Trey Anastasio Kicks Off ‘The Beacon Jams’: Night 1 Setlist & Recap

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Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio began The Beacon Jams weekly livestream residency at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. The concert featured a Trey Anastasio Band lineup of bassist Tony Markellis, drummer Russ Lawton, keyboardist Ray Paczkowski and percussionist Cyro Baptista.

Following tour cancellations from the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Anastasio began releasing new songs recorded while quarantined in his apartment in New York City, which became the foundation for his solo album released on July 31, Lonely Trip. Anastasio was tapped to be the first in-studio performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on the August 11 episode that aired after the program’s monthslong reliance on remotely recorded episodes. In September, Anastasio recorded a solo performance in Central Park for the City Parks Foundation Presents A SummerStage Jubilee streaming event.

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In June, Anastasio spoke about the possibility of playing a concert in an empty room, indicating he was not interested in playing without a live audience. “I don’t know if I want to play without our community with me,” Trey told Relix. “It’s a bridge I haven’t been able to cross.”

Anastasio’s bridge-crossing performance on Friday, October 9 was the first of eight of The Beacon Jams, which continue each Friday for the next seven weeks. After taking the stage at the empty historic NYC venue, Trey selected the fitting “Corona,” the opening track off his 2012 solo album, Traveler, to start Friday’s single set show. The musicians were arranged facing the back of the stage, with the empty theater’s seats surviving as the backdrop.

The Phish/TAB crossover “Blaze On” came next and delivered an extended improvised section that saw Trey — playing his “Blonde No. 2” Languedoc guitar — and Ray going back and forth for several passages and a percussive breakdown featuring Russ and Cyro. After “Blaze On,” Anastasio responded to some of the comments from the livestream and thanked the production crew.

The band then played the live debut of the Lonely Trip track “I Never Left Home.” The quarantine anthem served as a vehicle for Trey to take the spotlight as his guitar rang out through the empty venue. Before starting the next song, Trey encouraged Cryo to play one of the many percussive instruments in his arsenal, which led to Russ counting off the start of “Soul Planet.” The jam out of ”Soul Planet” was blistering tension and release and left Trey a bit winded by its end.

Trey then wished his mother a happy birthday (as well as a commenter) as keyboardist Jeff Tanski came out and sat next to Ray. While continuing to banter, Trey sang a bit of “Windora Bug” before Tanski, who has collaborated with Phish and Trey in the past, accompanied the band on piano on the Phish ballad “Shade.” TAB staple “Dark And Down” was another highly energetic performance that left Trey trying to catch his breath.

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The second Lonely Trip debut of the night, “A Wave Of Hope,” caught a funky groove as Markellis thumped out the foundation for the others to play around. The Lonely Trip live debuts continued with “If I Could See The World,” which saw Ray playing a gorgeous piano throughout.

A wave of groove followed in the form of “Sand,” as the song’s original pocket layers Tony and Russ synchronized on the early-TAB/Phish favorite. Trey leaned into the ensuing jam, propelling the momentum to a feverish peak that caused him to laugh and wonder where he was after it ended.

Baptista and Tanski were then left onstage with Anastasio for a stipped-down arrangement of the Phish classic “Stash.” The jazzy presentation was constructed of Anastasio’s guitar, Tanski’s piano and Baptista’s hand clapping.

Trey was then left on stage alone and he picked up his acoustic guitar, took a seat and delivered the live debut of the Lonely Trip ballad “When The Words Go Away.” The full band was back to join Trey (who was back to electric guitar) on “Everything’s Right.” This led to another dose of high octane jamming as Trey fired off note after screaming note.

The Lonely Trip debuts kept rolling out with the sprawling, multi-part “… And Flew Away.” After steering through the new tune, a swell of noise grew as Anastasio grabbed his acoustic guitar for a full band performance of Phish’s elegant instrumental, “The Inlaw Josie Wales,” with Tanski again on piano.

Trey then talked about the new Divided Sky Fund established through Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation. Proceeds from The Beacon Jams will go toward the DSF’s mission to open an addiction treatment center in Vermont. He then dedicated a solo acoustic take on “Sunset Days” to an engaged coupled with a pending wedding.

More thank-yous from Trey to the production crew and Beacon staff came after he picked his Languedoc back up. “46 Days” then fired up as the final song of the set, ending the two and half hour concert.

As Trey stated before the final notes of the night, he’ll be back at the Beacon at the same time for the second The Beacon Jams livestream next Friday, October 16.

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Setlist (via Phish.net)

Set One: Corona > Blaze On, I Never Left Home [1], Soul Planet, Shade [2], Dark and Down, A Wave of Hope[1], If I Could See The World[1] > Sand, Stash [3], When the Words Go Away [4], Everything’s Right > …And Flew Away[1], The Inlaw Josie Wales [5], Sunset Days [6], 46 Days

Notes:

  • [1] Debut.
  • [2] Jeff Tanski on piano.
  • [3] Only Trey, Jeff Tanski on piano, and Cyro clapping.
  • [4] Debut; Trey solo acoustic.
  • [5] Only Trey on acoustic and Jeff Tanski on piano.
  • [6] Trey solo acoustic.

This performance was part of the Beacon Jams series and featured the debuts of I Never Left Home, A Wave of Hope, If I Could See The World, When the Words Go Away. and …And Flew Away. Trey quoted Windora Bug after Soul Planet. Shade featured Jeff Tanski on piano. Stash was performed by Trey, Jeff on piano, and Cyro clapping. When the Words Go Away and Sunset Days were performed by Trey solo acoustic. The Inlaw Josie Wales was performed by just Trey on acoustic and Jeff Tanski on piano.

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