Love is Freedom
Original Artist: Trey Anastasio
Original Album: Shine (2005)
Historian: Paul Chadwick (ThinMan)
Last Update: 2011-11-05
"'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all."
So goes one of Tennyson's famous quotes. Being in love makes you feel alive, no matter how long, how much pain, or how much it burns. Love conquers all. No matter the outcome or the risks – love is worth it. And without a doubt, one must let go to Love, for only then does one truly feel free.
Like many songs from Trey's solo career, “Love Is Freedom” suffers from a serious lack of playing time. One often wonders what could happen to songs such as “Low,” “Shadow,” “18 Steps” or “If You’re Walking” if they just got called up from the minors and got played in regular rotation.
“Love Is Freedom” came to fruition in the 70 Volt Parade days and debuted with many other songs on 4/1/05 at Higher Ground. Originally kept on a very tight leash, “Love Is Freedom” was often played acoustic or in a stripped-down format and was in the same vein as “Invisible” or “Love that Breaks All Lines.” It’s a nice little introspective song written in the time period when Trey was dealing with the breakup of Phish.
After being played consistently throughout Summer '05, “Love Is Freedom” began its fall into obscurity with only one appearance (11/2/05) on the fall '05 tour. Trey made another stab at the song, this time with strings, at the 10/8/06 Webster Hall gig. Trey did breathe new life into the song with two fantastic versions on 12/27/06 and 12/29/06. Breaking new ground in the middle section and adding minutes to the song, the full breadth of the song was finally there to see. It now had an extended jam centered around a nice little lick, a vocal reprise and even an enjoyably odd horn interlude in the middle.
“Love Is Freedom” still has the potential to be great – another “Pebbles” – but it has remained an infrequent visitor to recent setlists. “Classic” TAB has played the song just once (2/13/10, Wallingford, CT). In its final appearance to date, “Love Is Freedom” opened the 11/18/10 Princeton, NJ gig with the Scorchio Quintet strings, though it was sadly omitted from the (free) LivePhish release.
Trey Anastasio and the Scorchio String Quintet, ”Love Is Freedom” – 11/18/10 Princeton, NJ