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Link Trey Anastasio & Oregon Symphony, Tuesday, 09/09/2014
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR

Set 1: First Tube, Frost, Divided Sky, Brian and Robert, Stash, Time Turns Elastic

Set 2: Guyute (Orchestral), Architect[1], Petrichor[2], You Enjoy Myself

Encore: Water in the Sky

[1] Orchestral debut.
[2] Debut.

Notes: This show featured the orchestral debut of "Architect" and the debut of "Petrichor."

Musicians: Trey Anastasio

CreatureoftheNight , attached to 2014-09-09 Permalink
CreatureoftheNight This was my first Trey Orchestral show, although I've heard a few on youtube. Trey's entrance was met with a raucous standing ovation of the 2/3 capacity crowd. We were in the front row of the cheap ground level seats Page side (concertmaster side) with several empty rows in front of us. First Tube warmed everyone up and Trey took a short solo. During the song break, tons of late comers flooded into the concert hall, so many that Trey welcomed them to the show. Divided Sky brought one of the big highlights of the evening. Trey was leaning over towards a duet with the concertmaster. The two had a moment that is impossible to explain in words, but they were both glowing as a unit on stage. There was a brief pause, and the entire audience began laughing along with Trey simultaneously because we all felt the same musical connection. Stash startled a few in the orchestra because the crowd clapping was SUPER loud and precise. The audience sounded like it had rehearsed that part a few times together and it echoed through the concert hall. Another good solo from Trey showed that playing with the orchestra may give more improv to the listener than the average first set of Phish.
Next came a fairly brief story from Trey explaining his involvement with orchestral ensembles. He also profiled his arranger and gave the back story to TTE. Here's where things fell off the rail a bit for me. I loved hearing this song in its natural setting, but the crowd became very distracting. It started slowly, but by the end of the song, hundreds of people had left their seats for the bathroom and beer lines before the end of the set. Some were making their entire row stand to let them pass, while others knocked cups and belongings loudly onto the floor. At the softest moments, you could hear boisterous, schwilly noise from the lobby much louder than the music. Trey even leaned into the orchestra to hear them better. Maybe I'm old or crotchety, but I was embarrassed and very distracted from the magic happening on the stage.
Guyute, now a fixture of Trey's orchestral shows, brought lots of smiles to the audience at the start of the second set. The crowd was WAY into Architect, much more than any time I have seen Phish or Trey play this song. It seemed to fit perfectly.
The biggest highlight for me was Petricor, the new Trey composition for orchestra. It contained elements similar to Guyute, TTE and Divided Sky, but also sounded like nothing he has ever done before. His composition showed massive growth and was very engaging and complex throughout. There were radically different tempos, dynamics, color and moods that flowed smoothly from one section to the next. There is great potential for a successful Phish crossover from Petricor, but that's for another day. When the piece ended, the entire crowd jumped to its feet and roared their approval. Petricor was a triumph in every sense of the word. I can't wait to hear it again.
The expected YEM took a very different path than other versions during the "vocal jam." After the jammy orchestral section, Trey chanted a haunting tune accompanied by the strings. The audience was mesmerized. H2O finished the night off well with the slow C+W version. We thanked the staff and headed out for a night cap.
If you haven't seen Trey with an orchestra before, do not hesitate. There is improv in the show and the fresh takes on old favorites is enough to cover the price of admission. Hopefully, you will get to hear Petrichor and have your concert taken to the next level. Thank you to the Portland Phil and everyone else involved in making Tuesday night so special.
Score: 12

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