3.10.2012 – Walt Disney Concert Hall (Daniel Kalette)

Throughout his musical life—as a member of Phish and beyond—just about any time Trey has stepped on a stage, his guitar playing has instantly become the defining facet of the music and the center of attention. Most often leading his bands with his spontaneous six-string narratives, Red has come to relish the spotlight. But despite standing in the center of the orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Saturday night in Los Angeles, and working closely with conductor, Scott Dunn, on cues, his guitar playing was not the focus of the performance. Featuring delicate, subtle licks and often “implying” far more than he was actually playing, Trey’s legendary axe was but one piece of the rich sonic tapestry that was the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Allowing his music to come to life in way he, himself, had imagined for decades, Trey’s compositions—and Don Hart’s masterful arrangements of them—became the focus of the show, themselves. Blending in with the symphony, though clearly voicing his electric and acoustic guitar tones, Trey shone in a completely different way on Saturday night, while realizing but another dream in the finale of his four-city symphony tour.

2.14.12 – Pittsburgh (M.Stein)

Several pieces, such as “Divided Sky,” “Water in the Sky,” “Brian and Robert” and “Let Me Lie,” were backed solely by the strings section, providing an ethereal and dreamlike quality to these more mellow songs. But the unquestionable highlights of the show came when whole orchestra joined in the mix, turning pieces like “First Tube,” “Guyute (Orchestral),” “Stash” and “You Enjoy Myself” into mind-bending, guitar-laced, hybrid pieces that pushed the boundaries of classical music. Trey phrased his solos in “First Tube,” “Stash,” and “YEM” in a way that sounded just like his classic playing, but often offering partial licks with little sustain, allowing your mind to connect the dots. At the same time, many parts of his typical solos were given to other members of the orchestra, whether trumpets, flutes or violins, creating an entire melange of Trey’s melodies coming from every angle. Not only diffusing the spotlight, Hart’s arrangements allowed the orchestra to authentically express Trey’s thoughts, underlining their tight partnership since 2004.

Walt Disney Concert Hall (C.Highsmith)

One of the largest ovations in the acoustically immaculate Walt Disney Concert Hall came after Trey’s two-movement piece, originally debuted in 2008 with Orchestra Nashville, “Time Turns Elastic.” Though much maligned by the Phish crowd in the rock setting, the piece was, at times, unrecognizable to its mainstream translation, as the intricacies of the composition were able to breathe through the instruments of an entire orchestra instead of forced through the amps of a rock quartet. Taking on a completely different character in its intended setting, “Time Turns Elastic” was the most challenging piece for the audience to digest. The extensive opening movement (before anything comes in or out of focus) fuses a jazz-like guitar style into an often atonal, and clearly emotional, musical sequence. The meticulous way in which Trey hit every note made it very clear that each one counted—there were no flubs allowed—and this formal tone even translated to his typically goofy face.

Trey and Scott Dunn – 2.14 (Stein)

Throughout the second movement (the known song) it was striking how little guitar Trey played. With his music dancing around him, his focus turned to his heartfelt lyrics and their precise delivery. Trey layered his singing atop the piece as the orchestra did the bulk of the playing. In certain spots he contributed signature licks of the song, while taking enhanced guitar roles in others, but for much his magnum opus, Trey held the strings on his guitar or played in very minimalist fashion. And when “Time Turns Elastic” came to its concluding peak and the audience responded, satisfaction—rather, elation—shone from Trey, as his introspective piece was given proper treatment.

Though Hart’s arrangements took center stage throughout the night, perhaps the most noteworthy Phish-to-symphony metamorphosis took place with “You Enjoy Myself.” Hearing the band’s seminal piece interpreted by so many musicians in an a concert hall that Trey noted, mid-performance, was the best sounding room he’d ever been in, was nothing short of majestic. Following the composed half of the song, the trombone took the honor of “Boy,” “Man,” “God, “Shit,” and the orchestra proceeded to interpret a “YEM” jam! Highlighted by the call and response soloing between Trey and the trombone player in the “jam,” this segment carried a legitimate groove. This “jam” sequence truly illustrated the mastery of Hart’s arrangements, as Trey found some space to take liberty with his own part, even weaving in a tease of “Streets of Cairo” (likely from muscle memory at this point.) But the most impressive part of “You Enjoy Myself,” believe it or not, was how the orchestra interpreted the vocal jam. Taking the parts of the band members’ “voices,” the strings (plus?) imitated the section with staccato phrases that fit congruently with each other, clearly patterned after an actual vocal jam.

2.14.12 – Pittsburgh, PA (M.Stein)

Trey’s emotion of the night was summed up in the way in which he performed a solo chant over this final section. Eyes closed and stepping slightly away from the orchestra, Trey soulfully chanted over the music in a way he debuted in a hallmark performance at Carnegie Hall on 9/12/2009 . A very special evening was topped with an instrumental encore, “The Inlaw Josie Wales,” and ended in multiple standing ovations for all involved. For Trey, the dream continued, and for the LA Philharmonic—a symphony that, in the words of Conductor Laureate, Esa-Pekka Salonen, is “interested in the future” and “not trying to re-create the glories of the past”—their vision was fully realized.

I: First Tube, Water in the Sky*, Divided Sky*, Brian and Robert*, Goodbye Head, Guyute (Orchestral)^, Let Me Lie*, Stash

II: Time Turns Elastic, If I Could*, You Enjoy Myself

E: The Inlaw Josie Wales*

*Trey on acoustic

^Trey on acoustic > electric guitar > acoustic

Throughout his musical life—as a member of Phish and beyond—just about any time Trey has stepped on a stage, his guitar playing has instantly become the defining facet of the music and the center of attention. Most often leading his bands with his spontaneous six-string narratives, Red has come to relish the spotlight. But despite …

A Night In the Key of Trey Read More »

Carnegie Hall, 2009 (Chad Batka – NYT)

Just yesterday, Trey shed some light on the band’s early 2012 plans by announcing a his first ever symphony tour. Hitting four cities over the course of a month beginning on February 9, Trey will focus on his fourth current project, and it seems that Phish will remain quiet for at least the first quarter of the year. Trey will perform in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Denver and Los Angeles, with seemingly plenty of time has been factored in for rehearsals, as each date will feature Trey with a different local orchestra. Scott Dunn, however, will be conducting the entire tour. Despite the ho-hum reaction from much of Phish’s fan base, these shows promise to be unique musical experiences that illustrate diversity of skills possessed by our red-headed Jedi. After annihilating a monstrous summer with Phish and having completed work on his first Broadway musical, “Hands on a Hardbody” with Amanda Green, Trey carved out time to play with the Trey Anastasio Band while also heading into the studio with his solo outfit. Now, as our jack-of-all-trades gets ready to implode Madison Square Garden in a highly-anticipated year-end bash, he has his sights set on a more placid project in the new year. When Phish came back in 2009, all band members said they wanted to leave space in their lives for other endeavors, both musical and familial, and thus far, that is exactly the path they have followed.

9.12.09 – Carnegie Hall (B.Slayter)

Trey first opened this chapter of his career in September of 2008, before Phish came back at Hampton. On September 26th, backed by Orchestra Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee, Trey debuted “Time Turns Elastic” (in its proper setting) while also playing a first set or orchestral pieces, with the only rearranged Phish piece being “Divided Sky.” The following year, in 2009, Trey appeared in Baltimore and New York City for orchestral performances that featured far more Phish material and solo compositions. The second came on September 12 at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic—a phenomenal night of music that ended with a standout orchestral translation of the Phish opus, “You Enjoy Myself.” The New York Times hailed this ground-breaking performance as:

“that rarest of rarities, a classical-rock hybrid that might please partisans from both constituencies. Set amid a generous group of popular Phish songs — gentle, string-cushioned ballads like “Brian and Robert” and “Let Me Lie,” as well as the audacious, intricate instrumentals “Guyute Orchestral” and “You Enjoy Myself” — the new piece [“Time Turns Elastic”] could hardly have gone wrong.”

Trey’s upcoming, four-show tour will allow him to take the next step step down this cross-cultural career pathway, one that he has taken to notable enthusiasm. As Phish continues to mature together, they will also continue to mature apart from each other. Whether the time apart has taken the form of the Mike Gordon Band, the Trey Anastasio Band, a new child, or simply time-off, the guys of Phish seem to have a solid understanding of what they want out of life these days, and they are doing everything within their power to grow in many directions at once. For most of their lifetimes, these guys have dedicated themselves to Phish, and it’s only natural that their musical interests would diversify over time. But for every musical experience that band members have away from Phish, they bring back new approaches, styles, and ideas to the main stage to push forth the development of our favorite quartet.

9.12.09, Carnegie Hall (Ben Slayter / Slayter Creative)

Those fans hanging onto rumors of winter or early spring dates, however, will have to stash those hopes away for the time being, as it now seems that the earliest we will see Phish come 2012 will be the late-spring, and likely not too much before the beginning of a potential summer tour. The band has previously stated that 2012 would be a light year of touring, specifically because Page is having a child, and this may be the start of such a schedule. Speculation seems pointless now, however, as we still have the biggest stand of the year coming up in just one month! But while we ready ourselves for a return to Madison Square Garden, tickets will go onsale for Trey’s four-show 2012 Winter Tour. The details are as follows:

Tickets will be available through a real time presale beginning Thursday, December 1, at 10:00 am ET and ending Wednesday, December 7, at noon ET at Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, December 8, for Denver and Los Angeles, and Friday, December 9, for Atlanta and Pittsburgh. Visit for further details.

  • 2/9: Atlanta Symphony Hall, Atlanta, GA
  • 2/14: Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2/28: Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver, CO
  • 3/10: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA

The Carnegie Hall “You Enjoy Myself



The Prize

To promote giving this holiday season, Phish Thoughts is giving away two free copies of the hotly-anticipated 7-disc box set release of Hampton and Winston Salem ’97! All you need to do to win a copy is submit a description of your favorite jam from the three shows in 500 words or less. I will select the five most creative, interesting, and engaging  entries, assign them each a number, and draw the two winners out of a hat! Let’s add some creativity to the contest. The winners, and likely the top five entries, will have their pieces posted next Monday.

All entries must be submitted by this Friday, December 2, at 5 pm Pacific time to


From Cash or New Years Ticket Giveaway!

“Thank you, fans, for setting the standard for face value tickets and fair trade. To demonstrate our gratitude, we will be selecting seven members who participate in our “New Years Eve Ticket Giveaway” and will be them two tickets to one of the following events: Phish, Furthur, Widespread Panic, Sound Tribe Sector Nine, Umphrey’s McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band, or Moe. Visit to enter!

Cash or

Thank you for taking a stand against ticket scalping and continuing to “Embrace the Face!”
~ Brando and Dusty


Jam of the Day:

Bathtub Gin > YEM” 11.29.98 II

Thirteen years ago tonight, this stellar sequence closed out Phish’s final show of Fall ’98

Just yesterday, Trey shed some light on the band’s early 2012 plans by announcing a his first ever symphony tour. Hitting four cities over the course of a month beginning on February 9, Trey will focus on his fourth current project, and it seems that Phish will remain quiet for at least the first quarter …

Trey In Symphony Read More »

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