Sweet Dreams Melinda
Also Known As: Til I Met You
Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Brendan O'Brien
Original Artist: Trey Anastasio
Historian: Scott Bernstein (ScottyB)
Last Update: 2014-11-07
TAB unveiled a slew of new material over the course of first tour as a sextet in the winter of 2001. All of the new original compositions were debuted at the first two shows of the tour, with the exception of a song introduced as "Till I Met You." This tune first hit a TAB stage in Asheville on 3/2/01 at one of the last gigs on the tour. In introducing the debut, Trey mentioned that it was one of the "breezy pop love songs" he'd written for the tour. What eventually became "Sweet Dreams Melinda" fits squarely in that category along with "Drifting" and "Ether Sunday."
"Til I Met You" was shelved after its debut until the following summer when it reappeared on 5/29/02 at L.A.'s Greek Theatre with a new title and lyrics as "Sweet Dreams Melinda." Following three performances on TAB's summer 2002 tour and a pair of plays that fall and the next spring, "Sweet Dreams Melinda" went unplayed until 70 Volt Parade's summer 2005 tour. From 8/5/05 until the present it has been a staple of Trey's solo repertoire.
The music of "Till I Met You" and the early versions of "Sweet Dreams Melinda" are nearly identical, yet Anastasio had changed most of the lyrics, including the syrupy-sweet chorus and refrain, for its re-emergence on 5/29/02. Each of the seven pre-Shine takes started off as a duet between Trey and Jennifer Hartswick as the pair went back and forth singing 12 names – "Moses," "Mindy," "Andy," "Wade," "Derek," "Keith, "Tony," "Sofi," "Rufus," "Agnes," "Danny" and "Shane" – the protagonist had spent time with in the past for which "things just weren't the same" in the present.
When "Sweet Dreams Melinda" returned in 2005 the names that dotted the verses were gone as the song had transformed once again. The second verse now spoke of a romance that came to fruition during a road trip and referenced "Charlotte," "Savannah," "Toledo," "Boston" and "Tulsa, Oklahoma" earning big cheers whenever Trey performs "Sweet Dreams Melinda" in one of those cities. Anastasio has yet to reveal who the song is about. At its second performance in 2005 (8/9/05) Trey mentioned, "So now we're gonna do this song that started off, and then became about somebody, but I can't tell you who."
Trey has recorded two studio versions of "Sweet Dreams Melinda." The first was a take laid down in 2001 for his 2002 self-titled release that didn't make its way onto the album, but did appear as a bonus track on the Japanese version along with "At The Barbeque." While the lyrics were listed in the liner notes, the name "Wade" mistakenly appeared as "Wayne." When Anastasio took his backpack to Atlanta in 2005 "Sweet Dreams Melinda" was one of the songs he recorded with producer Brendan O'Brien. This time the tune did make the album as "SDM" appears as the seventh track on Shine. Drummer Kenny Aronoff plays drums on the track, while O'Brien handles bass and keyboard duties.
When Trey visited the XM Studios on 3/7/06 to promote Shine he told host the late George Taylor Morris that the song "reminds me of all the great memories of tour," going on to say that "Sweet Dreams Melinda" fits the album's concept of Anastasio responding to his band mates, friends and Phish fans about the "animosity and confusion" some of them felt after he broke up the band.
TAB, "Sweet Dreams Melinda" – 2/20/11, Boston, MA
Check out a recording of 3/2/01 to hear the debut of "Sweet Dreams Melinda" as "Til I Met You" and then the 6/21/02 take to hear the progression of the tune. Seeing action only twice in 2003, the eight-minute version on 06/04/03 would be the last with horns until the Undectet shows late in 2006. In the summer of 2006, GRAB introduced their version of "Sweet Dreams Melinda" on 7/2/06 and then performed it every other show or so. The GRAB editions of the song are notable for the interplay between Trey and Marco Benevento, especially in Darien Lake, NY on 7/8/06, though surprisingly the seven versions which that band played are among the shortest in the song's history.
While not known as an improvisational vehicle, there's one "Sweet Dreams Melinda" that clocks in at just over 20 minutes. On 10/24/06 in Boulder, Trey's six-piece had reached the usual conclusion of the guitar solo when Ray Paczkowski and Anastasio engaged in a bit of call and response. After five minutes of gentle trilling, the guitarist kicked on the overdrive and took the jam in a different direction; his band mates were happy to oblige and embarked on a memorable, rock-heavy excursion. Jennifer Hartswick even dusted off her trumpet before this "Type II" "Sweet Dreams Melinda" finally wrapped up at the 20-minute mark.