Review: Trey Anastasio and the New York Philharmonic @ Carnegie Hall

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The performance started right on time with a percussion-fueled First Tube. The arrangement of First Tube left plenty of room for Anastasio to add flourishes to the lush melodies the orchestra was laying down. Trey kept it simple only employing a few basic effects allowing him to blend in perfectly with the Philharmonic. Besides nailing 99.9% of the complex material he was playing , what was most impressive about Trey’s guitar work was his volume control. He would literally adjust the volume between each phrase even going so far as to play his Languedoc unamplified when the music required it. Hearing First Tube – a tune that was originally written and performed by a trio – expanded to such marvelous heights set the bar high for the evening.

Each song the ensemble performed contained new segments right next to the familiar parts Phish fans know and love. For instance, The Inlaw Josie Wales started off with a dramatic intro that led into Trey fingerpicking the traditional intro on his signature Martin acoustic. Brian and Robert contained sweeping string arrangements that made a pretty song beautiful. What also made Brian and Robert a highlight was Big Red’s vocal delivery. Anastasio’s voice became unbearably raspy and inconsistent during the mid ’00s, but happiness and healthiness has Trey singing better than ever. Water In The Sky and Let Me Lie also benefited from the singer’s clear and emotive vocals.

As the concert went on Anastasio seemed to become more comfortable clearly taking in the moment, cracking smiles and knowing nods to the friends and family that filled the first few rows of the orchestra. His grin was particularly wide as the Philharmonic nailed the most difficult segments of Divided Sky with ease. Meanwhile, Big Red’s fingers glided across the fretboard just as easily. You could tell he had put plenty of time into perfecting his parts. The orchestral version of Guyute that includes most of My Friend, My Friend ended the first set on a glorious high note.

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After a quick intermission, the second set started with the New York City debut of Time Turns Elastic. As opposed to the other tunes played on this night that were written for a rock band and later reworked for an orchestra, Time Turns Elastic started out as a nine-section heavily orchestrated epic that was truncated for Phish. As the Philharmonic navigated through all nine sections and three movements of the half-hour long composition it was clear we were hearing the song as it was meant to be heard. The instrumental sections that were cut from the version of TTE Phish plays broke up the rapid fire delivery of lyrics that hinder the quartet’s take on it.

A quick Let Me Lie followed and also benefited greatly from the lush orchestration. Anastasio praised the audience and the performers before thanking everyone for supporting the Kristine Anastasio Manning Memorial Fund which his family started to pay tribute to his sister who passed away in May. The crowd was just as thankful as Anastasio was and responded with multiple standing ovations. The thanks would be taken to a whole new level as Trey kicked off the best song of an evening filled with incredibly played tunes – You Enjoy Myself.

The song Anastasio would give his left nut to play was completely re imagined with all sorts of wonderful melodies added to each nook and cranny of the piece. Trey needed to hit each and every note to keep up with the orchestra and he delivered in a big way. It seemed as if each member of the ensemble had their part in making this version of YEM special and  even the incredibly stoic Philharmonic members cracked smiles when the trombonist let loose with a few angular notes that imitated the “boy, man, god, shit” section of the tune.

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No one was sure how the musicians would tackle the jams but the orchestra played a repeating pattern that gave Anastasio space to let loose with a number of Santana-esque riffs. At this point all civility was out the window as the audience couldn’t restrain themselves from howling in approval and would could blame them? We were in uncharted territory.

Big Red put down his guitar after tearing it up for a bit and stood at the front of the stage with a smirk on his face. The percussion section and the strings simulated the Fish/Mike duel leading into a quick silence before Trey started singing wordless melodies backed by the orchestra. That’s right, they didn’t ignore the vocal jam. It was unbelievable how much thought and love went into rearranging the classic Phish tune for the large ensemble. The evening was already a huge success but this version of You Enjoy Myself was next level. Check it out as soon as possible.

Three or four more standing ovations followed before the group dusted off one more chestnut from the Phish repertoire – If I Could. The string arrangements from Hoist were expanded with both Trey and the Philharmonic’s harpist playing off each other beautifully through the guitarist’s solo. What a fitting ending to one of the biggest moments in Anastasio’s career. As the crowd shuffled out of the ornate venues all sorts of superlatives were flying around with some just shaking their heads in glorious disbelief about what they just witnessed.

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That glowing vibe mixed with a completely different energy when the audience hit the streets to find the Nitrous Mafia peddling their wares in front of Carnegie Hall. It was disgusting, especially when I came back an hour later to find 7th Avenue between 56th and 57th littered with balloons. Even that poor display couldn’t take away from what was a magical evening for Trey Anastasio and the fans that have supported him through thick and thin just to capture moments like last night.

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31 thoughts on “Review: Trey Anastasio and the New York Philharmonic @ Carnegie Hall

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Hidden Track » Review: Trey Anastasio and the New York Philharmonic @ Carnegie Hall -- Topsy.com |

  2. coltrane74 Reply

    Nice review Scott – I feel like I was there! This night seems like a career highlight for Trey.

    The NY Times review is similarly glowing too.

    Wow – can’t wait to hear/see(?) this! My hope is for a cd/dvd release – would go to charity.

  3. never.told.u.the.story.of.the.goff Reply

    what a great review! what a great review SB…

    excellent!

    coltrane’s right. B/n the pics and the prose, i also, felt like i was there.

  4. lauren Reply

    great review & pics!

    would have focused on the music/show & ignore the disgusting scene outside.

  5. Pingback: Hidden Track » Setlist: Trey Anastasio and the NY Philharmonic @ Carnegie Hall |

  6. muppet Reply

    Great review and YES THANK YOU FOR POINTING OUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SCENE!!

    The balloons wouldn’t have been on the ground if no one bought them!! STOP BUYING GAS FROM THESE FVCKS!

    If you need if THAT BAD get goddman whip creme dispenser and bring your own.

    STOP SUPPORTING THEM!

    sorry about the rant
    Thank you from the stellar review though

  7. Pingback: Setlist: Trey Anastasio and the NY Philharmonic @ Carnegie Hall - Roll With It |

  8. Pingback: Review: Trey @ Carnegie « Musical Stew Daily |

  9. Hans Reply

    Big Red should perform in Amsterdam with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, which is even better than the New York Philharmonic (and the hall has better acoustics, ask anyone).

  10. PeterB Reply

    Thanks for a great review.

    Its time to start shouting at the nitrous mafia and the idiots that buy their garbage. Our scene can only be cleaned up by those who care. I will be in full throated volume on fall tour.

  11. jeff c. Reply

    thanks for the review scotty b – can’t wait to hear this one! nitrous mafia and the philharmonic – wow.

  12. TC in NYC Reply

    I was there. The night was MAGIC. I can’t even begin to describe how joyful it was to hear those tunes played in that venue by those amazing folks. Watching men & woman in their 50′s , 60′s & 70′s playing their instruments to “Divided Sky” “Guyute” & YEM” was a sight I won’t soon forget, but not nearly as cool as watching the conductor who’s name is pronounced FISH (swear to God) bob & weave to the music. His energy was infectious, & when he embraced Trey after TTE it was the best moment of the night. A huge hug of love & music. Thank you TREY!

  13. tommy anders Reply

    It is not only disgusting but totally embarassing that the nitrous mafia thugs descended uopn Carnegie Hall. These clowns could care less about the phish scene or how regualr folks who happened to be season ticket holders at the NYPhil might think of it. It makes us ALL look bad. To have these mobsters selling $20 balloons outside one of america’s most respect concert halls is downright disgusting and pathetic. Not to mention the usual mess of used balloons strwen everywhere. Do phish fans really have no self respect? Do people really need to get a shitty one minute buzz on right outside perhaps the most respected classical music halls in the world? The entire phih community needs to tell these nitrous thugs to fuck off. Stop buying their $20 balloons and they will go leach onto Unph or Disco tour where they beong. Epic Fail for the self respect of the community.

  14. stealy_fan Reply

    great review scotty….was it recording by livephish by any chance? Or just AUD’s?

  15. Dave Sas Reply

    Fantastic review and pics from what was an amazinglyincrediblybeautifulandmemorable evening – thanks HT crew, you can continue to raise the bar.

  16. john ford Reply

    excellent review, it actualy gave me goose bumps, great job, kudos.

  17. Markah Reply

    Excellent review. Truly excellent.

  18. Gary Reply

    Great review Scotty!

  19. Darren Reply

    any word on where i can get the fruits of the ‘mobile truck’?

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  21. the joker Reply

    awesome review and great pics. thanks for putting together a great write up!

    the aud recording i have is great but there is a little too much crowd noise to pick out the intricate parts, i too would love to have a professional recording of this. i too think the arrangement of YEM is incredible…trey is a clever guy to do the boy/man/god/shit part the way he did and the vocal jam part is awesome as well. big red’s voice sounds great!

  22. Andrew Reply

    Awesome review – thanks for the write up and incredible pics! Trey looks so happy. I’m glad he has found a place in the world again and has added something to his repertoire that most musicians only get to feel in their dreams. Congrats to Trey and thanks Scotty again for the review.

  23. Nearly Normal Jimmy Reply

    My girlfriend and I made the trip from South Carolina for the show and we were both absolutely swept away by the event.
    My head is still spinning from the trip and I can not type enough words to describe what the show did to us. Even after having seen numerous Phish shows over the last 15 years, this performance moved me like no other has. THANK YOU TREY!

  24. Pingback: Overheard:Live In Concert at the Trey Anastasio Concert at Carnegie Hall « Overheard: Live In Concert |

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