On Wednesday night, Trey Anastasio continued his ongoing acoustic tour with a performance at Washington D.C.’s Sixth & I. The 100+-year-old temple is an active synagogue that celebrates intersections, an unexpected space where Jewish and secular culture meet. Trey was clearly in a spiritual zone last night, as the intimate general admission crowd was treated to multiple acoustic debuts and, as expected, more hilarious stories.

Shades of Trey

A post shared by J.M.Hart (@therealrowjimmy) on

After opening with “AC/DC Bag” and “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday”>”Avenu Malkenu” (an acoustic debut), Trey as always gave the crowd a warm welcome. He then made reference to the significance of performing the Jewish prayer in this historic house of worship, though in a decidedly light-hearted tone. He explained:

Mike [Gordon] taught us [Phish] what the meaning of the Hebrew words were so we wouldn’t just be singing them, which was very nice. Page [McConnell] and I are both Catholic though [crowd laughs]…and I spend most of my time wondering if the body of Jesus Christ is gluten-free. Anyway, Happy Valentines Day everybody!

Trey giddily continued into a beautiful run of songs including “Water In The Sky”, “Theme From The Bottom” and “Wolfman’s Brother”, with the latter seeing Trey make good use of his Boomerang Phrase Sampler, taking the acoustic jam on a bit of an extended ride. Trey then went into the story of the night, explaining the history behind Phish’s 1995 Rolling Stone photo shoot:

Every time I play this song I think back to when I first met Jon Fishman in Vermont. He’s a beautiful friend that I love very much [laughs]. He also was the best man at my wedding–by the way, Happy Valentine’s Day, Sue [Anastasio]. He was a very good best man. He was the best best man.

He looked like an ape-man, though, when I first met him, with a big beard and monstrous shirt. I’ll never forget the first time I met him. Have any of you ever seen the photo of us from the ‘90’s dressed as cavemen? We had done this photo shoot with Rolling Stone [previously] with all sorts of props and costumes, and they told us we’re gonna make you guys into cavemen. We were all like yeah, whatever, do what you need to do.

[Photo: Phish]

Something about the style of our music, though…we realized that we reminded them of cavemen. They put hair on the back of our arms, these skin suits, gave us a spear, and bloody clubs. These photo shoots take a really long time, I have to let you know. Mike whispered to me and Fish that ‘Neanderthal man had a much easier life than modern man. All they actually did was lay around, groom each other and eat food. Meanwhile we have to work this horrible 40-hour work week and humanity is really at its worst.’

Fish and I started getting into this argument with him, and it turned into one of the worst band arguments we’ve ever had. He wouldn’t back down. Page is over there trying to mediate, and Mike just still wouldn’t back down. Anyway, it dawned on me that we were arguing [like] cavemen, dressed as cavemen. This must’ve looked so funny to the Rolling Stone crew. I really thought this was going to be the end of the band there, and you can see the hilarious look on our faces. I went to the library after this to try to prove Mike wrong, and of course, he was right…I think I’m gonna play some songs now [laughs].

[Photo: Rolling Stone]

Anastasio continued the set with “Everything’s Right”, followed by an emotional rendition of “Miss You”. “Back On the Train” came next, before a short but sweet “The Inlaw Josie Wales”, a rare instrumental in the Phish catalog that has gotten plenty of love this acoustic tour. Trey then explained why the next song, “Strange Design”, was a mindful choice for Valentine’s Day:

I’m going to send this one as my Valentine’s song. I wrote this song sitting on the floor next to the bed, I’d say sometime around August 20th, 1995. How do I know this? Because [wife] Sue was nine months pregnant with our firstborn, who is now twenty-two. I used to have this book called The Salamander Prints, and it was this book that Tom [Marshall, lyricist] gave me of ramblings. My general songwriting process of that time was to take little snippets of the book and create songs. This next song I’m going to play I wrote the day before I first became a father.

After a heartfelt “Strange Design”, Trey continued with a string of deep takes on “Blaze On”, “Tide Turns”, and “Sand”. Next, Trey dove headfirst into a meticulous take on Phish fan favorite “The Curtain”, marking the song’s acoustic debut. “Farmhouse” came next, with another debut to follow: another Anastasio/Marshall composition, “Pigtail”, which was introduced and promptly shelved by Phish during their 2010 NYE Run, on December 28th at the DCU Center in Worcester. The song has seen something of a resurgence in the Phish world as of late, with three performances in the last two years.

“Bathtub Gin” was up next, followed by a brief story about the time Mike and Trey attempted to “burgle” a ramp from a U-Haul truck in Burlington that they hoped they could use for their gear. Trey got a kick out of telling this story, explaining that they were thankfully unsuccessful in their heist, despite dressing in all black with black face-paint. The story then transitioned into how Fishman used to always be late to practice–even though it was in his own living room (in the house he shared with Trey and Paul Languedoc). One day Page got so mad at Fishman for being in his room, that he made [Fish] cry. “That’s it,” Trey remarked, cutting the tension. “That’s all I have for this story.”

Next up was “Waste”, before Anastasio offered up the final acoustic debut of the evening in “Show of Life”. A high-energy “Wilson” finally brought the set to a close. A three-song encore of “Brian and Robert”, “Bouncing Around The Room” and “More” sent the U.S. capitol crowd on their way with smiles from ear to ear after a spiritual Trey Anastasio performance. Every Trey performance is spiritual, of course, but it’s not every show you get to see him perform in a sacred space like this.

You can listen to full audio of the show and watch crowd-shot video of the three-song encore below:

  Trey Anastasio (Solo Acoustic) – Full Audio – Washington, D.C., 2/14/18

[Taper: Alex Leary; Uploaded by Jam Buzz]

 Trey Anastasio (Solo Acoustic) – “Brian and Robert”, “Bouncing Around The Room”, “More” – Washington, D.C., 2/14/18

[Video: goatslop]

SETLIST: Trey Anastasio (Solo Acoustic) | Sixth & I | Washington, D.C. | 2/14/18
SET 1: AC/DC Bag, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu [2], Water in the Sky, Theme From the Bottom, Wolfman’s Brother, Everything’s Right, Miss You, Back on the Train, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Strange Design, Blaze On, Tide Turns, Sand, The Curtain[2], Farmhouse > Pigtail[2] > Bathtub Gin, Waste, Show of Life[2], Wilson

ENCORE: Brian and Robert, Bouncing Around the Room, More

[2] Trey solo acoustic; first acoustic performance by Trey.

This entire show was performed by Trey solo acoustic and featured the first Trey acoustic performances of “Avenu Malkenu,” “The Curtain,” “Pigtail,” and “Show of Life.”

After a night off tonight, Trey Anastasio solo acoustic tour will wrap up with three performances this weekend beginning Friday evening in Durham, NC. For more information, head here.

Trey Anastasio Upcoming Solo Acoustic Dates

Feb. 16 – Durham, NC – Carolina Theatre
Feb. 17 – Charlotte, NC – Knight Theatre
Feb. 18 – Athens, GA – Classic Center