Trey Anastasio Kicks Off Beacon Theatre Run
Pianist Jeff Tanski and the Rescue Squad Strings once again joined the guitarist for portions of the show.
Guitarist Trey Anastasio of Phish returned to The Beacon Theatre in New York City on Tuesday for an acoustic concert held under much different circumstances than his last eight performances at the venue. Anastasio played a setlist loaded with Phish and solo classics for his first of two nights in front of a full-capacity crowd of vaccinated fans as opposed to his eight-week “The Beacon Jams” virtual residency held last fall without in-person audiences.
Trey took the stage to a rousing ovation from fans, many of whom were attending their first concert since the pandemic began. Anastasio jokingly turned his chair to face the back of the venue in a nod to the way he was oriented during “The Beacon Jams” residency. The guitarist opened with “Everything’s Right” which turned into a singalong. Next up was “AC/DC Bag,” the only song Anastasio played at The Beacon last night that wasn’t performed this past weekend at SPAC in Saratoga Springs, New York.
“AC/DC Bag” gave way to “Backwards Down The Number Line” and then pianist Jeff Tanski and the Rescue Squad Strings (violinists Katie Kresek and Maxim Moston, violist Rachel Golub and cellist Anja Wood) emerged for a euphoric “Fluffhead.” Next, Anastasio took a moment to welcome the crowd and asked if anything interesting had happened since Mexico in similar fashion to the question he posed on the first night at SPAC. Trey noted he was a little nervous because there was an “A+++ list” celebrity in the house before shouting out Heather McDougal, a nurse from Maine who wrote a note to Trey that captured his attention during “The Beacon Jams.” The guitarist played a few measures of “Heather McDougal Song” in her honor.
Tanski and the string section stuck around for “Brian & Robert” and “Stash.” Anastasio then returned to the solo format for a concise “Ghost” ahead of Jeff Tanski coming back to augment Trey on “Shade.” Next, the Rescue Squad joined Jeff and Trey for a spot-on “Mercury” and fan-favorite Phish classic “The Lizards.” The strings left Tanski and Anastasio to perform the Phish ballad “Dirt” before the guitarist shared the story of the last time he saw Trey Anastasio Band bassist Tony Markellis who died in April. Anastasio recalled walking off the stage at The Beacon at the end of The Beacon Jams and waving goodbye to Tony and the rest of the band, not knowing he would never see Markellis again. Trey and Jeff then pulled off a stellar “Sand” in honor of the late bassist.
More Trey at SPAC on JamBase
The energy was taken to the next level when Anastasio, Tanski and the strings lit into “Wolfman’s Brother.” Many in the crowd sang along as they did for the solo acoustic “Blaze On” that followed. An emotional high point of the evening came next with a “What’s The Use?” featuring all six musicians. There were moments one could hear a pin drop at The Beacon as the crowd intently focused on the music. A gorgeous “If I Could” followed along with a riotous “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.” Tanski and the Rescue Squad Strings stuck around for stellar renditions of “Pebbles & Marbles” and “Harry Hood” to end the 132-minute set.
Anastasio came out for the encore with a solo acoustic “More.” Jeff Tanski and the Rescue Squad Strings then backed Trey on the “First Tube” finale. The guitarist returns to The Beacon Theatre tonight to cap his brief June tour.
Watch fan-shot videos from Tuesday’s concert in New York City below:
Setlist (via Phish.net)
Set: Everything’s Right , AC/DC Bag > Backwards Down the Number Line, Fluffhead , Brian and Robert, Stash, Ghost, Shade , Mercury, The Lizards, Dirt, Sand, Wolfman’s Brother, Blaze On, What’s the Use?, If I Could, Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S., Pebbles and Marbles, Harry Hood
Encore: More, First Tube
-  Trey on acoustic guitar.
-  Trey on acoustic guitar; with the Rescue Squad Strings and Jeff Tanski on piano.
-  Trey on acoustic guitar; with Jeff Tanski on piano.
This show featured Trey on acoustic guitar. Fluffhead, Brian and Robert, Stash, Mercury, The Lizards, Wolfman’s Brother, What’s The Use?, If I Could, Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S., Pebbles and Marbles, Harry Hood, and First Tube featured the Rescue Squad Strings (Katie Kresek and Maxim Moston on violin, Rachel Golub on viola, and Anja Wood on cello) and Jeff Tanski on piano. Jeff also appeared on Shade, Dirt, and Sand. After Fluffhead, Trey briefly sang Heather McDougal Song, as Heather was in attendance.