Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

I’m ready to jump on Trey tour.  Only two nights- well, one and a half- that’s all I needed to see.  When I compare the two shows over the weekend to the last Trey performance I saw at The Warfield on 12.7.06, its like night and day, apple and oranges; choose your cliche.  Not only was that Warfield show uninspired and one of the first times I flagrantly watched Trey going through the motions on stage, this weekend was as exciting as any in recent memory.

Maybe it was the time off, and the question of whether anything would ever happen in the Trey and Phish world again.  Maybe it was the ridiculously clean shredding all weekend long, but I’m so amped on Trey right now, I bought tickets to the Nashville performance of “Times Turns Elastic,” the orchestral piece he has

photo: Adam Kaufman / Hidden Track

written over the past 18 months.  Combining intricate electric guitar, vocals, and an entire orchestra, this piece is “in the vein of ‘Divided Sky, ‘Guyute,’ and ‘You Enjoy Myself’,” according to  If this piece is of comparable quality to any of Trey’s songs debuted this weekend, we are in for a treat.  People often say that Trey’s Phish and solo compositions are more poppy, simple, and emotional these days.  True, however, he has put his compositional energies into this guitar led orchestral piece- come to Ryman Hall naysayers!

But straight up, I feel like Trey’s “King Midas” touch is back.  I basically love all of Trey’s work- call me what you will.  Whether we are talking Tweezer or Two Versions of Me; Split Open or Sleep Again, I love it.  It works with my soul.  But towards the end of 2006, it was no longer a sure thing everytime Trey stepped on stage- and that in itself, was something that required a conceptual adjustment.  I think that time has returned.  I  know, we are only two shows in, but the life has returned to his eyes, and his unbridled passionate expression has returned to his guitar.  Being at two very small shows over the weekend, we got a chance to see Trey up close.  He looked as present as ever and ready to take on the world.

I can distinctly remember the ’04 Deer Creek Tube (sick!)- I was in the pit for a rare song, and although he was shredding (Trey can always shred, on drugs or not) his eyes were somewhere else- somwhere distant.  This wasn’t just his usual gaze into the ether as he whispered a Reba or a Hood solo- he was elsewhere.  This weekend, he was right there with everyone else.  Sure, he played his solos into the sky and emoted jams to the invisible spirits above with his quintessential gaze of innocence and emotion, but he was there- very there.  Just wait until a video of the All Points West Jiboo surfaces, (SEE BELOW!) you will see just how present he was.  It was clear that the stage was, once again, his wonderland.

A segment of the Brooklyn Sand jam is below to show how into things he was right from the beginning, and watch the All Points Jibboo (and Mr. Completely from the previous post) to see how the weekend ended. (Compare this to Langerado 2007, one of his last performances, to see what had become of his band.)  I am still awaiting a video of “Valentine” to watch his priceless expressions as he debuted what is clearly one of his favorite new songs, but that connection, that energy, that balls-to-the-wall passion and emotion was oozing to and from the stages in Brooklyn and Jersey City.  The weekend peaked with perhaps the two most smoking jams in Jiboo and Mr. Completely at the end of the festival set, and its just a shame there isn’t a four-night run starting tomorrow.  I bet Trey feels the same way.

All Points Jibboo (Part 1)

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All Points Jibboo (Part 2)

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Brooklyn Sand (jam segment)

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Langerado 2007 (jam)

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