Trey Anastasio on Tuesday continued his brief run of solo acoustic shows with a performance at Grand Rapids, MI’s Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater featuring a wholesome guest appearance by a talented young singer named Jovi.
The show at the scenic music park kicked off with “Blaze On” as a capacity crowd lined with children and their parents cozied up on picnic blankets for an evening of sing-alongs, musings on the “interwoven tapestry of the Phish…community,” and wholesome fun in the year’s final hours of springtime sun.
Anastasio quickly locked in on the family-friendly makeup of the audience, often referencing the younger fans directly throughout the show and even dedicating “Snowflakes In The Sand”, a reflection on the experience of parenthood, to a kid he spied snoozing with his parents in the crowd.
Fatherhood has been at the front of Trey’s mind throughout this extended Father’s Day weekend run. On Friday in Louisville, ahead of the same composition, he regaled the audience with a story about accidentally flooding his daughter Eliza’s apartment right before heading out on tour, calling himself the “worst dad ever” and saying he hopes he can make it up to her. Before Trey started the song, an audience member shouted something about Father’s Day, to which he replied, “Actually, I’ll redo this dedication to all the fathers of young daughters. Hopefully you can relate to this one.”
On Father’s Day proper in Cincinnati, Anastasio expounded on the concept even further. “I was telling Justin [Stabler] this morning,” he said, referring his guitar tech, who was celebrating the holiday for the first time after becoming a dad last year, “The way they just gaze at you at nine months old and love you unconditionally every single second, it just stays like that the whole time.” Before beginning a poignant “Joy”, he added, “When she’s 14…15… it’ll be the same thing.”
Maybe that’s why Trey—a man who’s been laughing off lofty requests on painted poster board in the audience for decades—decided to oblige 7-year-old Jovi, attending the Grand Rapids show with her parents, who had been holding up a sign that read “Can I sing Bug with u?”
[Photo: Steve Baran – Jovi and family in the audience]
The wise have long known that the best way to get your request played by the band is to request something the band wants to play. This weekend, Trey wanted to reflect on being a dad, to appreciate the connection between fathers and young daughters, and Jovi, to her endless credit, came prepared to back up her long-shot proposal. She showed veteran cool and fearless composure as she belted out the song’s first verse and chorus, Trey beaming as he strummed along. When they hit the second verse, he aided his young collaborator along with whispered lyrics and encouraging harmonies. Jovi took it all in stride.
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“That was amazing! That’s Jovi,” Trey exclaimed as she said her goodbyes. “That was incredible, Jovi. You’re so good. So good…She’s amazing!”
As Jovi later told JamBase about her experience singing with Trey, “I wasn’t nervous but I had to take a big breath just to keep the tears away. I like ‘Bug’ because I get to raise my voice and sometimes yell ‘bug!’ It’s fun to sing.”
“I’m trying to process that,” Anastasio trailed off as she made her exit and he strummed the intro to “A Life Beyond The Dream”.
There was, after all, a lot to process: the serendipitous situation, Jovi’s beautiful performance, his own contemplations of fatherhood, the notion that the little world he helped create with Phish has blossomed into new generations, the fact that he still gets to do this, to continue writing this story while he and the world around him grow and evolve and renew. Heavy things, to be sure, but things he seems to delight in entertaining.
Following another acoustic show in Interlochen, MI (6/21) and a headlining slot on Saturday, July 2nd at The Peach Music Festival with Trey Anastasio Band, Trey will link back up with three other dads named Jon, Page, and Mike for Phish’s 2022 summer tour. For a full list of dates, head here.
View a gallery of photos from the show below via Steve Baran.
Setlist [via phish.net]: Trey Anastasio | The Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater | Grand Rapids, MI | 6/20/22
Set: Blaze On , Water in the Sky, Prince Caspian, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Brian and Robert, Theme From the Bottom, Back on the Train, Everything’s Right, Waste, Snowflakes in the Sand, Limb By Limb > Ghost > Heavy Things, Bouncing Around the Room, Mountains in the Mist, If I Could, Possum, Twist, Chalk Dust Torture, Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.
Encore: Bug , A Life Beyond The Dream > Wilson, Rise/Come Together > The Lizards
 Trey solo acoustic.
 Trey on acoustic guitar; with Jovi on vocals.
This entire show was performed by Trey solo acoustic with the exception of Bug (Trey brought Jovi, a girl who had been holding up a “Can I sing Bug with u” sign, from the audience on stage to sing the song).