Page McConnell Guests With Trey Anastasio Band Following ‘Between Me & My Mind’ Premiere In New York City
Friday was a big night for Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, who was profiled in the documentary Between Me & My Mind that had its world premiere at the Beacon Theatre in New York City as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. The screening was followed by the first Trey Anastasio Band performance since January 6, 2018. Anastasio’s big night came to a close with Phish keyboardist Page McConnell joining TAB for “Heavy Things” and “Blaze On.”
Anastasio summed up the 100-minute film perfectly, when he told the crowd he passed on many offers to participate in movies over the years yet had his interest piqued during a meeting with director Steven Cantor after the filmmaker said Trey shared many aspects of his life with fans but not “the process.” Between Me & My Mind displayed the process of both Phish prepping their “Soul Planet” New Year’s Eve gag and Anastasio recording his recently released Ghosts Of The Forest studio album. Additionally, the movie featured intimate, powerful and frank discussions between Trey and his mother, father, wife, daughters and Phish band mates. The crowd seemed fully engaged throughout, laughing and cheering at key moments to the point that at times it was hard to hear the dialogue.
Cantor made a wise decision by having Anastasio serve as narrator and guide through Between Me & My Mind. Viewers watched as Trey visited the homes/studios of McConnell, drummer Jon Fishman and bassist Mike Gordon to teach them “Soul Planet” and explain his idea of turning the crowd at Madison Square Garden on December 31, 2017 into a sea and the stage into a pirate ship. The guitarist had sometimes deep and sometimes comical conversations with Fish, Mike and Page. While there were plenty of emotional moments in the film, especially when pertaining to his childhood friend Chris “CCott” Cottrell, most of Between Me & My Mind was hilarious.
Anastasio’s latest star turn comes 12 years after he was arrested and charged with drug possession, an incident that was referred to a number of times in the documentary. Sue Anastasio, Trey’s wife, told him that when she got the call about his arrest, she thought it would be a call telling her he was dead. The couple talked honestly and openly about the good and bad parts of their marriage and one of the biggest cheers of the night came when the pair made it clear their relationship was as strong as it’s ever been. McConnell also brought up “the bad old days” during his chat with the guitarist. Page did note that in an odd way he missed the turbulent times as it made him feel “alive,” but was so happy Phish persevered and that he’s feeling as good about the band now as he did when they were climbing their way towards the top.
One of the best parts of the film documented Trey’s visit to the house in Vermont where he raised his kids before moving to New York City. Anastasio and the film crew hiked through a forest and surprised the current residents of the home. The guitarist told the family that lives there about his experience writing classic Phish songs at the house and the reaction from the little girl whose bedroom was once the place where Trey would compose garnered huge laughs with her witty reactions to Anastasio’s tales.
Between Me & My Mind is a treat of the highest level for Phish fans. The film gives devotees a chance to see the “process” Trey mentioned as well as the camaraderie that still exists between members of the band. At one point viewers witness an unintelligible conversation between the quartet in which they are almost speaking their own language. After 35 years these guys still crack each other up and genuinely seem to love each other. Furthermore, the discussions between Anastasio and his family members are extremely insightful and it’s surprising how candid they all were as dad Ernie Anastasio describes feeling guilty over how he treated his son at points and daughter Izabella recounts personal struggles she went through as a teenager. A single screening of the movie won’t be enough for most fans. They’ll want to see it multiple times as there’s so much to take in.
The crowd responded with a standing ovation following the screening. Cantor and producer Jamie Schutz each told the audience this was the best screening they had ever seen, while behind them the stage was quickly set for TAB. Anastasio led his group through the high-energy “First Tube” to open. It took both band and concert-goers a few minutes to transition from movie mode to music mode yet by the end of “First Tube” all seemed locked in. “Everything’s Right” featured a short-but-sweet jam and then trombonist Natalie Cressman was showcased during “Mozambique.”
As TAB moved through “Cayman Review” and “Curlew’s Call,” it was surprising how tight the eight-piece sounded after such a long hiatus. It didn’t hurt that Anastasio, trumpeter/vocalist Jennifer Hartswick, bassist Tony Markellis and keyboardist Ray Paczkowski are fresh off Ghosts Of The Forest tour. A highlight of the set was Trey’s “Dark & Down” solo. His riffs at the end recalled the days of “Machine Gun Trey,” when the guitarist would leave jaws agape thanks to the quickness of his playing. A punchy “Money, Love & Change” and potent “Sand” brought the frame to a close. Trey returned to the stage alone to start the encore with a solo acoustic version of “More.” Anastasio then welcomed McConnell for “Heavy Things” and “Blaze On.” Page, who shared Ray’s keyboard rig, shined with highly melodic solos in each song. The first “Blaze On” with horns thrived from the added brass and kudos to whoever wrote the funky horn line.
Trey Anastasio is currently in the middle of the most prolific era of his storied career since the ’90s. Between Me & My Mind gave fresh insight into this burst of creativity and then the Trey Anastasio Band provided a celebratory dance party. With dozens of Phish shows and a number of TAB performances on the books, there’s no sign of the guitarist slowing down and fans wouldn’t want it any other way.
Watch the entire encore below thanks to LazyLightning55:
Setlist (via Phish.net)
Set: First Tube, Everything’s Right > Mozambique, Cayman Review, Curlew’s Call, Dark and Down, Money, Love and Change, Sand
Encore: More , Heavy Things  > Blaze On 
-  Trey solo acoustic.
-  Page on keys.