ADVANCED SALES HAVE ENDED. PLEASE PURCHASE TICKETS AT THE DOOR
DOORS 7:00 PM
MUSIC STARTS 8:00 PM
Cast aside any and all expectations.
Whether behind the piano on a windswept mountainous cliff, at a hallowed venue such as Carnegie Hall, or playing shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most legendary musicians in history, solo pianist Holly Bowling subverts convention with virtuosic playing, emotional immersion, and a thirst for invention. Acclaimed by Rolling Stone, Billboard, Relix, and more and sought-after by icons such as Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, and Warren Haynes, she once again flips the script on her 2020 album and second reimagining of Grateful Dead staples entitled Seeking All That’s Still Unsung.
“When you go to see someone play solo piano, you’re not expecting them to stand up, pluck the strings, drum on the frame, hit the strings with mallets, or place magnets and EBows inside of the piano,” she smiles. “It doesn’t fit with the expectations of how you’re supposed to play this instrument. I think it works though.”
Her introduction to the instrument happened at just five-years-old when mom and dad bought a piano from a yard sale down the street. They gave their daughter a choice: ballet or piano. As the sounds of Mozart, Beethoven, and The Grateful Dead piped through their home, she obviously chose the latter without hesitation.
After a childhood dedicated to the instrument, she studied piano performance at SF State University. Intermittent gigs around San Francisco followed before she ended up on stage for an impromptu jam with Marco Benevento. “I paid him a dollar to go up there,” she recalls. “It reminded me that for most of my life I wanted to be on stage playing, and I couldn’’t let that slip away.”
After catching a 2013 Phish show in Lake Tahoe renowned for its extended rendition of “Tweezer,” she transcribed and arranged the entire 37-minute improvisational masterpiece into a nuanced and intricate piano opus. She humbly refers to it as “a nerdy pet project that somehow inspired people to demand Phish on piano.” It announced her arrival as an exciting outlier and paved the way for Distillation Of A Dream: The Music Of Phish Reimagined For Solo Piano in 2015.
As her profile rose, she delivered Better Left Unsung only a year later. For this triple-LP, she re-arranged iconic moments from the Grateful Dead on her piano. It bowed in the Top 25 of the Billboard Top Classical Albums Chart. She went on to share the stage with everyone from The Dead’s Weir and Lesh to Haynes, John Scofield, Jim James, Branford Marsalis, Don Was, Robert Randolph, Greensky Bluegrass, and more. Along the way, she graced the bills of Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads and Haynes’s annual Christmas Jam and unveiled the concert recording Live at the Old Church. Simultaneously, she co-founded improvisational rock outfit Ghost Light in 2018. Engaging a faithful audience even in the midst of the “new normal” of 2020, she launched a series of living room livestreams chronicled on the eight-volume Alone Together: The Living Room Sessions highlighted by her innovative re-imaginings of Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and many others.
During 2019, she tracked Seeking All That’s Still Unsung at 25th Street Recording in Oakland over the course of just five days. "Seeking All That’s Still Unsung is a lyric from a Dead song,” she explains. “There was definitely a sense of trying to look for what I hadn’t said on the last album. Having spent a few more years exploring the Dead’s music in the solo piano context, I felt free enough to take more liberties with how I approach the arrangements and improvisation. I can insert myself into the songs more. Given their nature, I realized the way to actually be the truest to them is to throw the rules out the window.”
Under the influence of the Bill Evans album Conversations with Myself, she properly incorporated overdubs for the first time, locking into a “dialogue” with her own playing. She tried her hand at this approach on Better Left Unsung’s “Dark Star,” but truly brought it to life here.
On the opener and first single “St. Stephen,” her fingers nimbly conjure a melody between bass-y root notes. The call-and-response instantly captivates with all of the drama and dynamics of a main stage festival performance.
“It’s like you’re watching a movie,” she explains. “The scene changes, and the colors and lighting just shift. Something new comes into focus, and the improv goes further. It’s not what I expected to come out of the arrangement initially, but it’s a defining moment on the album. It has the intensity of the overdubbing and some light and dark places to showcase a different range of emotions.
Elsewhere, the sprawling near 14-minute “Weather Report Suite” traverses a similar scope as her transcendent playing spirals towards a climactic release. The project culminates on a delicate “Stella Blue,” which she calls “the perfect landing point of the album and an exhale at the end after this emotional ebb and flow.”
In advance of Seeking All That’s Still Unsung, she embarked on The Wilderness Sessions—a virtual concert tour of natural wonders across the United States. Setting up her piano in the heart of national parks and landmarks such as Yosemite National Park, the Bonneville Salt Flats, Bruneau Canyon, the Beartooth Mountains, and the Badlands of South Dakota, she catalyzed the "Interaction between the music and the landscape.” In the end, Holly consistently redefines what’s possible on her instrument of choice.
“When I play pure stripped-down acoustic piano, it’s like going home,” she leaves off. “I love the nuance, detail, and emotion you can pull out of a piano in a more subtle and quiet setting. The moments I cherish the most happen when I slip outside of myself for a while. If my music gives this to someone else, that would make me happy. There are shades of classical and shades from the Grateful Dead. A lot of classical enthusiasts might not give the Dead a chance. Many Deadheads may not like classical. Personally, I’ve always had two halves of my musical life. When I finally started to bring them together, it was something I’d been building towards for a lot longer than I’d realized. Bringing everything together, I’d love to open up boundaries and help people discover something new.”
The Double E Performance Center is home to The T-Rex Theater - a 400 seat multipurpose events space that hosts blockbuster movies, the best-sounding concerts, engaging speaking events, live-streamed programs, and private rentals as well!
This is a general admission seated show in the T Rex Theater - seats are first-come, first-served. Our theater is outfitted with plush reclining chairs featuring cup holders that make for the most comfortable concert-going experience in Vermont.
Unless otherwise listed, our shows are all ages. All guests need a ticket to seated shows. Much like an airline, we will welcome well-behaved babies who can stay seated on their parent's laps. We ask that parents remove loud or distracting children and cooperate if our concert staff ask you to do so. Drinks are allowed in the theater; cupholders are available with each chair.
Dancing is more than welcome! We will never ask you to sit down, but please be aware of your impact on your neighbors. Folks are welcome to dance in aisleways so long as they follow the directions of our concert staff. Folks may be asked to vacate aisleways at times and dance in their seats. Seat aisles are larger than most theaters!
All ages; children 12 and under are free!
Tickets are nonrefundable unless the show is completely canceled.
Factory-sealed water bottles and empty refillable bottles are welcome. No other outside drinks can be brought into the venue. For your comfort and convenience we offer complimentary cold water in jugs.
The Essex Experience has many restaurants and markets offering many culinary options before the show, as well as takeout.
Black Flannel Brewery & Distillery - Burgers, small plates, and brews
Bramble - Family-style dining and wood-fired pizzas
Junction - An immersive culinary experience awaits
Mad Taco - Fresh Mexican + margaritas
Magic Mann - Consumer cannabis for responsible enjoyment
Oriental Wok - takeout only and delicious traditional Chinese dishes
Salt & Bubbles Wine Bar & Market - Charcuterie, small plates, wine, and grab + go market supplies
Sukho Thai - dine-in and takeaway gourmet Thai
Sweet Clover Market - organic, fresh, local produce, sandwiches, hot bar, cheeses, wine, snacks
Tavern at The Essex - Seasonal Vermont favorites in a cozy setting
Vermont Cider Lab (NEW!) - Small plates and charcuterie, paired with incredible hard cider brewed onsite
*Check websites for operating hours. Reservations may be required.
No outside alcoholic beverages may be brought into the venue. For patrons over 21, our bar serves beer, wine and mixed drinks. You must be 21 years of age to purchase alcoholic beverages, with a valid driver’s license, liquor ID, passport or military ID present at the time of purchase.
SAFETY AND SECURITY POLICIES
All bags are subject to searches prior to entering the venue, no exceptions.
Our patron’s safety and security is our top priority. To protect the safety of our patrons, staff and performers you’ll be greeted upon entry by one of our security personnel who will conduct a thorough but speedy check of all bags and purses. Clear plastic tote bags/small backpacks are encouraged!
Pocketbooks/purses and other bags which are not fully viewable (where they are stuffed full with items making it difficult to view everything inside the bag without emptying the bag) may be asked to be returned to the patrons vehicle at the discretion of the security personnel.
During our security screening process, all patrons will be asked to open / unfold large jackets, coats, etc.
The following items are also not allowed inside the venue under any circumstances: firearms, including those carried by off-duty law enforcement; weapons of any kind; sharp items such as knives (including pocket or “Swiss Army”-style knives), multi-tools, screwdrivers and scissors; illegal substances; laser pens; fireworks, or any item that can be deemed potentially harmful, including pepper spray and Mace.
People attempting to bring in the items listed above will be asked to return them to their vehicle which will delay their entrance inside the venue.
These policies are designed to make all of our patrons feel safer at our venues. Any questions on these policies can be directed to [email protected] or by calling 802-878-4200.
There is no smoking of any substance inside The T-Rex/Double E Performance Center. Smoke is restricted to designated smoking areas located outside The Green. This includes cannabis, e-cigarettes and vaping.
There are accessible restrooms and parking.
Please call the box office at 802-878-4200 for accessible tickets or for more information regarding accessibility.
The Essex Experience, where The Old Stage, The Green, and The Double E Performance Center are located offers plenty of complimentary, on-site parking adjacent to the venue.
The parking lot entrance is located at 21 Essex Way. We offer handicapped parking in designated areas.
We do not allow any tailgating or barbecuing in our lots, however concessions are available inside the venue prior to the performance through the end of intermission.
Since we are located in a mixed-use residential area, please consider our “good neighbor policy” and do not sound horns when exiting the venue.
The Essex Experience, T-Rex Productions/Double E, and EuroWest Retail Property Holdings are not responsible for theft or damage to vehicles or contents.
VIDEOGRAPHY + PHOTOGRAPHY
We do not allow SLR or DSLR cameras with detachable lenses in the venue without a photo pass and prior written consent of artist management. if you wish to obtain a media/photo pass, please reach out to Brady Kimball, Community Engagement Ambassador at [email protected].
Most shows are all ages. Any age restriction will be noted on the website listing.
If you wish to bring children, we encourage you to watch the videos posted on the events to determine age appropriateness of content. Any child over 12 years old is required to have a ticket for a performance.
Ticketed events can be found on EssexExperience.com. All major credit cards are accepted for phone and online purchases. Cash payments are only accepted in person, via the Box Office, one hour before doors up through the start of the show.
All sales are final. There are no refunds or exchanges, unless a show is canceled. Please direct any questions to [email protected].
For your convenience, ATMs are located at the Essex Cinema at 21 Essex Way, #300, in front of the Essex Cinemas and within Hannaford's Supermarket, at 21 Essex Way, Suite A.
Proceeds from our venues are reinvested in the Essex community and non-profit organizations that support the arts, humanities and education in Vermont. We do not tolerate hate speech, bullying, violence, or antagonistic behavior at our venues or on our community pages. We accept and welcome feedback sent to [email protected].