Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Brendan O'Brien
Original Artist: Trey Anastasio
Original Album: Shine (2005)
Historian: Jeremy Welsh
Last Update: 2016-02-21
“Sleep Again” had its live debut on 8/4/05 during a Trey Anastasio Band performance in Boston, one of three songs debuted that evening that would later be released on Shine, Trey’s first solo release after Phish's breakup in 2004. As with a number of songs from that effort, “Sleep Again” is about looking forward, knowing that something better is in the future. During Trey’s in-studio performance for XM Radio's Artist Confidential series on March 7, 2006, he discussed the origins of “Sleep Again” with host George Taylor Morris. As Trey noted, “‘Sleep Again’ was simultaneously for... trying to get past this. I wanted to write a song to directly address the Phish audience... everybody was so mad at me. Something I had to get used to, so I wrote this song.”
Musically, “Sleep Again” is subtle and paced – rather than alluding to forgetting, removing yourself from a situation, “to sleep” in “Sleep Again” refers to rejuvenation and rebirth. “Slow slow, my brother / You will sleep again / Long long, when it passes / You will breathe again.” One needs to rest – sleep – before you can start breathing. Then you can “live again.”
A staple in Trey's solo shows, "Sleep Again" has been played four times by Phish to date. The song's first appearance came during Festival 8's noon-time acoustic set on 11/1/09. The song fit perfectly in the intimate setting of Phish’s “first full-length acoustic set” and featured an extended piano solo from Page; this was followed by electric performances on 11/25/09 in Philly, 6/20/10 at SPAC, and 8/7/10 at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre.
“Sleep Again” is one of two songs from Shine that has been played by Phish (the other being "Invisible," also debuted during the F8 acoustic set). After five years of slowing down, sleeping, and breathing, Phish began to live again.
Trey Anastasio, “Sleep Again” – 12/3/14, Washington, DC, from NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.