Trey Anastasio’s ‘The Beacon Jams’ livestream series continued last night (Oct. 16), with the guitarist again streaming a performance live from New York City’s The Beacon Theatre. Like the first installment, Anastasio was once again backed by a band made up of TAB members Russ Lawton (drums), Ray Paczkowski (keyboards), Tony Markellis (bass) and Cyro Baptista (percussion). Pianist and frequent Anastasio collaborator Jeff Tanski also returned for a song. In addition, the guitarist also invited a string quarted–dubbed The Rescue Squad Strings and consisting of Anja Wood, Rachel Golub, Katie Kresek and Maxim Moston–to perform during parts of the set.
The show kicked off with some percussive exploration by Baptista, which preceded the opening notes of “Gotta Jibboo.” After a take on “Undermind,” the band debuted the first Lonely Trip track of the night, “Evolve.” “Steam” followed, featuring inspired playing from the whole band, particularly Anastasio and Paczkowski.
Next came perhaps the highlight of the show: a stunning take on the Phish staple “Divided Sky.” The unique rendition featured only Anastasio and guest Jeff Tanski on piano. While the arrangement was theoretically not so different from the typical Phish version, performing it as a duet added an unexpected emotional depth to the piece. This was no surprise, as Anastasio had dedicated the performance to his new Divided Sky Fund, an organization that “will focus on delivering quality care and compassionate treatment for those suffering from addiction via Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation.” At the end of the performance of “Divided Sky,” Anastasio declared: “Jeff Tanski, that was some great piano playing!”
A trio of “Sigma Oasis,” “Back on the Train” and “Ocelot” came next, all performed with just the core band. Anastasio then invited a string quartet to the stage, which he introduced as The Rescue Squad Strings. Anastasio also switched to an acoustic for sublime renditions of “Strange Design” and “Water in the Sky,” both of which featured just Anastasio and the strings. The debut of Lonely Trip‘s “The Greater Good” followed, with Anastasio providing only vocals with The Rescue Squad Strings backing him up. It was then back to the electric guitar for a full-band (plus the strings) take on “Greyhound Rising,” which was dedicated to Don Hart, another longtime collaborator who wrote the Rescue Squad’s string charts.
As Anastasio returned to the acoustic guitar, he announced that the Divided Sky Fund had already raised over $100,000. He discussed his own experience with treating his addiction and his experience being arrested in 2006. Anastasio emotionally mentioned that he figured that year was the worst of his life, but he now understands that it was one of his best, noting that perhaps we would look back on 2020 in a similar way. “Sometimes gifts come wrapped in strange packages,” he said.
Anastasio then led another unique take on a Phish tune: “Wolfman’s Brother,” featuring Trey on acoustic with backing from the strings, Markellis, Lawton, Paczkowski and Baptista. The strings then left the stage for the evening.
After “Wolfman’s,” Anastasio led the core band through renditions of “No Men In No Man’s Land” (which seemingly included a tease of “Let It Grow,” perhaps as a nod to Bob Weir’s birthday) and “Miss You.” They then performed the TAB debut of “I Never Needed You Like This Before,” which was previously played with The Roots on Fallon. Next came “Plasma,” followed by “Waste.” According to Scott Marks (@bizarchive) on Twitter, this was the first time Anastasio had played “Waste” outside of Phish while not playing acoustic guitar. The show then wrapped up with a spirited rendition of “Ghost,” with Trey playfully quoting Poltergeist during the intro section.
Anastasio’s The Beacon Jams returns next Friday, Oct. 23. Check out the full setlist from the Oct. 16 show below, via Phish.net.
Oct. 9, 2020
The Beacon Theatre, New York, N.Y.
Set: Gotta Jibboo, Undermind, Evolve , Steam, Divided Sky , Sigma Oasis > Back on the Train, Ocelot, Strange Design , Water in the Sky, The Greater Good , Greyhound Rising , Wolfman’s Brother , No Men In No Man’s Land, Miss You, I Never Needed You Like This Before , Plasma > Waste, Ghost 
 Only Trey with Jeff Tanski on piano.
 Only Trey acoustic with The Rescue Squad Strings.
 Debut; only Trey on vocals (no guitar) with The Rescue Squad Strings.
 With The Rescue Squad Strings.
 Trey acoustic with The Rescue Squad Strings.
 TAB debut.
 With Trey quoting a line from Poltergeist in the intro.