Original Artist: Trey Anastasio
Original Album: Traveler (2012-10-16)
Historian: Tim Wade (TheEmu)
Last Update: 2013-11-12
“Corona” begins with an admission: No matter what the goal, at some point along the way we “stumble on and fall down hard.” Humans are fallible, so failure is an inescapable reality. The question is, how do we handle adversity? When everything seems lost, what will give us strength? The song’s lyrics describe the sun expanding, the atmosphere and oceans burning away, the stars going out, and the arrival of Judgement Day. So when all is dark and the future is uncertain, “how you gonna see me? How you gonna know?”
TAB, “Corona” – 1/25/13 Soundcheck, Montclair, NJ
The end of the world is a metaphor that many people can relate to, but it carries special meaning for those who struggle with substance abuse. Addicts and alcoholics know the feeling of helplessness that pervades when getting drunk and high becomes the center of existence. To begin recovery, something must take the place of drugs and alcohol; for those who follow twelve step programs, that thing is a “higher power.” So how will I know that something good remains when the whole world falls apart? Because I have faith in something greater than the world and greater than myself.
This is not to say that “Corona” is “about” the twelve steps or a higher power. It’s absolutely not necessary to interpret any song on Traveler as a message about sobriety or God. Co-author Tom Marshall’s experiences don’t mirror Trey’s. But the “meaning” of a song encompasses more than just what was in the author’s mind when the lyrics were penned. As Tom himself has said, “Trey sometimes pulls me in a different direction, and tells me what it’s really about. Or, what it is about for him.” This is just one take on the lyrics of “Corona,” one that fits neatly with a song like “Architect,” but it’s not the only possible interpretation.
“Corona” kicked off Trey’s October 2012 tour and saw heavy rotation, like many other tunes from Traveler. It appeared in thirteen of the next eighteen TAB performances, and though it hasn’t yet made it into a Phish setlist, it was soundchecked prior to the 7/3/13 Bangor show.