Trey Anastasio Keeps The Tour Debuts & Bust Outs Coming In Charlotte


Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio played the penultimate show of his 2018 solo acoustic tour on Saturday night at the Knight Theatre in Charlotte. Anastasio dug deep into his huge repertoire for a number of tour debuts including three songs he hadn’t performed unplugged in over a decade.

Trey kicked off the one-set performance with “Theme From The Bottom” and the Round Room ballad “Anything But Me.” Next up was “Sweet Dreams Melinda,” which was last played solo acoustic by Trey on March 7, 2006. In 2005, the guitarist unveiled “Sweet Dreams Melinda” with his band at the time featuring different lyrics than either the initial version of the Trey Anastasio Band tune known as “Till I Met You” from 2001 and a take in 2002 that included a bevy of names. From 2005 on the Shine tune described by Trey as a “breezy pop love song” contained a reference to “Charlotte” and Anastasio mentioned he had to play it while in town.

“Sample In A Jar” turned into a singalong, while “Everything’s Right” was extended with a lengthy looping jam. Then, Trey joked to the crowd he had teleported to the show “because I’m sick of the bus.” He then talked about seeing a strange space vehicle and accompanied his story with synth loops. Anastasio discussed getting into town around 1:30 a.m. the previous evening and was surprised at how lively downtown Charlotte was. This led into the New Jersey native telling the tale of the night of February 21, 2003/morning of February 22, 2003 when Phish played two nights at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. A fire broke out around 9 a.m. at the hotel where the band was staying. Trey and Page hadn’t gone to bed yet and Anastasio witnessed firetrucks rolling up to the hotel. McConnell and Anastasio met outside after the hotel was evacuated and Trey told Page, “I was sure this my fault” and Page responded, “Oh my god, I had the exact same thought: I was sure it was your fault!”

The story about Cincinnati was followed by the tour debut of “Architect,” a loop-heavy “Twist” and a loose version of the gorgeous “Mountains In The Mist.” Another huge bust out came next as Anastasio dusted off the Hoist ballad “Lifeboy.” The tune was last played unplugged at the same March 7, 2006 set, where Trey had last performed “Sweet Dreams Melinda.” Saturday’s “Lifeboy” joins a full-band version from October 25, 2016 as the only takes on the song Anastasio has performed in any setting since the end of 2011. The guitarist then played “Summer Of ’89,” which is about and was dedicated to his wife Sue. Anastasio confirmed “Summer Of ’89” is auto-biographical and told the story of how he proposed to Sue, whom he would go on to marry in 1994.

Anastasio continued the show with the instrumental “The Inlaw Josie Wales” before the crowd helped out on the call-and-response lyrics within “Limb By Limb.” A run of “Cavern” and “Rise/Come Together” came next and then Trey told a story of visiting his mother Dina in Marco Island back in the ’90s. The guitarist explained how he had an unpleasant encounter with one of his mom’s neighbors that Dina witnessed. Mrs. Anastasio was worked up about the encounter and wound up walking into a glass panel and split her nose open. She asked Trey to drive around with her to look for the guy and they found him. Dina, who was bleeding profusely walked up to the guy, his wife and a group of friends and screamed “Look what you did to me!” and said to his wife, “Look what your husband did to me!” Well, it turned out the gentlemen Mrs. Anastasio approached was not the one with whom Trey had the unpleasant encounter.

Yet another huge surprise laid ahead as Trey played “Mexican Cousin” by request. Anastasio’s last solo acoustic rendition of the drinking song took place on August 10, 2005. Trey started off “Mexican Cousin” a capella and then accompanied himself with guitar as the crowd sung along. It was then time for the guitarist to shout out his longtime songwriting partner Tom Marshall. Anastasio talked about an experience Tom had with his boss at Educational Testing Service (ETS). Marshall’s mean boss was an owl enthusiast and the lyricist wrote “Buffalo Bill” about his boss. Trey hadn’t performed the tune in the solo acoustic format since February 19, 2011.

Anastasio concluded his set in Charlotte with a run of “Waste,” “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan,” “Wading In The Velvet Sea,” “Carini” and “Back On The Train.” Phish had debuted “Carini” exactly 21 years to the prior in Amsterdam. For the encore, Trey strung together “Brian & Robert,” “Show Of Life” and “Backwards Down The Number Line.” On Sunday, Trey ends his solo acoustic tour at the Georgia Theatre in Athens.

Setlist (Hat Tip – @GreyFlannlDwarf)

Set: Theme From The Bottom, Anything But Me, Sweet Dreams Melinda, Sample In A Jar, Everything’s Right, Architect, Twist, Mountains In The Mist, Lifeboy, Summer Of ’89, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Limb By Limb, Cavern, Rise/Come Together, Mexican Cousin, Buffalo Bill, Waste, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan > Wading In The Velvet Sea, Carini, Back On The Train

Encore: Brian & Robert, Show Of Life, Backwards Down The Number Line

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