Photo credit: Jake Silco
On Friday night, Trey Anastasio took the stage at New York’s Beacon Theatre for the first of two solo acoustic performances–which doubled as the location’s reveal of their new Sphere Immersive Sound system–at the fabled Upper West Side venue. Anastasio’s Aug. 19 and 20 performances fittingly brought forth the first acoustic run-throughs of a handful of songs; moreover, the two-night stand in the Big Apple doubled as a look forward at concerts to come with the ever changing advancements in sound technology.
Anastasio’s Friday night show got underway with “Blaze On” before the musician moved into a rendition of “Back on the Train,” ahead of the title track off his latest solo acoustic album, Mercy. Then, Phish’s frontman landed on “Brian and Robert” before “Sigma Oasis.” A special moment occurred next when “A Little More Time” was played in front of a live audience for the first time, following a 2021 debut from Anastasio’s New York City apartment.
The single-set concert proceeded with fan favorite “Bathtub Gin” followed by “Heavy Things” and “Free.” Then, Anastasio decided on “Snowflakes in the Sand” before a mid-set “Strange Design” floored the audience. The night’s entertainment also took a moment to wish his daughter, Eliza, a happy birthday. The break in music doubled as a look back on Anastasio’s songwriting history, as he noted: “Strange Design” was written in the days leading up to his child’s arrival.
Comedically, Anastasio prefaced his following number by noting, “I have no idea how old this one is,” as he moved into “Theme From the Bottom.” “Steam” was a favored moment of the night, as the audience added in the high-powered hiss of what would be a magnified ear-numbing inclusion at any Phish gig. The last number bled into “Possum.” Then “Water in the Sky” arrived and conjured memories of Phish’s recent trip to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. At which point, Anastasio lent his perspective on the crowd size at the legendary “Three Days of Peace & Music” event, claiming, “No way there was half a million people there. I’m sorry, I play a lot of concerts. I can usually gauge… I’m not trying to be sacrilegious here… sorry. But I just walked over the hill, and I was like, there’s no way in hell there were half a million people in that valley. It’s not that big. It’s like somebody’s backyard.”
After concluding his onstage dialogue, which was capped with the mention of research to support his perspective on the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair crowd size, Anastasio skirted into “Everything’s Right,” “Sample in a Jar,” and a set ending “The Lizards.” For his encores, the musician began with the first acoustic performance of “Roll Like a River” into “46 Days.” Then, he ended the night with a taste of what was to come on Saturday with “More.”
Last night’s show once again saw Anastasio deliver a single-set performance stacked with acoustic tunes and memorable renditions of crowd pleasers. Night two began with the first solo acoustic take on “Evening Song,” which was followed by a pairing of “AC/DC Bag” with “Chalk Dust Torture.” The show continued with several favorites, before a mid-set “Hey Stranger” was worked through for only the third time in front of a live audience. “Sunset Days” followed before Anastasio moved into “Gumbo,” “NICU” and “Summer of ‘89.”
The set dwindled after “The Wedge” with the appearance of “Prince Caspian” and a set ending “Backwards Down the Number Line.” To start off Saturday night’s encores, the musical guest kicked things off with “A Life Beyond The Dream.” Then, he concluded his Beacon Theatre solo acoustic stand with “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.” Following last night’s display, Anastasio will take a well-deserved break from touring, until he returns to the stage in Bonner, Mont., at the KettleHouse Amphitheatre on Sept. 23. For tickets and to learn more about Anastasio’s upcoming tour dates, visit his official website.
Scroll down to see Anastasio’s setlists from Aug. 19 and 20.
Beacon Theatre – New York
August 19, 2022
Set: Blaze On, Back on the Train, Mercy, Brian and Robert, Sigma Oasis, A Little More Time*, Bathtub Gin, Heavy Things, Free, Snowflakes in the Sand, Strange Design, Theme From the Bottom, Steam > Possum, Water in the Sky, Everything’s Right, Sample in a Jar, The Lizards
Enc.: Roll Like a River^ > 46 Days, More
* Debut, first time publicly performed
^ First acoustic performance
Beacon Theatre – New York
August 20, 2022
Set: Evening Song+, AC/DC Bag > Chalk Dust Torture, Limb By Limb, When the Words Go Away, Mountains in the Mist, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Maze, Turtle in the Clouds, Twist, Farmhouse, Hey Stranger+, Gumbo, NICU, Summer of ‘89, The Wedge, Prince Caspian, Backwards Down the Number Line
Enc.: A Life Beyond The Dream, Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.
+ First acoustic performance
Setlists via Phish.net.