by Megan Waldrep
Trey walks on stage, takes a bow, and begins to play. The stage for tonight isn’t elaborate. Just a wooden chair, a wooden table, a spotlight, and a cloudy ambiance from either a fog machine, the leafy indulgences from the crowd, or both. At one point, the spotlight turned red and elongated his shadow on the back wall of the stage into a towering figure, reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln statue in the Lincoln Memorial.
After two songs he talked to the audience in a playful way, comparing his hands and fingers to horse legs. “A horse’s legs are like their hands and their hooves are their finger nails. You laugh, but it’s true.”
He then enters into an acoustic medley, uplifting, and light before falling back in the horse jokes again: “If a horse falls and breaks his leg in the Kentucky Derby, he gets shot. If he wins, he gets to fornicate. That’s a tough race!”
His candor is humble and relaxed, almost as if he and the audience are at an after party, sitting on someone’s back porch, listening to him play into the early morning hours.
It seems the audience was on the their best behavior, though a signature style for a Santa Barbara crowd, preferring to sit down rather than stand up and dance. Thankfully, a gentleman sitting two seats away from me wearing a headscarf in the shape of a bear, silver metallic shoes, paisley pants, and a sparkly disco shirt was ripping a vape pen and indiscreetly blowing vapors in the air before getting up to jam out. A girl in the forth row got up too and these were the only people with the guts to get up and get down by mid-show. (The song was Sample in a Jar.)
His lighthearted and youthful mood is reflected in the music fans have rabidly devoured since the start of his professional musical career in 1983 when Phish formed in the halls of the University of Vermont. “I’m addicted to song writing!” Trey says. It’s true. His songwriting began way before Phish – as he mentions during the Granada show – when he was in middle school. (The song Guelah Papyrus is one such tune that Phish still plays today, written about his friend’s mom when he was a teen playing music in his best friend’s bedroom.) And it seems he has the stamina of a kid, too – Phish just came off a packed fall tour including a 4-night residency in Vegas for Halloween and, at the time of this show, was preparing to ring in 2019 with Phish for a 4-night run at Madison Square Garden for New Years Eve.
Here’s the set list:
Water in the Sky
The Inlaw Josie Wales
Back on the Train
We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains (Phish song. Live debut by Trey solo)
Dog Faced Boy
Sample in a Jar
Backwards Down the Number Line
Till We Meet Again
My Friend, My Friend
Chalk Dust Torture >
Harry Hood (> ‘Chalk Dust Torture’ reprise)
Turtle in the Clouds
Megan Waldrep is a columnist and freelance writer living on a 34-foot sailboat, currently off the coast of Mexico. For more interviews, relationship, and adventure stories, visit www.meganwaldrep.com