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on October 22, 2017
Based on the samples, I thought I would like this more than I did.
Anastasio's mediocre guitar playing was confirmed when I saw him at the Peach Festival a while back.
Unless you are a huge fan of his and/or Phish, stay away.
1 helpful vote
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on May 9, 2017
Really like the extended jams on this album - Trey stretches out and there are some nice grooves on there.
1 helpful vote
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on May 22, 2014
Fantastic highlights from the 2002 tour -- hard to beat TAB at their best!

Bought again b/c I only had 128 KB MP3s of this and simply needed higher fidelity.

It is just that good.
1 helpful vote
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on May 28, 2003
My anticipation for Trey's first live CD outweighed my current satisfaction, though the CDs have much to offer.
First off, don't be lured by the "Small Axe" track. This version is INSTRUMENTAL, short (3:23) and really cheesy. Having seen Trey sing "Mellow Mood" with Phish and loved it, this Marley cover is a HUGE disappointment!
On the up-side, disc 2 has some stellar jamming, including a 23-minute "Night Speaks to a Woman" and a fun "Simple Twist Up Dave". "Inner Tube" deserves special mention as the CD's most frenetic jam session, which clocks in at ~22 minutes.
Disc 1 highlights for me include "Curlew's Call", "Plasma", "Mozambique", and the slow-motion, eerie "Every Story Ends in Stone". Frankly, I could take-or-leave the remaining disc 1 tracks (I love "First Tube", but have heard way too many times).
Overall, Plasma has superb sound quality and some typically-phenomenal Trey jamming. The "previously unreleased" songs are 1/2 great, and 1/2 kinda boring. I'm wondering if the upcoming tour on livephish.com might be more interesting...
6 helpful votes
7 helpful votes
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on November 15, 2006
I had never heard of Phish [they are not very well known in Europe] but sometime ago I stumbled across a review of this CD. The descriptions made me curious and I decided to buy the CD virtually unheard. At first I quite liked what I heard, but the music started to grow on me and now "liking" is too weak an expression for me. I think the whole musical performance is fantastic, a kind of Santana meets Gil Evans. BUT and it is a big BUT, I find the singing quite weak. That makes me hesitate to give five stars. So it is going to be four stars, because for me five stars means that I have no hesitations whatsoever. In my mind it would have been an immaculate album if he had brought in a real good singer. He could have followed the example of Bill Wyman, another notoriously weak singer, who is having other guys doing most of the vocals in his band. Still very worthwhile to listen to.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on December 1, 2011
I wasn't overly interested in this release when it came out. Over time, my feelings about Trey's solo work have softened (while he started strong with his Letterman performance of Push On Till The Day, I was mostly indifferent to his first solo album) and I feel like his later solo work has started to achieve his personal vision of what his band should be.

Plasma was an odd release. I think it was mostly put out because he was excited about the project, and wanted a broader audience to hear how much fun it was. What's unusual about it is that it's so unbalanced. His band is generally great. The arrangements are very fun, there's some broader rhythmic exploration going on, and everyone seems to be having lots of fun. But there's a substantial weakness... and it's Trey. First, while Trey hasn't been noted for his singing, he's a solid singer, and actually has a very pleasing sound. I love hearing singers who approach songs the way that Trey does. Here, Trey sounds less confident than he usually does. There's another thing that stuck out to my ear, and it was Trey's tone.
He's hitting the notes, and he's playing tastefully. But the tone isn't right. It sounds too jagged, almost like his EQ was pushing his higher end more than his midrange.
This isn't a consistent thing, either. Some of the cuts sound just right, but some of them sound weirdly abrasive.
The highlight - at least for me - was Mozambique and Magilla. Both of them have great horn arrangements, and feature Trey sneaking in and out in the sort of supporting role that I think he's always wanted.
The lowlight is First Tube. I love the song to death, but this version didn't feel right. It felt a bit gritty, and more forced than it should. To be fair, I did like some of the additions to the drum work.

It's hardly a bad release, but it's not as great as it could be. I actually liked TAB at the TAB much more.
1 helpful vote
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on November 2, 2003
Trey Anastasio knew what he was doing when he released this album. The horn section alone is sick. He uses phunky bass riffs, really psychedelic guitar tracks, nice drumlines, and one of the best track selections from a tour that I've ever heard. He caught the highlights of the Trey tour. The first disk makes a cool transistion from song to song, pulling you into another demension with smooth sounds, finishing with Phish's "First Tube," an amazing ending for the cd. The second disk is by far the best four live tracks I've ever heard, hands down. When I first bought it I listened to it from disk 1 track 1 to disk 2 track 4. And I still can't skip a song.
If you're a [live] Phish fan and can hang with jams, I suggest this album. You can't go wrong.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on January 9, 2004
This is two CD's with tracks taken from a number of shows. There is a little over 2 hours of music. The tracks are a little shorter on the first CD 4 minutes to 11 minutes and longer on the second CD 9 to 20 minutes.
This is a big band, with a horn section. The music is different than what Anatasio has done with Phish, but is still has some of the Phish sound. The music reminds me of War or Chicago live. Both groups have excellent live albums (War-Live and Chicago-Live At Caranagie Hall) where the bands really open up.
Much of the music is a whole band effort, but there are huge portions of Anatasio soloing. His guitar style is different than what he plays in Phish. Instead of the loopy, spacy guitar, it is more firey, straight ahead rock. Some of it reminds me of the solos on Chicago Live At Caranagie Hall (recorded before Chicago's original guitarist shot himself in the head).
The only major downside, is that it has the same goofy type lyrics as Phish. Fortunately, there are not a lot of them. Frank Zappa has a series of albums called Shut Up And Play Your Guitar. But, at least Zappa could write good songs. Phish and Anatasio should either stick to music or find a lyricist (like the Grateful did).
This CD is a nice, refreshing change from the Phish style of music. There are some brilliant sections, and the are some sections that just merely good. It doesn't quite deserve 5 stars, but few albums do.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on June 30, 2003
Not a Phish Fan per se, only knew their stuff from the radio. I picked this CD up at Borders on a whim - the salesdude recommended it to me.

I have to say, it's pretty good stuff. Trey's voice is honestly a smidge weak (I don't claim to be a singer either), but dag nab - can he put together a Band or what!

Mozambique and Night Speaks To A Woman are two of my favorites on this CD - very creative and very much worth listening to repeatedly.

This one gets 4 stars from me, and that's saying a lot from someone who just picked it up by chance. I really enjoyed hearing the different styles of music here, and I have a newfound appreciation for Trey's music.

It's well worth getting, even if you are not a big Fan and just want to tune into some new good music you might not have ever listened to otherwise. You will be happy with this one!
11 helpful votes
12 helpful votes
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VINE VOICEon January 12, 2004
This is two CD's with tracks taken from a number of shows. There is a little over 2 hours of music. The tracks are a little shorter on the first CD 4 minutes to 11 minutes and longer on the second CD 9 to 20 minutes.
This is a big band, with a horn section. The music is different than what Anatasio has done with Phish, but is still has some of the Phish sound. The music reminds me of War or Chicago live. Both groups have excellent live albums (War-Live and Chicago-Live At Caranagie Hall) where the bands really open up.
Much of the music is a whole band effort, but there are huge portions of Anatasio soloing. His guitar style is different than what he plays in Phish. Instead of the loopy, spacy guitar, it is more firey, straight ahead rock. Some of it reminds me of the solos on Chicago Live At Caranagie Hall (recorded before Chicago's original guitarist shot himself in the head).
The only major downside, is that it has the same goofy type lyrics as Phish. Fortunately, there are not a lot of them. Frank Zappa has a series of albums called Shut Up And Play Your Guitar. But, at least Zappa could write good songs. Phish and Anatasio should either stick to music or find a lyricist (like the Grateful did).
This CD is a nice, refreshing change from the Phish style of music. There are some brilliant sections, and the are some sections that just merely good. And there are a few sections of goofiness on guitar. It doesn't deserve 5 stars, but few albums do.
5 helpful votes
6 helpful votes
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