Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Marshall
Vocals: Trey (lead); Mike, Page (backing)
Last Update: 2011-10-21
As the 2010 New Year’s run approached, one of the odder aspects of the year that flew slightly under the radar was the lack of any new collaborations between Trey and Tom Marshall. Trey debuted four songs with Phish during 2010: two co-written with Steve Pollak (“Show of Life” and “Dr. Gabel”) and two the fruits of his new songwriting collaboration with Amanda Green (“Summer of ’89” and “My Problem Right There”). While it would have been premature for Phish fans to put out an Amber Alert for Tom, many were nonetheless excited on 12/28/10 when Trey announced from the stage that Phish was about to perform a new Trey/Tom composition.
Contrasting with the other 2010 song debuts, there was scarcely any need to announce “Pigtail” as a “Trey/Tom” song. “Pigtail’s” lyrics are as quintessentially Marshall as those other four new song debuts were quintessentially not. “Pigtail” appears to tell the story of a personal connection on the verge of being reformed… or slipping away entirely. “Pigtail” also recalls other Anastasio/Marshall songs like “Sleep” or “Nothing” that attempt to describe something very nearly indescribable.
The world debut of “Pigtail” – 12/28/10, Worcester, MA
Musically, “Pigtail” bears a rough similarity to a slightly slowed down version of “Roses Are Free.” The Worcester debut contained a perfunctory Trey solo before ending with an a cappella performance of the chorus – as it were – of a classically Marshall-ian wordplay juxtaposing “I’m conscious again” with “unconscious again.” Trey dedicated the debut to Tom, who was not in the venue, but rather at home... perhaps listening on ‘couch tour’.
Phish played 34 shows during their Summer ‘11 tour, but “Pigtail” was conspicuously absent for all of them, leading many fans to wonder where the song had gone. So it was a bit of a surprise when “Pigtail” appeared as the encore of the third show of TAB’s fall tour on 10/7/11. The song seems to have found a home with TAB, as it was played on every ensuing show on that tour. For now, that’s a positive development. It’s great to hear it being played at all and, frankly, the TAB versions are vastly superior to the very raw version played by Phish. Nevertheless, it would be nice to see some additional Phish versions so a more fair comparison can be made.
TAB: “Pigtail” 10/12/11 Montclair, NJ