Trey Anastasio returned to New York City’s The Beacon Theatre on Nov. 20 for the penultimate installment of his ‘Beacon Jams’ livestream series. The show was highlighted by a stunning arrangement of “Harry Hood,” an impromptu performance of “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long,” in-the-moment songwriting to honor a nurse named Heather McDougal and much more.
The personnel this week was the usual lineup for Trey Anastasio Band: Anastasio, bassist Tony Markellis, keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, drummer Russ Lawton, percussionist Cyro Baptista (who have appeared at each of the Beacon Jams shows), plus vocalist/trumpet player Jennifer Hartswick (who performed at the previous two Beacon Jams), vocalist/trombonist Natalie Cressman and saxophonist/vocalist James Casey. In addition, both pianist Jeff Tanski and the Rescue Squad string quartet (Anja Wood, Rachel Golub, Katie Kresek and Maxim Moston) also joined in for a few tunes.
After an opening “Camel Walk,” Hartswick noted that she had been quarantining secretly for several weeks. Meanwhile, Casey noted that he posted photos from Hawai’i on Instagram this week to disguise his appearance for the show. Next came “Set Your Soul Free,” followed by “Alive Again,” which saw Anastasio change the lyrics to “Winter’s coming and I’d like a review.”
“Petrichor” followed, which featured just Anastasio (on electric guitar), the Rescue Squad Strings and the horns. After “Petrichor,” Anastasio teared up while discussing the late Carl Monzo, head of security for Phish, who passed away on Nov. 16. After the touching tribute, the band then kicked the energy up a notch with “Money, Love and Change.”
After “Olivia,” Lawton began “All Pretending,” but he ultimately dropped out as Anastasio responded to a chat message about an Madison Square Garden employee who recently passed away. The guitarist took the opportunity to support those struggling with drugs and alcohol, before “All Pretending” began again. The song transitioned into “Curlew’s Call.”
After “Curlew’s,” Anastasio moved over to his acoustic guitar and the Rescue Squad strings returning to the stage. What followed was perhaps the highlight of the entire Beacon Jams run: a unique arrangement of “Harry Hood” that – quite literally – combined the subtle beauty of the strings arrangement and the power of the full band. While the song was mostly played with just Anastasio and the strings, the full band returned to the stage for the jam section, with Trey swiftly switching to the electric guitar. Anastasio then returned to the acoustic for a cool-down “Lifeboy,” which featured the strings as well as Hartswick and Cressman on backing vocals.
After “Lifeboy,” Anastasio referenced a chat message from Heather McDougal, a nurse who was watching the stream. After expressing his gratitude, the guitarist then led the band through an improvised songwriting session, in which they created the “Heather McDougal Song.” Later, after “Let Me Lie,” Trey again referenced a chat message calling for the “Heather McDougal Song Reprise,” which prompted him to lead the band through a version of “Chalk Dust Torture Reprise” with the lyrics sung as “Heather McDougal Song.” After two TAB standards (“Burlap Sack and Pumps” and “Valentine”), Anastasio led the band through an impromptu performance of “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long.”
The show closed with two more TAB favorites: “Goodbye Head” and “Push On ‘Til the Day.” Check out the full setlist below!
Anastasio will return to The Beacon Theatre on Nov. 27 for the final performance of ‘The Beacon Jams.’
Nov. 20, 2020
The Beacon Theatre, New York, N.Y.
Set 1: Camel Walk, Set Your Soul Free, Alive Again , Petrichor , Money, Love and Change, Olivia, All Pretending > Curlew’s Call, Harry Hood , Lifeboy , Heather McDougal Song , Let Me Lie , Chalk Dust Torture Reprise , Burlap Sack and Pumps, Valentine, Death Don’t Hurt Very Long , Goodbye Head , Push On ‘Til the Day
 Lyrics changed to “Winter’s coming and I’d like a review.”
 Just Trey, The Rescue Squad Strings, and the horns.
 Full TAB debut; began with just Trey on acoustic guitar and The Rescue Squad Strings with the rest of the band joining later.
 Just Trey on acoustic guitar with The Rescue Squad Strings and Jen Hartswick and Natalie Cressman on vocals.
 Debut; with The Rescue Squad Strings.
 Full TAB debut; with The Rescue Squad Strings.
 Full TAB debut; sung as “Heather McDougal Song.”
 Full TAB debut.
 With The Rescue Squad Strings.