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.”


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.



Winged music noteJams of the Day: Carnegie Hall

You Enjoy Myself


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

Time Turns Elastic


In this setting, this composition is stunning.

First Tube


An unexpected way to start a night at the symphony!



9.14.1990 The Living Room, Providence, RI < Torrent

9.14.1990 The Living Room, Providence, RI < Megaupload


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”

  1. fat bastard Says:

    man this is some great footage! Trey’s shirt is hilarious

  2. fat bastard Says:

    Page doesn’t look that fucked up very often

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    Page looks wrecked!!!

    Just like he did during the whole summer ’99 tour.

  4. fat bastard Says:

    this cypress footage is the shit. they are playing soooo slooow. total groooovee.

  5. fat bastard Says:

    if page were driving we would’ve wrecked by now

  6. whole tour! Says:

    they will never be that fucked up again
    it’s good
    and bad
    if that makes sense

    it’s one thing to be fucked up and make mindblowing music: cypress
    but another to be fucked up and trainwreck: coventry

    cypress was a moment in time….a perfect moment

  7. fat bastard Says:

    I don’t think that you can find a show in their entire history where they played thiiis sllooooww. its like trey is tredding water because no one can go anywhere

  8. fat bastard Says:

    He’s playing “Free” thinking, oh by God I can’t believe I hit that

  9. whole tour! Says:

    they were playing on cypress time
    time turned elastic
    no need to play fast when your in one spot for 8 hours
    they said it became a reflex, like breathing

  10. EL Duderino Says:


    He’s thinking: “Fuck we got play for 4 1/2 more hours!! I’m starting to get a little exhausted, I just want to take a piss, get a cold beer, do a bunch a lines and chill out!!! Maybe we bit off more than we can chew?”

  11. fat bastard Says:

    the second part of Free revitalizes the band and they collectively say, “we got this”

  12. fat bastard Says:

    its over> I could have watched 4 hours of that

  13. whole tour! Says:

    seemed like they were hitting lines onstage
    at one point trey and fish were in the porta john together (right before drowned)
    then who remembers that ‘cheesecake delivery?’
    stagehand with silver platter…dipped his finger in something…

  14. fat bastard Says:

    to mr miner and to everyone else who contributes to this site, thank you. it is a 5 star river.

  15. EL Duderino Says:

    I wasn’t that close to see except the screens.

  16. fat bastard Says:

    the cheesecake thing> the crowd didn’t follow directions. it was supposed to be one, authoritative, CHEESECAKE. and nothing else, but who can follow directions at a time like that

  17. whole tour! Says:

    we spent all night about 20 rows back from the stage
    had to marathon run to the spot and stayed there from 4pm to 8am

  18. fat bastard Says:

    I remember trading my half drunk guiness can for a handful of mushrooms right before the big set

  19. fat bastard Says:

    you can’t do that at a U2 concert

  20. whole tour! Says:

    i don’t think i’d have the stamina to do something like that again
    took me literally 2 weeks to recover

  21. whole tour! Says:

    afterwards i was a different person
    it was deep
    don’t regret a second of it

  22. whole tour! Says:

    night everyone
    it was fun having a group flashback tonight 🙂
    everyone going to indio should be very excited…for good reason 😉

  23. David Bowie Says:

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on Zappa’s influence upon Phish Mr. Miner-compositions such as, “What’s New In Baltimore”, “RDNZL”, “Alien Orifice”, and “King Kong” are amazingly complex classical pieces coupled with bouts of incredible rock improvisation, whose lasting impression upon Anastasio is undeniable.

  24. lot rat Says:

    “I’m a power toker from hell”

    Free opener at 8.

  25. fat bastard Says:

    last night there were 2 links to cypress footage it is great stuff.

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