Photo by Stuart Levine (not from The Beacon Jams)
On Oct. 9, Trey Anastasio began a run of livestreams from New York City’s The Beacon Theatre. The guitarist was backed by a band made up of T.A.B. members Russ Lawton (drums), Ray Paczkowski (keyboards), Tony Markellis (bass) and Cyro Baptista (percussion). Jeff Tanski, who has collaborated with Anastasio on multiple projects in the past, also guested on a few songs. All of the musicians who performed during the livestream live in New York City, Vermont, or the NYC area.
The show marks the first of eight broadcasts Anastasio will perform from the NYC venue, every Friday through Nov. 27. The first night saw Anastasio debut a series of songs from his most recent release, Lonely Trip, a quote (or tease, depending who you ask) of “Windora Bug” and some choice improvisational sections.
The band was set up with their backs to the seats, facing the back wall of the venue, so viewers could see the empty venue behind them as they performed. The show kicked off with a tongue-in-cheek choice of “Corona,” which led directly into a stretched out version of “Blaze On.” The “Blaze On” jam featured rhythmic and melodic interplay between Anastasio and Paczkowski and a percussion breakdown before returning to the refrain. After “Blaze On,” Anastasio thanked the production crew and revealed he could see the chat during the Twitch stream.
“I Never Left Home” followed, marking the first Lonely Trip debut. Next, the band again flexed their improvisational muscles (with Anastasio’s guitar work shining) during “Soul Planet.”
For “Shade,” Anastasio invited Jeff Tanski to join the band on acoustic piano. Tanski first worked with Anastasio on the musical Hands on a Hardbody. He also helped the guitarist learn the songs for the Fare Thee Well run, as well as transcribing the a cappella covers for Phish during the Baker’s Dozen run. Prior to the performance of “Shade,” Anastasio bantered with the virtual audience (he could see the chat during the livestream). During the banter, he sang a portion of “Windora Bug.”
After a performance of “Dark and Down,” the band played two more Lonely Trip debuts, “A Wave of Hope” and “If I Could See The World.” A grooving version of “Sand” followed the two debuts.
Next, Anastasio played the familiar opening lick to Phish’s “Stash.” However, instead of a full-band version, only Baptista on hand percussion and Tanski on piano backed the guitarist during the song, creating a spacious, almost spooky effect that gelled perfectly with the show’s setting.
Anastasio then moved to his acoustic guitar for a solo rendition of Lonely Trip‘s “When the Words Go Away.” He returned to his electric guitar–which for this show was his “Blonde #2” Languedoc (pictured above)–for a pairing of “Everything’s Right” and Lonely Trip‘s “…And Flew Away.” The guitarist then returned to his acoustic for “The Inlaw Josie Wales” (which also featured Tanski on piano) and Lonely Trip‘s “Sunset Days.”
Before “Sunset Days,” Anastasio discussed his new Divided Sky Fund. All proceeds from ‘The Beacon Jams’ will go toward the fund, whose goal is to open an addiction treatment center in Vermont. The guitarist then dedicated the performance of “Sunset Days” to an engaged couple.
Before the show-closing, full-band performance of “46 Days,” Anastasio again thanked the production crew (and gave Relix a shoutout). The energetic rendition of “46 Days” finished up the two-and-a-half hour show.
Anastasio will return for the second installment of ‘The Beacon Jams’ on Friday, Oct. 16. Check out the complete setlist from night one below! (Via Phish.net)
Oct. 9, 2020
The Beacon Theatre, New York, N.Y.
Set 1: Corona > Blaze On, I Never Left Home , Soul Planet, Shade , Dark and Down, A Wave of Hope, If I Could See The World > Sand, Stash , When the Words Go Away , Everything’s Right > …And Flew Away, The Inlaw Josie Wales , Sunset Days , 46 Days
 Jeff Tanski on piano.
 Only Trey, Jeff Tanski on piano, and Cyro clapping.
 Debut; Trey solo acoustic.
 Only Trey on acoustic and Jeff Tanski on piano.
 Trey solo acoustic.