As we approach our final stages of preparation for Phish 3.0, many readers have put out the practical request to review some of the new music we could hear from Trey’s new catalog come Hampton and beyond. On his Classic TAB tour last October, he played many new songs that he and Tom Marshall had recently finished; and something tells me Trey and Tom didn’t sit down to write a bunch of tunes for Tony, Russ, and Ray to play! If things are as they appear, Trey wrote most of this new material with Phish in mind.
Having played some of his new songs once, and others only a few times over his eight shows, it seemed that Trey was holding out on the most significant songs, waiting for his “other” band to chart their destinies.
Obviously, any TAB versions of these songs represent mere templates of what they could be. What Phish will do with these pieces if, and when, they play them is a whole different story. Here are ten selections we may hear come 3.0.
Backwards Down the Number Line
Debuted acoustically at Rothbury last summer, and played over the second half of Trey’s tour, this is the new song that all fans are familiar with. The song’s poignant theme of old friends reuniting captures the tone of the moment in the Phish world. With an uptempo rock-based jam and a lyrical reprise at the end, this song seems like the new-school “Down With Disease.” Odds are favorable that we will hear this at Hampton, potentially opening one of the three second sets.
“Light” is the song that *sounds* like Phish the most. With sublime harmonies and melodies within a transcendent milieu for improvisation, this song seems specifically written for our favorite foursome. With an ambient intro, reflective lyrics, and a soaring jam, this one brings shivers just imagining what Phish could do with it. Trey only played this song once over his tour, most likely signaling its place in the Phish universe. When they bust this one out, you will know- it will be one of the highlights of the show. “Tweezer > Light,” anyone?
A multi-faceted compositional beast, “Greyhound Rising” is another song that seems custom made for Phish. Beginning with a gorgeous ballad-esque feel, the song progresses through wistful lyrical passages before moving into the distinctly different, and more grooving, second section. The song then slides into a blues-based jam before eventually building back to the original lyrical melodies. “Greyhound Rising” has a little of everything Phishy, and it is another that sounds like a perfect fit for the band.
This song was only brought out twice along Trey’s tour due to the improvisational limitations of TAB. When this song first dropped in Brooklyn last summer, it was an immediate favorite with its soulful feel and unique lyrical path. An inspiring piece of music, this one seemed to be stashed away for Phish after TAB’s third show; a guitar solo could only take it so far. Add Mike, Page, and Fish to this tune, and you’ve got a Phish staple for years to come. This song catches you immediately and draws you right into its flow. This will fit in perfectly if Phish so chooses.
A Case of Ice and Snow
Trey included an acoustic version of this song on his solo album, Bar 17, but when he played it throughout his solo tour, the song took on a wholly different shape. Reflecting on hard times gone by, the mellow and gorgeous song could give way to surreal soundscapes, something that was merely hinted at via TAB. Again, this sounds very much like a Phish song, and it could be a tremendous addition deep in the second set- like how The Dead used “Morning Dew.”
Trey only busted this song out once over his eight shows. Representing the poppier side of his writing, this song could certainly fit in with Phish 3.0. Boasting a smooth palatable groove and an uplifting chorus, this could turn out to be a latter-day Phish “single” with legitimate improvisational potential when played live. This is a song that Phish could vibrantly enhance.
Burlap Sack & Pumps
Consistently introduced with the group of songs that Trey wrote with Tony and Russ, and that made the transition to Phish, it seemed that Trey was implying that this song would do the same. A centerpiece of Trey’s October tour, this was rearranged for a four-piece, with Trey taking adopting the horn’s lead melodies from TAB’s big-band incarnation. With two distinct jams, this “Burlap Sack & Pumps” could provide multiple launch pads for Phish. Many feel that due to the song’s long TAB history, this one won’t be brought into Phish. Yet, after hearing the psychedelic planes that this song traversed throughout Trey’s tour, I wouldn’t be making any wagers!
Let Me Lie
This could be the next beautiful Phish ballad, though due to its incredibly autobiographical nature, I’m not sure it will make the jump. Played extensively over TAB tour, this recovery-themed song seemed very appropriate for his solo comeback performances. Though the song would definitely translate beautifully to Phish, whether they choose to include it is another story.
An older song off of Shine, this was also played a on GRAB tour a few years ago, so Mike already knows it. Played twice over the recent TAB tour, “Spin” possesses an dark and open-ended ambient jam at the end that Phish could absolutely slaughter. A reflection on Trey’s less-happy days, this one could also be too personal to bring to his “other” band. If Phish does decide to play this- forget about it- the results will be huge.
A straightforward, and somewhat comedic, blues song, Phish could adopt this for a diversity of feels. This could work, bringing some dirty blues-based jamming into the mix. As most fans seem to know the lyrics already, this one could be an underwhelming arena sing-along that morphs into improv. Only time will tell.
Time Turns Elastic
The second movement of Trey’s orchestral piece that he debuted with Orchestra Nashville in September surfaced as a solo acoustic demo on the Internet. When listening to the acoustic piece, one can hear how this entire movement could translate into a latter day Phish epic. With lyrics rich in imagery and diverse musical approaches, this “song” could develop into a masterpiece.
LISTEN TO TIME TURNS ELASTIC (ACOUSTIC) ^ LINK (Roll over and press play)
ANDY GADIEL ON THE RADIO / WEB STREAM TONIGHT! – 8-10 pm
Godfather of Phish Internet space, and good friend, Andy Gadiel, will be guest DJing a special “Phish Reunion Set” set tonight on KPFA’s “Dead to the World” radio show with David Gans on 94.1 FM in the Bay Area from 8-10pm. Manning the DJ booth for two hours, you can be sure he will throw down a juicy playlist! Regardless of where you live, be sure to tune in for what is sure to be a good time! Tune in to the broadcast at KPFA 94.1 FM in the Bay Area, kpfa.org or nugs.net online everywhere.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
This is the first of the final two nights of Fall ’95. This would be show number 53 of 54, and Phish was clicking. Two weeks away from their legendary New Years Run, these two nights in Lake Placid are revered in Phish history. (The second show was posted a couple days ago.)
I: Buried Alive, AC/DC Bag, Fog That Surrounds, Ya Mar, The Sloth, The Divided Sky, Dog Faced Boy, Julius, Suzy Greenberg
II: Sample in a Jar, Reba, Scent of a Mule, Cavern, Mike’s Song > Simple > Weekapaug Groove, The Squirming Coil
E: FireTags: Classic TAB, Comeback, Songs, Trey