A Night At the Symphony

9.12.09 (C.Batka)

9.12.09 - Carnegie Hall (C.Batka)

It all began back in college.  With intricate, multi-part compositions- arguably better suited for an orchestra than a rock band- Trey began his songwriting days.  Scribing pieces so far-reaching in musical scope, it was mind-numbing how a four-piece outfit could conquer his songs with such proficiency.  And throughout the years, when the band really nailed them, they sounded like- well- a symphony.  “You Enjoy Myself,” “Fluffhead,” “Divided Sky,” The Curtain (With),” “David Bowie,” “Harry Hood,” “Reba”- these weren’t your everyday “rock” songs.  But with Phish as his musical outlet, that’s what they became, some of the most unique rock songs in history, or- in other words- Phish songs.  But there was a vision of something greater that drove these compositions, something unattainable at the time.

TreyYouthDecades later in 2000, during Phish’s first break, Trey turned his energy to his lifelong goal.  Taking a similarly scribed song, “Guyute,” he spent four months with the conductor of the Vermont Youth Orchestra creating an orchestral arrangement of his composition.  And with two benefit performances at the Music Hall in Troy, NY and Burlington’s Flynn Theatre- a show that included his mentor, Ernie Stires- Trey’s new career was underway.  During the hiatus, he also worked with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra- conducting them, at Bonnaroo 2004, through pieces from his first classical album,”Seis De Mayo.”

img_06031

Nashville Program

And on Saturday night at Carnegie Hall, after years of diligence and many baby-steps along the way, Trey’s dream was finally fulfilled.  Playing a full two-set show of his own material with the world-class New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Trey took center stage in one of the music’s most legendary venues, realizing his vision hatched so long ago.  Decked in black, he was the man of the hour, not only showcasing “Time Turns Elastic” in its proper setting, but also highlighting the night with a ridiculously creative arrangement of “You Enjoy Myself.”  On a stage filled with some of the world’s best musicians, Trey’s seminal piece took on a completely new life.  It was the first time that we all got to hear what Trey has been hearing in his head for years.  And it is some of the most surreal music you will ever hear.

9.12.09 - Carnegie Hall (P.Mason)

9.12.09 - Carnegie Hall (P.Mason)

While I couldn’t be at the show last night- all reports and reviews I got from New York City were glowing, and after listening to the show, I certainly understand why.  To hear Phish music in this milieu is absolutely breathtaking; the complexities and emotions are magnified, and the music sounds surprisingly at home.  Blending his guitar with a far greater whole, Trey’s integration with the symphonic tapestry is brilliant.  Arranging all pieces with Nashville’s Don Hart, with whom he collaborated with on “Time Turn Elastic,” the nuances and intricacies of each piece were astounding; Trey’s playing, selfless- his tone, gorgeous.  Making the first complete performance of the next chapter of his career, Trey announced his arrival on one of world’s most prestigious stages.

The way he painted suggestions of his soaring “First Tube” solo against a lush, horn-led backdrop; the enchanting and dreamy, “Brian & Robert;” the soaring power of the strings in “Divided Sky”- was this all a joke?  Trey had gone right ahead and redefined the Phish experience overnight.  And in his recent interview in Timeout: New York, he indicated he would love to see this project grow to where he could tour between Phish activities, playing two nights in a city without repeating any material.  Pretty freakin’ cool if you ask me!  And quite the “side project.”

9.12.09 (LiveMusicBlog)

9.12.09 (LiveMusicBlog)

After playing a series of relatively shorter pieces in the first set, the second set featured but three songs- “Time Turns Elastic,” “Let Me Lie,” and “YEM.”  In its full three-movement incarnation, and set in Carnegie Hall, it was very clear where “Time Turns Elastic” belongs.  In full blossom in Trey’s virtuoso performance, the song was easier to digest after a summer of hearing it as a Phish song,  but after listening to Saturday’s performance, it seems almost silly that it was transposed into a contrived prog-rock “epic.”  Taking on its natural form, as debuted in Nashville and performed in Baltimore, the piece’s innovation and power was evident, and it sounded authentic in its orchestral form.  But the highlight of the night was, without question, the classical debut of “You Enjoy Myself.”

With one of the most renowned symphonies on the planet, Trey played through a rendition of his seminal work that has to be heard to be believed.  The creativity, fun, and sheer genius on display was completely over the top, as the once-imaginary version of the song burst into reality.  Complete with an interpretation of his band’s improv, this “YEM” quickly developed into a career-defining moment for Trey.  With their collaborative ingenuity teeming, he even complemented the orchestra as the piece came to rest in a mesmerizing “vocal jam.”  And as he did, one can’t help but think that college kid from the mid-eighties, somewhere inside the mature maestro onstage, was beaming with a goofy, radiant smile.

***

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Winged music noteJams of the Day: Carnegie Hall

You Enjoy Myself

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/You-Enjoy-Myself.mp3]

Simply amazing. I am re-posting it for the Monday morning crowd.

Time Turns Elastic

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/2-08-Time-Turns-Elastic.mp3]

In this setting, this composition is stunning.

First Tube

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/1-01-First-Tube.mp3]

An unexpected way to start a night at the symphony!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

9.14.1990 The Living Room, Providence, RI < Torrent

9.14.1990 The Living Room, Providence, RI < Megaupload

phish-living-room-2-15-90

Feb 1990 Poster

We are taking it back nineteen years to the day, to a small club in Providence, RI for today’s download.  Those from the Northeast are most likely familiar with the intimate Living Room, a club that is still active today.  An old-school nugget to start the week that features the debut of “Destiny Unbound.”  Enjoy!

I: Suzy Greenberg, Bouncing Around the Room, The Landlady, Reba, Paul and Silas, Stash, Dinner and a Movie, I Didn’t Know

II: The Asse Festival, The Squirming Coil, Buried Alive > Tweezer, Magilla, Cavern, Lizards, Destiny Unbound*, Fire

E: Going Down Slow

*first time played

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202 Responses to “A Night At the Symphony”

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  1. Uncle Ebeneezer Says:

    Wow….

    Life is all about choices, and I’m glad I’ve chosen to look up to someone like the bad lieutenant 🙂

  2. Baxter Says:

    I just love hearing Trey’s music played with the orchestra. Thank you so much Mr. Miner for putting up a link for it so quickly. I love this web site, especially on an early Monday morning.

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/14/arts/music/14trey.html?_r=1&ref=music

    New York Times review if anyone hasn’t seen it yet

  4. Chris Says:

    *needless bitter rant*

  5. fat bastard Says:

    good riddence chris

  6. sumodie Says:

    Thanks, Miner. Great write-up once again.

    RE: Chris
    True, I have yet to say anything of Mike’s Somerville MA show (great, btw). But, this blog/site is all about phish as a 4 piece band – and I think everyone here is psyched about contributions from Jon, Page, and Mike as well as Trey -there’s no phish without all four guys. Sorry you think we’re overly Trey centric.

    Just my two cents.

    And YES, get off yer asses and go get BASSED!

  7. bhizzle Says:

    I’m not going to fully agree with Chris, but I am not going to fully dis-agree either.

    I have no problem with this site concerning Miner’s choice of topics. He is only providing a vehicle for discussion and opininons on what he is thinking about. And let’s not forget the JOTDs or any other downloads he is gifting to us.

    If you want to talk about Mike, no one is stopping you. And yes it is unfortunate that he doesn’t get media attention and I agree with your idea about it seeming more and more like it’s Trey’s band, but to talk junk about this site is ridiculous. I look forward to seeing your site.

  8. whole tour! Says:

    chris…the DMB comment was uncalled for. For starters, i have never wasted my time at a DMB show, EVER! To suggest this is offensive to me.
    And i’m sure it’s offensive to the 2 or 3 people who actually like DMB. Maybe miner is planning a Gordon Band mega post this saturday that features an in depth review of mike’s friday 9/18 Rosh Hashanna/ Jewish new years party from the Freebird.

    For starters, your wrong about the lack of variety here. Miner includes everything from the phish world, not just Trey. Please start your own blog if you feel the variety here is lacking. I’ll be eagerly awaiting to see your blog, “Chris’s Mike Gordon Band Thoughts.”

  9. Neemor Says:

    I’m choosing to ignore Chris for obvious reasons.

    Miner,
    That “goofy, radiant smile” lasted throughout on Trey.
    It was fun to watch. I had a blast as I posted yesterday, but this post brought to mind another nuance of the night…Trey’s modest and sometimes sheepish playing and grin.

    He was not the ‘rock star’ on this night. He took his queues from the conductor (as he should), spent most of the time staring into the upper reaches of the back of Carnegie (as he does at many shows-no matter the venue) and when he spoke, was very modest and gentle and appreciative. He clearly understood the weight of the evening.

    I wondered to myself often during the night about Trey and Tom (see my yesterday’s post about my seating arrangement and chance meeting!) and if this ever would have been possible if Trey were not clean and sober and in a good place in life and the answer throughout was emphatically “no”.
    The stage at Carnegie Hall allows no room to hide.
    The glaring yet strangely ambient lights wouldn’t have covered 2.0 guitar playing.
    The mind that created these pieces, turned them into Phish gems then translated them back into orchestral masterpieces would not have been able to do the latter part so flawlessly as he did last night (with the help of Don Hart) if he were not right in the head.
    And it gave me one more beautiful and poignant night to reflect on that fact and be grateful once again.

    In the future, I think TTE should remain only for this setting.
    The song can no longer say what it needs to say or be played as it needs to be heard to be done justice on stage again after this night.
    I have a whole new respect for the song now, and as I type this….I wonder aloud what an entire set of TTE would be like in this “stretched out” format….
    Interesting…..to me, at least!

    I’m sure Mike’s shows are good, but this took precedence for this night.
    This wasn’t just a side-project, it was a once in a lifetime moment in time (and that may not even do it justice.)
    I’m glad this event was given it’s proper write up and attention.

  10. Jay Says:

    I have been seeing Phish for 20 years and Trey has always been the front man. It was not till 1997 and the successful People For A Louder Mike campaign that Trey took a deliberate step back and let the focus shift to and band centric funk groove.

    Not sure why I am responding to an obvious Phantasy Tour Troll (PTT tm).

  11. Scott Bernstein Says:

    “I feel like Phish is moving to become Trey’s band.” – C’mon, Phish has always been Trey’s band. How many Mike Gordon-penned songs are on Junta?

  12. whole tour! Says:

    1) contact

    😉

  13. whole tour! Says:

    unless you count the anastasio-fishman-gordon-MCconnell songs as gordo songs.

  14. fat bastard Says:

    my friend saw halloween 95, quadrophenia, and swears to start the following set trey started “custard pie” from zep’s physical grafetti. based on that he’s sure that’s the costume.

  15. Neemor Says:

    Q: What does this avenue fulfill for you musically?

    Mike Gordon: Phish and my own band provide very different satisfactions. With Phish, I am happy in the mode of going with the flow. Trey is very much the bandleader, who does most of the arranging. I’m able to just sit back and ride the bass waves. With my band, I’m able to bring in a lot more of my own material and learn what works by trial and error. There’s something about that whole intellectual process that I really enjoy. I don’t like being a boss, but with this project, I feel like more of a catalyst. It’s all working for me right now.

  16. CJ Says:

    I’m loving this symphony show. Wish there was a better quality mix, but I’m not complaining. Water In The Sky is so lovely in this setting.

    Chris– Why don’t you go to Page, Mike, and Fish and tell them this is Trey’s band? Tell them that they suck now and that they were only food in the early ’90s, and see what they have to say.

    As for Miner’s coverage. As good as Mike’s tour might be right now, there is something very very special about orchestral Phish. Taking our favorite band’s favorite tunes and arranging them like this….it would be a crime for Miner not to have a post about it.

  17. halcyon Says:

    Does anyone know if there are any sources for any of Mike Gordon’s recent shows. I haven’t seen any posted.

  18. SOAM Says:

    Dear Chris-I didn’t get laid this weekend either.

  19. AintNoTele Says:

    http://tela.sugarmegs.org/alpha/m.html

    you can find the mike shows here. they arent always the best quality, but you can stream the entire show from work as many other phish shows, gordon and duo shows (which are freaking awesome), and many others…

  20. SOAM Says:

    Mike looks like an alien-has the voice of a bullfrog with his nuts in a vice and writes songs like “MEAT”-Trey rips, opens 8-14-09 with a mother fuckin punch-and drives around ripped (past tense) he’s just way cooler and from now on I’m going to scream-“Trey is the whole band” at shows just to piss you off.

    Dude-some mornings you got a do a brew, pack one up and say fuck it today-I suggest you give it a shot-but if you listen to music, make it a Mikes song.

  21. butter Says:

    i’m gay for Trey and i think i like it

  22. SOAM Says:

    I hope he changes the lyrics to Bug-“ONLY TREY MATTERS”

    “ONLY TREY MATTES”

  23. Jay Says:

    I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it. Trey’s got me burning up. Cmon, comon, comon, cmon…

  24. MMG781 Says:

    Halcyon, http://db.etree.org/ has some of the Mike shows. I attended the Bearsville Theater show Friday night and downloaded the FLACs on Saturday morning…sound quality was pretty good.

    To briefly review the show, it was very fresh-sounding with lots of funky dance grooves throughout. Mike was prominent in the mix, as one would hope, but he gave plenty of space for the other musicians, especially Scott, to work their magic. The interplay between Mike and Scott was fun to watch and was the musical focus of the show. It has been too long since I’ve attended a small-venue show and forgot how cool it is to be right up front and see the communication, be it visual, spoken, played, or otherwise. The drummer, percussionist, and keyboardist were all very talented and were given their moments to solo but were obviously there for backup. The venue was fantastically small (perhaps 150-200 in attendance) and sounded great. The crowd was an odd mix of Phish heads, Max Creek fans, and well-heeled (and dressed) Bearsville regulars. The only negative impression I had was that Mike’s set (and it was only one set) seemed short…there was an last-minute opening act (Reid, formerly of Strangefolk) that ate up too much of the evening for my taste.

    Mike is touring like a fiend and I would recommend catching a show. Now to download the Carnegie Hall performance and see what I missed this weekend!

  25. SOAM Says:

    ONLY TREY TALK TODAY AND FROM NOW ON

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