Trey Anastasio Continues ‘The Beacon Jams’: Night 2 – Setlist & Recap
Guitarist Trey Anastasio of Phish returned to The Beacon Theatre in New York City on Friday for his second of eight weekly The Beacon Jams livestream concerts. Once again, Anastasio was joined by longtime Trey Anastasio Band members keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, drummer Russ Lawton, bassist Tony Markellis and percussionist Cyro Baptista for the bulk of the one-set, repeat-less performance with special appearances from the “Rescue Squad Strings” and pianist Jeff Tanski.
The quintet faced the back wall of the venue, giving viewers a backdrop of the 90-year-old theater’s unused seats and ornate details. Baptista utilized a few instruments from his huge rig including a whistle to provide an intro for the “Gotta Jibboo” opener. Anastasio delivered a fierce solo on his Blonde No. 2 Languedoc guitar during the TAB staple, which was followed by Trey welcoming the virtual audience and shouting out a few participants in the Twitch chat. He then kicked into “Undermind,” a song he said, “explains the meaning of the universe.”
Anastasio went on to speak about fans who told him the livestreams give them the opportunity to watch with family members or friends who haven’t seen the guitarist in action previously. He dedicated the world premiere of “Evolve” to longtime songwriting collaborators Scott Herman and Trey Anastasio and said performing a debut puts fans on equal ground with family members and friends who are new to his music. “Evolve” was featured on Lonely Trip, an album of material written and recorded while the guitarist was self-quarantining in his NYC apartment between March and June that was released on July 31.
Trey shouted out legendary concert promoter Ron Delsner before dedicating “Steam” to a friend celebrating a birthday. “Steam” featured a powerful organ solo from Paczkowski as lead in to fretboard fireworks from Anastasio. Both were compact yet effective. Pianist Jeff Tanski then emerged to accompany Trey on the Phish classic “Divided Sky.”
Anastasio dedicated his first ever “Divided Sky” duet performance to those who contributed to the newly-established Divided Sky Fund, an organization the guitarist co-founded to “focus on delivering quality care and compassionate treatment for those suffering from addiction via Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation.” Tanski was the lone musician outside the core quintet to take the stage as part of last week's The Beacon Jams opening show.
“Jeff Tanski, that was some great piano playing,” Anastasio exclaimed as Tony, Russ, Ray and Cyro returned and the pianist departed the stage. He then dedicated “Sigma Oasis” to a pair of youngsters watching at home. “Sigma Oasis” was debuted by Trey at a solo acoustic concert in December 2018. Phish unveiled their version one year and the song was added to the TAB repertoire this past January. “Sigma Oasis” is the title track of the latest Phish studio album, which was released in April. A rollicking “Back On The Train” followed featuring all sorts of percussive wizardry from Cyro.
Anastasio read more Twitch comments including one from Wombat Matt referencing a recent ocelot spotting in Texas that provided the perfect introduction to “Ocelot.” Next, Anastasio seemingly went solo acoustic for “Strange Design,” however it was soon clear the guitarist was accompanied by a four-piece string section consisting of Anja Wood, Rachel Golub, Katie Kresek and Maxim Moston. The string section also joined Trey on a version of “Water In The Sky” that featured Markellis as well. Anastasio put down his guitar for his debut version of Lonely Trip track “The Greater Good,” which saw him backed by the “Rescue Squad Strings” and Ray Paczkowski.
Anastasio reached for Blonde No. 2 as he performed “Greyhound Rising” with the quintet and strings. Trey dedicated the song to longtime collaborator Don Hart, who wrote the charts for each of the tunes featuring the “Rescue Squad Strings.” It was then back to the acoustic again as Trey announced over $100,000 has already been raised for the Divided Sky Fund. He discussed the long, hard journey that followed his arrest in 2006 and noted how at the time he thought it was the worst year ever but now realizes it’s the best year ever. “So maybe 2020 isn’t the worst year ever, you never know how things will go,” the guitarist explained. “Sometimes gifts come wrapped in strange packages.” One of the most unusual versions of “Wolfman’s Brother” in the song’s 26-year history came next as the strings, Markellis, Baptista, Lawton and Paczkowski teamed with Trey for a mostly unplugged rendition that saw the ensemble build up a head of steam as the stripped-down performance of the Hoist classic proceeded.
Trey bid farewell to the strings and went on to perform a high-octane “No Men In No Man’s Land” and poignant “Miss You” with the quintet lineup. “No Men” contained a brief tease of the Grateful Dead’s “Let It Grow,” a fitting choice on Bob Weir’s birthday. From there, Anastasio led the troupe through Lonely Trip track “I Never Needed You Like This Before,” a song he performed with The Roots on an august episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. One of the more jammed-out tunes of the night followed in “Plasma.” Trey was in fine form throughout the night, rarely missing a note, but on “Plasma” took his playing to the next level. “Plasma” bled into an emotionally-charged “Waste” before the band brought the two-and-a-half-hour show to a close with “Ghost.” Anastasio’s Languedoc howled during the short but sweet finale.
The Beacon Jams continues next Friday, October 23 at 8 p.m. ET.
Setlist (via Phish.net)
Set: Gotta Jibboo, Undermind, Evolve , Steam, Divided Sky , Sigma Oasis > Back on the Train, Ocelot, Strange Design , Water in the Sky, The Greater Good , Greyhound Rising , Wolfman’s Brother , No Men In No Man’s Land, Miss You, I Never Needed You Like This Before , Plasma > Waste, Ghost 
-  Debut.
-  Only Trey with Jeff Tanski on piano.
-  Only Trey acoustic with The Rescue Squad Strings.
-  Debut; only Trey on vocals (no guitar) with The Rescue Squad Strings.
-  With The Rescue Squad Strings.
-  Trey acoustic with The Rescue Squad Strings.
-  TAB debut.
-  With Trey quoting a line from Poltergeist in the intro.
This performance was part of The Beacon Jams series and featured the debuts of Evolve and The Greater Good and the TAB debut of I Never Needed You Like This Before. Divided Sky was only Trey accompanied by Jeff Tanski on piano, Trey teased No Men In No Man’s Land in Back On The Train. Trey teased Back in Black before Strange Design. Strange Design through Wolfman’s Brother featured The Rescue Squad Strings (Katie Kresek and Maxim Moston on violin, Rachel Golub on viola, and Anja Wood on cello), with Strange Design and Water in the Sky featuring just Trey on acoustic guitar, The Greater Good with Trey only on vocals (no guitar), Greyhound Rising and Wolfman’s Brother with the full band, and Wolfman’s Brother with Trey on acoustic guitar. Trey quoted Rescue Squad when introducing The Rescue Squad Strings after Wolfman’s Brother. Trey teased Let It Grow in No Men In No Man’s Land. Trey quoted a line from Poltergeist before and during Ghost’s intro.