Trey Anastasio Of Phish & Dan Kanter Featured On ‘Under The Scales’ Podcast With Tom Marshall

The latest installment of Phish lyricist Tom Marshall’s Under The Scales podcast features his longtime friend/collaborator and Phish frontman Trey Anastasio. The Princeton natives sat for a conversation with guitarist Dan Kanter that took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 29.

Trey, Tom and Dan’s conversation was set to focus on Anastasio’s guitars, but instead focused on how the guitarist puts setlists together. The episode begins with talk of Dan’s credentials and how he came to work with Justin Bieber. Kanter then talks about his experience hanging with Phish bassist Mike Gordon that led into a set he played with Mike and Jon Fishman at Second City in Chicago. Anastasio enters the fray at the 14-minute mark.

Anastasio talked about two times Marshall sat-in with Phish. Once when Tom contributed to a cover of “Shine” by Collective Soul at MSG on New Year’s Eve 1995 – 1996 and then in 1999 when Trey was trying to trick fans into thinking Bruce Springsteen would be coming out and instead brought out Marshall to sing “Born To Run.” The old friends also discussed pranks they played in grade school. Trey then waxes poetic about his time in his high school band Space Antelope.

An interesting discussion comes when Tom asks Trey about how he puts setlists together. Anastasio reveals when he wakes up in the morning he looks at a master list of every song Phish has played. He then circles songs that may be possibilities. The circled songs may be a list of 100 tunes. He takes other band members’ thoughts into account (for instance Mike Gordon might want extra time to study the lyrics to “Mock Song”) and whittles down the list to somewhere around 80 songs. Then, at soundcheck, more decisions are made using the input from other band members so that when the show starts the list is at around 30 tunes. He says they make 100% sure they walk on stage not knowing what song they will open with. There’s plenty of thinking and discussion about what will be played on a specific night, but most of the decisions are made on stage and plenty of times songs that aren’t on the pre-show list will get performed. Anastasio also revealed he used to plan out setlists in advance, for instance when Phish would play four nights at the Garden in the late ’90s. For setlist geeks, the conversation is extremely fascinating.

Next week, the second part of Anastasio, Kanter and Marshall’s chat will be posted and is expected to focus more on Trey’s guitars. Listen to part one of the Trey/Tom/Dan episode of Under The Scales:

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