Tonight was the official public unveiling of Ghosts of the Forest, a new side project from Phish frontman Trey Anastasio. Assembling an amazing band of frequent collaborators to back him up here, including fellow Phish mate Jon Fishman, and fellow Trey Anastasio Band collaborators Jennifer Hartswick, Celisse Henderson, Tony Markellis, and Ray Paczkowski, the band’s first show sounded incredibly polished, rehearsed and downright inspirational to see as a debut.

Ghosts of the Forest debut @ State Theatre Portland, ME © Jake Wisdom/LIVE music blog
Ghosts of the Forest debut @ State Theatre Portland, ME © Jake Wisdom/LIVE music blog

As for what went down tonight, scroll down to see the setlist from the debut which featured what we’d believe to be every song you’ll hear off the new album they’re dropping soon. At first I had botched titles in place but it does look like LivePhish has corrected song titles all in all. And I took notes as the show went and I’m sure it’ll be revised quite a bit. There were elements in this show that frankly never really see the light of day in a normal Phish show or a Trey Anastasio Band experience.

The show kicked off with a pre-recorded piano piece that was played over the PA. After that they moved right into self-titled single we had heard released earlier this week, and they nailed it. Almost zero improvisation, just a perfect version.

The rest, well, the rest will need to be something I re-listen to right away. Check out the show here on LivePhish or download a source via bt.etree.org.

Ghosts of the Forest debut @ State Theatre Portland, ME © Jake Wisdom/LIVE music blog
Ghosts of the Forest debut @ State Theatre Portland, ME © Jake Wisdom/LIVE music blog

Ghosts of the Forest @ State Theatre, Portland Maine 4.4.19

What Made Me Think (piano intro) ^
Ghosts of the Forest
Drift While You’re Sleeping
Friend
Sightless Escape
Halfway Home
If Again
In Long Lines
There’s a Path Above
About to Run
The Green Truth
Beneath a Sea of Stars Parts 1 & 2
Mint Siren Dream
Stumble Into Flight
Ruby Waves
Shadows Thrown By Fire
Wider
A Light Beyond The Dream
In This Bubble
Beneath a Sea of Stars Part 3 (blue) #

ENCORE
Brief Time %
band intros
Pieces in the Machine

^ – the intro was pre-recorded and played over the PA
# – the band segued into the “Beneath a Sea of Stars” theme and moved offstage one by one with Ray left last
% – Trey solo acoustic. After the song he gave a lengthy chat and funny nervous set of stories about how he met everyone in the band for the first time and how this is the first time they’ve all played together. Very heartfelt.

Poster © Daniel Danger:

ghosts of the forest poster portland maine

I took notes as the show happened, but based on seeing what songs were locks vs. the song titles that may not be, I’m not sure how well the notes would still align to what we saw happen. Let’s just say it was Trey Anastasio taking some of what he’s known to be capable of from a songwriting perspective, and he truly stretched himself out here. Once we get to song #2, likely “Drift While You’re Sleeping,” it brought the BPM down a bit and featured a “love with carry us through” refrain. There was a Phish-y style jam in the middle, very classical style compositional style from Trey here. And the song seemed to just crash right into the next segment, a reggae-ish tune. But the refrain of “love with carry us through” came back, which makes me think we were still drifting while we sleep. It got really gospel and Jesus Christ Superstar at the end.

Ghosts of the Forest debut @ State Theatre Portland, ME © Jake Wisdom/LIVE music blog
Ghosts of the Forest debut @ State Theatre Portland, ME © Jake Wisdom/LIVE music blog

At times from there, Trey got deeply emotional in the lyrics and the band followed him with beautiful music and accents. Ray got some opportunities to shine through, and by the end of the long set, Fish and Trey had found some killer areas to jam together a bit. The whole thing sounded great, and based on the opinions we saw flowing in from Twitter, we think everyone in the room was pretty blown away.

Here’s some of the tweets from the show that describe the vibe…

The band will continue this short tour and be done in about two weeks with no specific dates planned past the initial tour, so this may truly be a one-off project as of this writing. Which means fans are clamoring to see what this fuss may be about and frankly after tonight’s debut, I will say this could be a tough ticket.

Ghosts of the Forest debut @ State Theatre Portland, ME © Jake Wisdom/LIVE music blog
Ghosts of the Forest debut @ State Theatre Portland, ME © Jake Wisdom/LIVE music blog

Videos:

Ghosts Of The Forest 4/4/19 “Ghosts Of The Forest” at State Theatre in Portland,Maine

Ghosts Of The Forest 4/4/19 at State Theatre in Portland,ME

Ghosts Of The Forest 4/4/19 “Pieces In The Machine” at State Theatre in Portland,Maine