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Lonely Trip

Lonely Trip has not been seen in 5 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2024-04-19.
It was played at 0.9% of live shows.
It has been performed live 18 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: Anastasio/Marshall/Herman

Original Artist: Trey Anastasio

Vocals: Trey

Debut: 2021-08-11

Historian: drbeechwood, OrangeSox

Time: March 31, 2020

Place: New York City

Situation: NOT NORMAL

COVID-19 has clearly become an international pandemic, spreading quickly across the US, leaving overflowing morgues and many ill. Stay-at-home orders have been given. Masks are required in public, and people are isolated in their houses and apartments–a year out before a vaccine would become widely available." target="_blank">Watch Lonely Trip on YouTube Trey Anastasio “Lonely Trip” - Released on Instagram, 3/31/20. Video by Matt Nickel.

Just before all this, in the old normal world, Trey had finished writing a new batch of songs with Tom Marshall. And then, like everyone else, he is confined to his apartment with his family, guitar, and cat. Among the many ways he brought nourishing contact to fans using social media during the time was to release stripped down recordings of these songs, accompanied by interesting, silly, or weird videos he created to share with them. 

But, “Lonely Trip” was posted early in this cycle, on the same day of the second episode of Dinner and a Movie, which featured the announcement for a new album in two days and an online listening party the next day. In many ways, this was the most confusing period of the COVID-19 experience, and Phish was in the middle of it with its fans, doing their best to keep its community’s spirits high. 

The video for “Lonely Trip” featured just an image of Trey at the keyboard in front of his computer console and audio of him on guitar singing with only himself via an overdub vocal and occasional soft notes from a keyboard, which only enhanced the song’s spacious sense–appropriate for its figurative usage of lonesome ships at sea. For the Instagram post featuring this video, Trey penned a heartfelt note of empathy to everyone, with special thanks to the amazing people working the frontlines during this period.

Watch Lonely Trip on YouTube Trey Anastasio “Lonely Trip” from the album Lonely Trip

With time on his hands, he started solo recordings of these new songs with the makeshift portable studio he and Tom have used for years, the Rubber Jungle, which in Rolling Stone Tom describes as a “little tiny group of preamps and recording equipment and mixer, a very small Roland V-drum kit. And then Trey brings a bass, a small keyboard, his guitar, and a small amp.” Trey called the album of these songs “a message in a bottle,” and the album was named after the final song of the 15 tracks, this one: “Lonely Trip.”

The live debut of the song was during the Beacon Jams. The Beacon Theatre hosted Trey with various configurations of musicians for a series of eight live-streamed concerts without an audience that also raised over a million dollars for the Divided Sky Foundation to help support opening the new rehab facility Trey was sponsoring in Vermont. Appropriately, the band faced the back of the stage, so the video camera also showed out past the band into the empty seats. 

“Lonely Trip” debuted at the fourth show in the weekly run on 10/30/20, and featured the Trey Anastasio Band with Russ Lawton, Tony Markellis, Ray Paczkowski, and Cyro Baptista. The next live performance was from Trey’s apartment on 6/21/21, and it featured Trey on acoustic guitar with Jeff Tanski alongside on piano. The audio was broadcast on the Sirius XM Phish Radio and advertised as the second installment of the series “Rubber Jungle Live.” 

After postponement of a whole year worth of shows and a delay to begin the 2021 Summer Tour, finally at the end of July of 2021, Phish embarked on their first tour since the pandemic began. Before the first show (7/28/21 in Arkansas), the band sound checked “Lonely Trip” and again on 8/3/21 in Nashville. Finally, on 8/11/21 in Hershey, the Phish debuted “Lonely Trip” as the sixth song in the first set after a 15-minute “Halley’s Comet” and would be played a few other times on the tour.

During fall tour, on the 2nd night of Eugene, it provided a welcome landing pad between jam-charted versions of  “Ruby Waves” and “Golden Age.” Just three nights later, it made its first appearance in the encore slot at Chula Vista before the “First Tube” finale. The last performance of the song in 2021 featured it in the second slot of the third set on Halloween, again between two jam-charted songs, this time an intense “Carini” set-opener and expansive “Soul Planet.” 

The ballad has remained in Phish’s setlists in the years since. Meanwhile, TAB has only played it four times in front of an audience, and so far only once since 2021 at the Mission Ballroom on 6/11/23 with the Trio featuring Dezron Douglas and Fish.

Watch Lonely Trip on YouTube Trey Anastasio Trio “Lonely Trip” - 6/11/23, Denver, CO

The song is another worthy addition to the pantheon of beautiful Trey ballads, which means “Lonely Trip” is probably not going to be jammed out anytime soon, but it features a lovely riff, a delightful piano solo, and the moments of silence in the song can be a welcome rest during a hectic set to remind us how close we are in passing to all these veritable strangers, with whom we likely share fundamental elements of ship design and shipping directions. Or, perhaps for some, it’s a bathroom song?!

In some ways it is reminiscent of “Brian and Robert,” alone in the apartment staring at the walls, but here set out to sea. It is one of several Trey songs emblematic of Phish During COVID-19, whether it was written during the pandemic or not–reflecting a constant quality of their songs to bottle up a feeling that serves different experiences–and it will be hard to remember the song separately from those those months.

Watch Lonely Trip on YouTube Phish “Lonely Trip” - 12/29/22, New York, NY

Last significant update: 12/15/23

Albums: Lonely Trip


© Seven Below Inc. (BMI)

When I see through the deception
And the river is flowing free
You may understand the reason
Why I'm drifting at sea

And you may control the currents
As I drift in search of land
You may understand the reason
When the water turns to sand

So while you're on this lonely trip
Keep a watch for other ships
And if by chance our vessels pass
while you're on this lonely trip
Keep a watch for other ships
And if by chance our vessels pass
Perhaps we'll meet at last

When doors are all closed tightly
With words the only keys
You may understand the reason
Why I'm floating on the breeze

When I hear your voice responding
When no questions have begun
You may understand the reasons
Why I'm flying to the sun

So while you're on this lonely trip
Keep a watch for other ships
And if by chance our vessels pass
While you're on this lonely trip
Keep a watch for other ships
And if by chance our vessels pass
Perhaps we'll finally meet at last

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