Pianist Jeff Tanski and the Rescue Squad Strings joined the guitarist again for parts of the show.

By Scott Bernstein June 23, 2021 • 7:52 a.m. PDT

Guitarist Trey Anastasio of Phish returned to the Beacon Theater in New York on Tuesday for an acoustic concert that took place under very different circumstances than his last eight performances there. Anastasio performed a loaded setlist of Phish and solo classics for the first of his two nights in front of a crowd of vaccinated fans at full capacity, as opposed to his eight-week virtual residency “The Beacon Jams” held last fall without public in person.

Trey took the stage to an enthusiastic standing ovation from fans, many of whom were attending their first concert since the start of the pandemic. Anastasio jokingly turned his chair to face the back of the room, 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. Then, “AC / DC Bag,” the only song Anastasio played at the Beacon last night that didn’t play last weekend at the SPAC in Saratoga Springs, New York.

“AC / DC Bag” gave way to “Backwards Down The Number Line” then pianist Jeff Tanski and the Rescue Squad Ropes (violinists Katie kresek and Maxime Mostonviolist Rachel Golub and cellist Anja wood) emerged for a euphoric “Fluffhead”. Next, Anastasio took a moment to greet the crowd and asked if anything interesting had happened from Mexico in the same way as the question he asked on the first night at SPAC. Trey noted that he was a little nervous because there was an “A +++ list” celebrity in the house before yelling at Heather McDougal, a nurse from Maine who wrote a note to Trey that drew his attention during “The Beacon Jams”. The guitarist played a few bars of “Heather McDougal Song” in her honor.

Tanski and the string section stayed on for “Brian & Robert” and “Stash”. Anastasio then returned to the solo format for a concise “Ghost” before Jeff Tanski returned to augment Trey on “Shade”. Then the Rescue Squad joined Jeff and Trey for a spot on “Mercury” and the fan favorite Phish classic “The Lizards”. The strings left Tanski and Anastasio to perform Phish’s ballad “Dirt” before the guitarist told the story of the last time he saw Trey Anastasio Band bassist Tony Markellis, who passed away in April. Anastasio remembers leaving The Beacon stage at the end of The Beacon Jams and saying goodbye to Tony and the rest of the group, not knowing he would never see Markellis again. Trey and Jeff then pulled off a stellar “Sand” in honor of the late bassist.

More from Trey at SPAC on JamBase

The energy was taken to the next level when Anastasio, Tanski and the strings lit up in “Wolfman’s Brother”. Many in the crowd sang as they did for the acoustic solo “Blaze On” that followed. An emotional highlight of the evening then came with a “What’s the point?” Featuring the six musicians. There were times when a fly could be heard flying at the Beacon as the crowd concentrated intensely on the music. A magnificent “If I could” followed by a wacky “Say It To Me SANTOS” Tanski and the Rescue Squad Strings for stellar renditions of “Pebbles & Marbles” and “Harry Hood” to end the 132 minute set.

Anastasio came out for the encore with an acoustic solo “More”. Jeff Tanski and the Rescue Squad Strings then supported Trey in the “First Tube” finale. The guitarist returns to the Beacon Theater this evening to cap off his brief June tour.

Watch fan-shot videos from Tuesday’s New York concert below:

What is the use?


Together: All is well [1], AC / DC bag[1] > Back to the bottom of the digital line[1], Fluffhead [2], Brian and Robert[2], Hiding place[2], Ghost[1], Shadow [3], Mercury[2], The Lizards[2], Dirt[3], Sand[3], Wolfman’s brother[2], Blaze On[1], What is the use?[2], If I could[2], Tell me SANTOS[2], pebbles and marbles[2], Harry Hood[2]

Even more[1], first tube[2]

  • [1] Trey on acoustic guitar.
  • [2] Trey on acoustic guitar; with the Rescue Squad Strings and Jeff Tanski on the piano.
  • [3] Trey on acoustic guitar; with Jeff Tanki at the 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 SANTOS, Pebbles and Marbles, Harry Hood and First Tube presented 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 has also appeared in Shade, Dirt, and Sand. After Fluffhead, Trey briefly sang Heather McDougal Song, in the presence of Heather.

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