Mellow rock from Trey Anastasio gets smooth partnering from Marin Alsop and Baltimore Symphony
Trey Anastasio proved to be quite the mellow fellow Thursday night when he collaborated with the Baltimore Symphony in a program of his music. My review is in Friday's paper.
Ably partnered by conductor Marin Alsop, he made a good case for his ambitious 30-minute piece Time Turns Elastic. In that work and a selection of Phish songs, he offered some suave improv on the guitar and somewhat less steady vocals.
It all added up to something a little less, I suspect, than either Anastasio fans or the orchestra expected. ...
Rather than a pointedly rock kind of night, this was a subtle, intimate occasion, overall, an opportunity to focus in on Anastasio's slow-to-burn guitar viruosity and distinctive songwriting style.
Those songs may or may not have derived great benefit from their orchestral trappings, but I found myself generally liking the directness and sincerity of the arrangements, the easy-going nature of the music-making.
The coolest thing, though, was seeing such a non-symphony crowd in the place. Some of them surely didn't know from the BSO. I heard that one audience member asked an orchestra staffer how long Meyerhoff Symphony Hall had been there.
At first, the Phish folk sounded ready for a rock concert -- lots of whoops and hollers and shouted requests, as you would expect. Gradually, when the nature of the evening became clearer, it seemed as if the audience pretty much switched gears as smoothly as the BSO players were doing onstage, taking in the music in a different way.
These classical/non-classical unions don't necessarily change either world, but it's interesting to see the two sides share the same space, if only for the occasional night.
Baltimore Sun photo of Trey Anastasio and Marin Alsop: Gene Sweeney Jr.