Show of Life
Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Pollak
Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)
Original Artist: Trey Anastasio
Albums: TAB at the TAB
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
Last Update: 2014-01-15
"Show of Life" represents the first songwriting collaboration by members of Phish and Steve Pollak, a.k.a. "The Dude of Life" in over 15 years. A radical departure from earlier, more whimsical efforts such as "Suzy Greenberg" or "Dinner and a Movie" (much less "Bitchin' Again" or "Self"), "Show of Life" gives the first hints of a more mature "Dude."
Similar in musical structure to "Waste" and "Prince Caspian" with a solitary guitar intro, slow build, and space for a climactic jam should they desire, "Show of Life" is outwardly heartfelt and clearly self-referential. While stylistically a very traditional pop/rock song, it's origins were decidedly modern: while strolling through Manhattan's Upper West Side after lunch, Trey and Steve recorded a demo on Trey's iPhone with the FourTrack app, and the essential structure of the song recorded that afternoon remains in the live version.
"Show of Life" made its debut with Trey's solo outfit on 2/8/10, and it was played in eleven of the sixteen shows on that tour, usually late in the second set or as an encore. Indeed the song seems to have a very intentional late second set/set ending/encore vibe, with the expression of thanks and reflective ending chorus that we all "Find ourselves right here, in the show of life." "Show of Life" assumed the prominent second-set closing slot on its first two performances (6/11/10 at Toyota Park and 6/19/10 at SPAC) and then leading the encore at Merriweather on 6/26/10.
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But at the same time, it's not an objectively bad song and there is no reason to complain, except for that feeling of 'I really wanted to hear xxxx, not yyyyy', which is a natural tendency, but one that people should try to overcome. This song obviously is meaningful and resonates deeply with Trey and the boys, so let them sing it. Playing what they want and what they feel is a key ingredient in making Phish so awesome. They need to keep it that way. So we have to take the Show of Life's with the Tweezer Reprise's.