, I can think of several Hood jams that easily top the best version from 3.0. This might not be the case if this version ended like Hood was made to end: with a soaring guitar solo.

This band came back after five years away and I couldn’t have been happier. I knew there would be a re-growth process and that things would take time to come together. But they know the standard set, they know how horrid 2.0 was, and we still are buying tickets and traveling across the country. If it really takes this long to get back up to speed, maybe they should consider putting a little more effort into earning their millions of dollars. Why shouldn’t this be be brought up? Trey himself said on Bittersweet Motel that if they play a shit show or something, we go on the internet and talk about it. It’s kind of what it’s all about.

I think as long as your intention is pure, and you know what you’re in it for, then you’re alright. And I’m in it because I enjoy it. I take it seriously… real seriously. I mean I could sit and talk all day about the music. But I take it seriously because it gets me off. So the more I take it seriously, you know, practicing and stuff like that, the more I get off.

I think it is perfectly clear that Trey isn’t practicing at getting better at guitar. It is unfortunate, but I can understand that someone like Trey wants to do a million things at once, and Phish is just one of them now. It is probably still the biggest, and I’m sure he understands that it made him what he is today. But as much as we all are obsessed with this band, he has experienced it all, and it was the ONLY thing for years, so it simply isn’t as important. This wouldn’t be so difficult for me to deal with if the rest of the band weren’t playing better than ever. Tours are shorter than ever, and summer is broken in two legs, so the natural tightness which develops over just those few months isn’t gelling as much. This is where I believe it helps to come into tours sharp and ready to do your job. We are, after all, paying almost eighty dollars a show now, and the fans who actually read and write stuff like this are the types who see several shows a year. Come in and blow doors down!

Excuses like getting hit in the hand with a glow stick and letting it ruin a song or a jam is not very “rockstar.” Pete Townshend slammed his hand through a fucking whammy bar! I often hear people talk about Trey not headbanging or doing his classic repetitive stage dips and such. Then the rebuttal is usually about youth lost. I get this, but when you see Trey doing these things on stage, what it’s really about is intense focus. Michael Jordan didn’t stick out his tongue because Nike asked him to. (Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of basketball as well.)

I want to toss another couple videos in here. This one is of Trey killing the 5:15 solo on 10/31/95:

He is abusing his guitar, playing percussively like he used to, and focused on making every note count. What happened to that classic move from 1:10 to 1:13? Two seconds of exploding bliss, something I only hear a parody of nowadays. When Trey makes those bends today, they are sloppy and sound weak and twangy.

Contrast that with this video of the Worcester Bowie, which is an example of rusty, unfocused playing:

Around the nine-minute mark, things really have the potential to explode, but it all falls apart. First, Trey plays some trills high up on the neck, something he falls back on now far too often when “peaking.” At 9:17, he just stops, while the rest of the band is raging and clearly isn’t ready to call it quits. It isn’t even after four or eight bars–it just comes out of nowhere. Back in the day, if something like this happened, Trey wouldn’t just let it go; he’d try to bring up the climax again. Here, he busts into the pull-off ending prematurely, leaving Fishman to roll through his part. Also note that even Trey doesn’t sound confident when he first begins the ending, and the final huge bend sounds thin and weak.

Another thing that is not discussed nearly enough: his tone is not even close to what it once was. Thank the good people at PT for buying Trey a Ross compressor, but how the hell did it come to that anyway?! Were you not aware, Trey, of your immensely sought-after, amazing tone? If it ain’t broke, well, you know. My bottom line is, how could you not want to see playing that good again? It IS Phish, and it’s the type of sound that will always define them.

Look, I don’t like thinking of any member of Phish as a weak link. The only reason I refer to Trey that way is for the purposes of this debate. But at the end of the day, Trey is the leader of this band, and that’s probably why people cut him slack. If anyone else were struggling, this would be a much more accepted argument. The thing is, Trey plays lead guitar and made a name for himself by shredding his axe and doing it on a nightly basis. Since he is the guitar player and band leader, he directly affects the entire band more than the other three. So if anyone shouldn’t be slacking, it’s Trey. Ringo was always considered the weakest, least talented Beatle. But nobody hates Ringo. I don’t hate Trey, either. But I will acknowledge that Phish isn’t all they could be, and I know he has it in him to change that. Continue to morph your sound, Trey, and enjoy your life and family. Stay sober if you feel you can’t control yourself. But please. Melt our faces again.

I’m with Zimmy. To say Trey’s the weakest link is just absurd. It’s hard to give one person in this band too much credit or too much blame. Sure, Trey’s the bandleader and he gets the glut of the attention, but this is a four-man band. It’s hard to listen to any jam and say, “This member of Phish is doing everything right, while this guy’s doing everything wrong.” Phish is like fabric: pull on one corner, and it affects the other corners. There’s no getting around it.

I think, obviously, that Phish 3.0 is a work in progress. This is a band that really hadn’t been a fully functioning entity for almost ten years prior to the big comeback. These things take time. They may not be playing four-song second sets filled with ambient jamming, but if they were, wouldn’t that be kind of boring too? Phish is trying to break new ground, and I think they’ve been successful. If you look at the Merriweather I Saw It Again-Fest, the Guyutica show, and Atlantic City’s Zeppelin-filled explosion, this band is still keeping us on our toes. The level of Phishiness is increasing with every show, and I think this band has a lot of great things left in store, both this year, and in the future.

I think the criteria here are oddly backwards. A great jam where Page goes off for awhile, or Mike moves the groove isn’t indicative of Trey somehow being remiss in his duties. In fact, I think it’s just the opposite. Trey’s the bandleader, and at the end of the day, it’s his band. Right now, I think his band is playing pretty damn well, and I’m willing to give Big Red all the credit he deserves.

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