February’s Trey Anastasio solo acoustic run kicked off with a performance at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, NJ. Similar to last year’s intimate acoustic run, Trey was relaxed and enjoying himself, cracking jokes, telling funny old stories, and offering up easy-going renditions of a slew of songs from both the Phish and Trey Anastasio Band catalogs.
Trey Anastasio solo acoustic runs, at their core, are about creating the opportunity for intimate storytelling-oriented gatherings. They allow Anastasio, who largely lets his Languedoc speak for him, to open up and shoot the shit with a small audience. The 2018 Trey solo run began with that vibe intact. After opening with a “Blaze On” featuring a smattering of vocal jamming, Trey added an amusing “addendum” to a story from last year about him competing with the Jon Fishman‘s wife, Briar, over who was the better doomsday prepper. This time, the story revolved around cows and Trey’s amused anatomical ignorance regarding how they actually make milk.
He continued with “one of his favorite songs,” “Brian and Robert”, followed by “Heavy Things”. Next, Trey explained that it was his late sister’s birthday, and spoke about Page McConnell‘s father, Dr. Jack McConnell, who passed away earlier this week, before dedicating a particularly emotional “Miss You” to both of their memories. Phish favorite “Strange Design” came next, followed by “Twenty Years Later”, a darker-sounding tune which once again sounded better than one might have expected as a solo acoustic number.
The banter continued with an explanation of one of the weirder things that happened to be on Anastasio’s mind: the “tongue-eating louse,” a parasite that climbs in the gills of fish, living in their mouths and eating both the fish’s tongues and the food they consume until they die of starvation. Mused Anastasio, “So, like, you’ve got a big problem today, you woke up, you’re like ‘oh I’ve gotta talk to that guy, I’ve gotta do that thing at work.’ But you don’t have a tongue-eating louse…so it’s a great day!”
The show continued with a run through “Wolfman’s Brother”, followed by the solo acoustic debut of “Everything’s Right” with some interesting jamming branching out of a strong riff similar to the one that anchored Phish’s 6/7/12 “Boogie On Reggae Woman”.
Late 90’s Phish instrumental “The Inlaw Josie Wales” made a rare appearance next, and as the crowd cheered for its completion, Trey mindlessly began toying with the opening notes of “Sleeping Monkey”, which prompted an extra spike of excitement from the audience. “My fingers just started doin’ it,” Trey laughed, “…I’ll play it if you sing it. It is Page’s favorite song, and we’re right down the street [from his former home].” The audience responded in kind, belting out the silly song with gusto as Trey played and laughed along.
Trey Anastasio – “Sleeping Monkey” – Morristown, NJ – 2/8/18
“Limb by Limb” came next, with the audience covering the second vocal part to impressive effect. Trey then told a story about comically messing with a young fan after a Phish show in Atlanta. After their encore, they received a call on the phone in their dressing room (which he answered, “Band room, Trey talking”). The caller was the worried mother of a 16-year-old fan who was attending his first concert (Note: Who knows how she got that number to call). The kid, Peyton Hooten, had called his mom from a pay phone after the show “sounding funny” (as many people sound after extracurricular activities at Phish shows) and exacerbated. He was 16 years old, this was his first concert ever, and he had lost all his friends…Trey could barely suppress his laughter as he recounted the tale.
Trey responded to the worried mother, “You’ve got nothing to worry about Mrs. Hooten, I’ve got this…Give me his number, I’ll call you back in five minutes.” He explained how he went running down the hallway backstage, asking everyone where Peyton Hooten was. Immediately, he got security to find this kid (“You gotta realize, it’s still only like six minutes since we walked offstage”).
He explains how he hopped on a golf cart and headed toward the payphones, where they had located the stupefied Peyton—and pulled right up to him, declaring “Peyton Hooten, your mother is worried sick about you!” Trey continued to laugh heartily as he imagined Peyton explaining to his friends how he found them again after they lost him: “‘Well, Trey picked me up on a golf cart…’ and they’re like ‘Alright man, sure…'” Make sure to give this story a listen. It’s more than worth the 7 minutes—it’s the kind of tale that makes Trey’s solo acoustic runs so unique. Watch fan-shot footage of Trey telling the story below.
Trey Anastasio – Atlanta Fan Story – Morristown, NJ, 2/8/18
[Video: Mark Van Etten]
Anastasio also spoke with genuine love and sadness about his recently deceased friend Chris Cottrell, followed by the performance of a wistfully beautiful instrumental in his honor. Finally, Trey closed the set with a strong run of “Bathtub Gin” > “Chalkdust Torture” > “Back On The Train”.
For the three-song encore, Trey opened with “Bouncing Around The Room”. Next, Trey pre-empted a performance of the Cottrell-referencing “Push On ‘Til The Day” by saying he’d tell a story about it. He stopped the song right after the line, “Pete threw a bomb, and he rang the pole,” to explain its origin: A mishap in a game of catch between former monitor mixer Pete Schall and a local crew person in California during soundcheck which ended with the crew member/receiver smacking head-on into a pole while running to catch Pete’s throw. The encore finally closed in earnest with the uplifting “More”.
Trey Anastasio – “Push On ‘Til the Day” Football Toss Story – Morristown, NJ – 2/8/18
Trey continues his solo acoustic run tonight with a performance in Ithaca, NY.
SETLIST: Trey Anastasio (Solo Acoustic) | Mayo Performing Arts Center | Morristown, NJ | 2/8/18
SET 1: Blaze On, Backwards Down the Number Line, Brian and Robert, Heavy Things, Miss You, Strange Design, Twenty Years Later, Wolfman’s Brother, Everything’s Right, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Sleeping Monkey, Limb By Limb, Waste, Unknown instrumental, Bathtub Gin> Chalk Dust Torture> Back on the Train
ENCORE: Bouncing Around the Room, Push On ‘Til the Day, More
 Trey solo acoustic debut.
You can listen to full audio of the show courtesy of taper Noah Bickart (via bt.etree.org) and check out a full list of upcoming Trey Anastasio solo acoustic tour dates below. For more information on the tour, or any of Trey’s upcoming tour plans with Phish and Trey Anastasio Band, head here.
[Stream via Jam Buzz]
Upcoming Trey Anastasio Solo Acoustic Tour Dates
Feb. 9 – Ithaca, NY – State Theatre
Feb. 10 – Cambridge, MA – Sanders Theatre
Feb. 12 – Pittsburgh, PA – Byham
Feb. 13 – Wilmington, DE – Grand Opera House
Feb. 14 – Washington, DC – Sixth and I
Feb. 16 – Durham, NC – Carolina Theatre
Feb. 17 – Charlotte, NC – Knight Theatre
Feb. 18 – Athens, GA – Classic Center
[Cover photo via LazyLightning55a]