Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Walt Disney Concert Hall from the inside.  Insane.  Unreal.   Gorgeous.

It began innocently enough.  Hanging out at BU with Rob Alston for fall break in 1992.  Boston in October can be a bit nippy especially when you grew up in surf trunks and t-shirts in the middle of the Pacific ocean.  Lawn Boy and Picture of Nectar were the playlist, in the days before that was even a word.  I know many people do not care for Phish.  Many of my good friends even.  In fact, the connection who made this night possible does not particularly care for the music herself.  For the record, let me state that I think that is beautiful.  I adore those who do not share my personal music preferences.  Our differences make us human, without differences life would be a bit dull.

One of the biggest takeaways from that trip was my fascination with Stash.  The song has captivated me for 2 decades now.  It has everything I want in a song and while it meanders it's way around it doesn't take off into the jungle for the extended jams that the band is known for and which I honestly like the least.  I can't narrow down my list of favorite Phish songs anywhere close to single digits, but if my eardrums were about to be punctured by toothpicks, Stash would be in the running for my last request.

Fast forward to the end of 2010.  It was a rough year for me, punctuated with all sorts of emotions.  But one of the presents that year was a recording of Trey Anastasio in Richardson Auditorium on Princeton University campus.  During my freshman and sophmore years I lived no more than 100 yards from that building.  Listening to the recording off livephish.com brought back all sorts of memories for me, as Trey describes Oval with Points and how he and Tom Marshall came up with some of the lyrics for Glide while lounging on that very statue.  Sometimes the connections in our lives seem so much stronger than random coincidence could ever allow.  Having never met either Trey or Tom, I feel like I understand a little bit about them and a little bit more about myself because of them.

Richardson Auditorium

I'm not the type to ask for favors.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say I have to like you a s-ton before I ask you for help.  Part of this is the guilt I typically feel and the other part is not wanting to be a burden.  So, when Kelly mentioned to me that Trey was playing one night with the LA Philharmonic but that he didn't get tickets, I did not instantly remember that one of my special friends had instructed me to let her know if I ever needed tickets because she has "sick hookups" with "those guys".  Ah, the joy of the music biz, huh?  A few weeks passed and then the lightbulb went on in my head (I'm not the smartest guy on the planet, but persistance can pay off sometimes.)  The request was as easy as anything I've ever done, as if I were somehow special enough to deserve VIP treatment.  It truly warms my heart to know that chivalry is not dead and that people are willing to stick their neck out for my personal enjoyment.  THANK YOU T, holy s, you rocked my world with this one.

Kelly, Julia, Mike and I headed up on Saturday afternoon.  Kelly used his Hilton points to book us a couple of rooms and Julia was along for the ride even though she was not attending the show.  Dinner at Blue Cow was fantastic, it seems downtown LA is getting its act together a little bit.

Davey heaven, est 2012, lol.

Or maybe I just thought the waitress looked hot in her flannel shirt with her pleasant, un-snooty attitude.  What are cool women doing in LA?  Don't they know they don't belong there?  Madisen with an e, named after Darryl Hannah's character in splash.  Mmmmm...

Kelly and Julia.  Getting close to time to put a ring on it...
I don't have any photos of Mike.  But I do have some photos of something Mike brought.

There is a reason one of these is wrapped, it's a little more special than the others.

OK, so, awesome dinner, then we walked right up to will call, I handed out my CA license and 3 tickets were handed to me.  OMG, T, I swear next time I see you I'm going to maul you for this hookup.  No, wait, that sounded weird.  I'll wash your feet.  OK, that's even weirder.  Well, maybe I'll consider the hot tub.  Maybe.  This was a big step.  This meant the world to me.  Walking in, wearing my tux, along with the other freshly-showered and not-as-rank-smelling wookies, I felt privileged, excited, downright schoolgirl giddy.  Trey Anastasio with a full orchestra.  OMG, it's all happening.

OK, perhaps I am embellishing a little bit.  But that's just how it is with Kelly, Mike and I when it comes to Phish and Trey.  We have this crazy, irrational lovefest thing going on.  They are both upwards of 40 and I'm closing in on it and yet we have massive hero worship love affair with Trey.  It's pretty strange, but we just go with it.  Even homophobic Mike is willing to let down his guard a bit for Trey.  That's how powerful the experience is for us.

Setlist: Trey Anastasio at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, March 10, 2012
Main set: First Tube / Water in the Sky / Divided Sky / Brian and Robert / Goodbye Head / Guyute / Let Me Lie / Stash / Time Turns Elastic (I: Song at Dawn. Ruby Shaded Sea) (II: Submarine. Landslide. Rays of Blue Light) (III: Summer Sound Shower. Hailstorm. Funnels. Carousel) / If I Could / You Enjoy Myself
Encore: The Inlaw Josie Wales

My thoughts from the show center around the buttery smooth and delicately tender voice Trey had on this night.  I've heard him sing rough around the edges at times but this night it was the sweetest, crystal clear version of himself.  At one point near the end of the night he crept off to the side of the stage, un-miked, to sing a few O's and it was just stunningly beautiful.

The highlights for me were most of the first set and specifically Let me Lie and Stash.  Let me Lie with an orchestra is just brilliant, soft, genuine, and it plucks at the strings of my soul like the harpsichordist does with her instrument.  "Gonna take my bike out...gonna ride it slowly....gonna ride just how I like".

But over and above every other brilliant song of the night, to see orchestral Stash, one of the first Phish songs I ever heard and still, to this very day, one of my favorites, really took me to the clouds.  The audience clapping three times at just the right moments, the pure silence in between.  The violins and violas carrying out the rifts.  Best of all was all the apprehension and setup of listening to Stash countless times from the Princeton recording, knowing how it would likely unfold live, but yet being plugged into the experience live and still being blown away with the nuances of utter mastery from the fingers of incredible musicians.  "Maybe so, but maybe not!"  

OK, I get it, if you're not a Phish fan there's no way you stomached reading this far, and I feel bad if you somehow managed to skim through it anyway in search of some redemption.  I'll stop there, my Gay for Trey moments can be kept inside my heart, they don't need to be plastered to my blog any more than I already have done.

Being old and having partied our fair share in our day, we went to sleep after the concert.  Well, Mike kept nagging me with "cocktail, Davey?" despite repeatedly reminding him that I haven't had a drink since January and I didn't really want one.  I think I woke up to him asking "cocktail, Davey?"  But I got him back, after breakfast.  I dragged him to the Urth Cafe, a scant 2 miles from our hotel.

OMG, THE URTH CAFE!!!  From DJ Dave's Yoga girl.  And I was there.  OK, it wasn't the real Urth Cafe, I mean, Santa Monica is nice, with the sunshine, I should come down, maybe visit sometime.  But, there was no way we were going through Santa Monica on our way home, this was my chance for Urth and I took it.  Walking up the stairs, Mike was immediately on guard.  He wanted good coffee, but I don't think he's down with the whole urban hipster fairy coffee shop fru fru mentality.  I used to hate it a scant 2 years ago.  Actually I used to despise paying $5 for coffee.  Now I can't think of a better way to describe my flavor of Heaven than the Urth Cafe.  Unreal being in that space and watching the baristas.  I couldn't get enough of it.  Mike was stressed and made a beeline out of there once he got his french press.  My quad latte gave me a gigantic headache for most of the day which eliminated any chance of a workout.  But it was worth it, it was so worth it.

And that marked the end of an indulgent weekend trip to the city of Angels, to wear fancy clothes, eat fresh and healthy food, listen to beautiful music from extremely talented musicians, and drink some of the best coffee I've ever had.

I'll let Hunter write up his evaluation of the birthday party we threw for him.  I think he had a good time, but you never know what he thought until you read his words.  I think he wanted to talk about his car dodging skills from 2001 as well.


  1. doooooder WTF is up with your LA CHICKS comment?! Mini and I are offended. Seriously.
    But you redeemed yourself with the quad latte/ $5 coffee anecdote.

  2. Gay for Trey. Love that. Prince Caspian is a good song. It's the only P song I know, but it's good.

  3. I would have died if I would have been there. Oh my goodness. Oh my.