Trey Anastasio Covers Bon Iver In Eau Claire

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Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio paid tribute to Justin Vernon on Monday night in Vernon’s hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin by performing a cover of Bon Iver‘s “Towers.” The cover debut was one of many highlights of Trey’s solo acoustic concert at Eau Claire’s Pablo Center At The Confluence last night.

Early on, Anastasio noted how much Eau Claire reminded him of Burlington, the city in Vermont that birthed Phish. Trey’s 28-song performance included the acoustic debuts of “Ruby Waves” and “Towers” as well as the guitarist’s first solo version of “Fluffhead” since May 8, 1999 – a span of over 20 years. Additionally, Trey served up tour debuts of “All Of These Dreams,” “Sweet Dreams Melinda,” “Twenty Years Later,” “Billy Breathes” and “A Life Beyond The Dream.”

At one point, the New Jersey native recalled a dream he had in which he attended a Tool concert with Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend. In the dream, Tool was dressed as a 1980s hair band. Anastasio then went on a tangent and told the tale of his drum teacher when he was 11-years-old who warned Trey’s parents not to let him grow up to be a musician. “He was right,” Trey laughed. Later in the night, the guitarist played “Billy Breathes” by request and followed with “Strange Design.” Anastasio explained both songs were about his oldest daughter, Eliza. He wrote “Billy Breathes” after she was born and “Strange Design” in the days just before she was born.

Trey led into “Towers” by telling the crowd, “You guys need to forgive me, this is a song that I love and I’m going to play a tiny little version of it so I’ll do the best I can.” Anastasio then performed the tune from 2011’s Bon Iver, Bon Iver and exclaimed, “It’s kind of embarrassing coming to someone’s town and playing their song for people who are probably so … but I love that song and I love that album. I’ve looked at that album cover and thought ‘that must be what Eau Claire looks like’ and low and behold!”

Anastasio continued by telling the tale of Phish soundchecking a Professor Longhair song at Tipitina’s in the legendary musician’s hometown of New Orleans and asking an older man who worked at the venue what he thought. The man reacted by giving a firm thumb’s down. For the encore, Trey honored a request from earlier in the evening by performing “Wingsuit” and then ended the show with the pairing of “The Lizards” and “More.”

Watch video of “Towers” and the banter that followed thanks to Alan Babar below:

Check out a stream of Monday’s concert here.

Setlist (via Phish.net)

Set: Blaze On [1], Theme From the Bottom[1], Brian and Robert[1], All of These Dreams[1], Sweet Dreams Melinda[1], Twenty Years Later[1] > Sample in a Jar[1], Wolfman’s Brother[1] > The Inlaw Josie Wales[1], Back on the Train[1], Fluffhead[1], Ruby Waves [2], Winterqueen[1], Till We Meet Again[1], Ghosts of the Forest[1], If I Could[1], Sand[1], A Life Beyond The Dream[1], Billy Breathes[1], Strange Design[1], Towers[2], Limb By Limb[1] > Chalk Dust Torture[1], Wilson[1], Cavern[1]

Encore: Wingsuit[1], The Lizards[1], More[1]

  • [1] Trey solo acoustic.
  • [2] Trey solo acoustic; first acoustic performance by Trey.

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Trey Anastasio