Trey Anastasio returned to New York’s Beacon Theatre on Saturday for his second helping of the venue’s new Sphere Immersive Sound experience.

Alongside birthday wishes for his daughter, Eliza, and further musings about the venue’s new sound system, Anastasio worked through a selection of songs from throughout his catalog with the relaxed demeanor of a guy sitting in his living room strumming a few tunes for his friends.

Of course, that description wouldn’t be far off for any Trey Anastasio show at the Beacon Theatre. The guitarist has a long history with MSG Entertainment’s venues as a solo act, with Trey Anastasio Band, and with Phish, and lives just a short walk from the Beacon on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. When he wasn’t filling his pandemic days by welcoming fans into his actual living room for Rubber Jungle Live sessions and the ad-hoc Instagram posts that went on to become Lonely Trip, he extended that sense of familiarity to The Beacon Jams, his 2020 livestream residency at the theater which raised more than $1 million for the Divided Sky Fund. Before Friday night, Anastasio’s last Beacon show came in June of 2021, when he welcomed a capacity crowd back into the building for the first time in 450 days.

After an early “Chalk Dust Torture”, Trey remarked, “Thank you, thank you. Aw man, thank you for being here. Experience this unbelievable sound system and this beautiful room. Already the greatest room ever for rock and roll, and now even better. I decided last night… I’ve always enjoyed playing at the Beacon, but I like it so much now that I refuse to leave. Whoever is coming in next, I’m sorry. I had it during the pandemic and I’m keeping it now. Just staying in the immersive sound…” Celeste Barber, the guy from Phish would like a word.

After a rendition of “Limb By Limb”, Anastasio thanked the crowd for singing along. “That was really good. Beautiful. You sound amazing. I am immersed. I am immersed in your sound when you do that,” he riffed. “Truly. That’s kind of one of the special things about this, is I can hear you, which I like. I like hearing you. Thank you for singing with me. Thank you for being here. We’re all here…”

As Trey began to entertain a thought, the audience seemed to still have the previous night’s tongue-in-cheek “Woodstock Truther” banter. “I’m having this thought, this is to be said with love and joy and not…” he began before a knowing “uh-oh” from the audience caught his ear.

“Uh-oh, I know,” Trey trailed off, muttering an expletive with a sheepish grin on his face. “I know, thank you, whoever just said ‘uh-oh.’ Last night, I’m sitting up here and I start talking about this whole, you know, Woodstock thing and all that. I went to bed and I’m like, ‘I’m gonna wake up and…’ And there it was. I had somebody send me a headline: ‘Phish Guy… whatever, uh… Calls Bullsh*t On Woodstock,’ or whatever.”

Note to Trey: This one? Our bad. You provided such a lovely headline idea on Friday night. It seemed a shame not to use it. We, too, want answers. But mostly, it just made us laugh.

Amid spurts of laughter and feigned perturbation, he reacted, “Gahh that’s not what I was… that was not my intent! Can’t say anything these days, everything goes onto the internet. I think, like together we should all plot revenge on the internet by thinking of a whole bunch of nonsense to say that they’ll print, you know? ‘Riot Ensues At Beacon After Immersive Sound Is So Intense That People Start Thinking That They Can See The Music,’ which I think every time I play.”

Note to Trey: We’ll get going on that follow-up you ordered straight away.

He did finally finish his initial thoughts, some loving memories about founding TAB bassist Tony Markellis, explaining that the Beacon was the last place he saw the founding TAB bassist, during The Beacon Jams. “I’m saying this to celebrate the times that we had together. So many. Tony played at my wedding, at my first dance, and that was quite some time ago—I just had my 28th anniversary. I met him when I was 18,  you know, so we had so much fun together. So that last song [“Limb By Limb”], he liked that song, he liked “Sleeping Monkey”, he liked those kinds of songs. He liked, you know, ‘tossed with the salad and baled with the hay,’ that was the kind of line that Tony liked.”

Related: MSG Sphere Immersive Sound Arrives At The Beacon With Help From Trey Anastasio [Photos/Video]

“Maze” was followed by effusive praise for the Sphere Immersive Sound, the Beacon, and the MSG Entertainment family as a whole. “So many beautiful moments are gonna follow now with so many bands and musicians from all over the world,” he beamed. “I can just tell from where I’m sitting how cool this sounds, and how good it feels. … It’s one of the most joyous moments to play in, and now it’s just beyond.

“And like I said,” he added, “since I’m not leaving, there won’t be any other cool musicians here. The last band I saw here was Lucius. I got to meet them. Incredible band, incredibly nice. I’m trying to picture myself being like, ‘Okay, Lucius. Back off. It’s my stage.’ I wouldn’t do that. Headline tomorrow morning: ‘Agro Phish Guy Talks About Hitting Lucius Over The Head With An Acoustic Guitar.'”

The show proceeded with that same mix of humor and genuine emotion. A rendition of recent Trey Anastasio Band debut “Hey Stranger” prompted the guitarist to divulge that he “secretly” wants to play the song with Phish. An emotional “Summer of ’89” prompted him to reflect on his years with his wife and oldest daughter, Eliza, who turned 27 that night. A sing-along rendition of “Happy Birthday” ensued, while the song’s Phish equivalent, “Backwards Down The Number Line”, closed the set.

With two highly entertaining, beautiful-sounding Trey Anastasio acoustic shows in the rearview, the Beacon’s new Sphere Immersive Sound system is officially here to stay. Anyone routing through the Upper West Side in the near future is in for a treat. That is, if they can get that Phish guy off the stage.

Note to Trey: If you made it this far, we also wrote a much more informative article about you breaking in the whole Sphere Immersive Sound situation at the Beacon. Zero mentions of Woodstock. We promise.

For a full list of upcoming events at the Beacon Theatre, head here. For a full list of upcoming Trey Anastasio tour dates, head here. Listen to complete audio recordings of both of this weekend’s Trey Anastasio solo acoustic performances at the Beacon Theatre via LivePhish. Scroll down to check out the full Saturday setlist in addition to a selection of photos and fan-shot videos.

Setlist [via]: Trey Anastasio | Beacon Theatre | New York, NY | 8/20/22

Set One: Evening Song [1], AC/DC Bag [2] > Chalk Dust Torture[2], Limb By Limb[2], When the Words Go Away[2], Mountains in the Mist[2], The Inlaw Josie Wales[2], Maze[2], Turtle in the Clouds[2], Twist[2], Farmhouse[2], Hey Stranger[1], Sunset Days[2], Gumbo[2], NICU[2], Summer of ’89[2], Happy Birthday to You [3], The Wedge[2], Prince Caspian[2], Backwards Down the Number Line[2]

Encore: A Life Beyond The Dream[2], Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.[2]

[1] Trey solo acoustic; first acoustic performance.
[2] Trey solo acoustic.
[3] Trey solo acoustic; sung with crowd accompaniment to Eliza.


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Trey Anastasio – “The Wedge” – 8/20/22


Trey Anastasio – “The Inlaw Josie Wales” – 8/20/22

Trey Anastasio – “Farmhouse” – 8/20/22

Trey Anastasio – “Maze” – 8/20/22

[Videos: whereshaynes]

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