The lights fell and alone on stage stood Big Red, Trey Anastasio, looking as Dad-like as ever. His big goofy smile sent waves of love, comfort, and release to the sold-out crowd in Manhattan, at the Beacon Theater. As Trey opened the show with a solo "Theme from the Bottom", the audience was sent into a feeling of happiness and familiarity, returning to concerts indoors, a pre-covid relish. What a fun chorus to open with, to give the opportunity to forget all about those other 8.4 million New Yorkers on the other side of these four walls. Following "Theme From The Bottom", a quiet "Sample in a Jar" set the tone for the show and a positive mood for the audience.
After this beautiful welcome into the Beacon, the rescue squad strings and pianist, Jeff Tansky joined Trey on the stage for a magical rendition of "Divided Sky". This contained about a minute of cheers which left our systems after a buildup of what was basically a year and a half of musical exile. Trey was smiling from ear to ear as he egged on the crowd's cheers, fueling our relief and embracing it all in one.
The next song, "I Never Needed You Like This Before", brought back memories of watching Trey's appearance on Jimmy Fallon. It wasn't so long ago, yet, everyone feels just a little bit older hearing it now. Maybe that's because music is what keeps us frozen in time.
As Trey led into "Free" next, the crowd began to melt from the healing powers of that song. We began to piece ourselves back together when Trey's quiet acoustic licks bounced off the walls of the Beacon, appropriate for "Bouncing Around the Room". A steadying moment, like a reliable cup of tea after a long day.
The quiet was lovely, but at some point, all the phan chatter started to pick up. With the talking, of course, came the shushing. At some point during Trey's dirty looping of "46 Days", he started shushing and making other stupid noises in the microphone. In this hilarious moment, many shushy fans stopped talking, but some kept going. Then, Trey broke into "Steam", and exhibited prime dad skills by redirecting the negative energy as the crowd "shushes" became a part of the acoustic composition. After finishing "Steam", Trey said to the audience, “Hey you guys started that one!”
Seeing Trey interact with his fans in a much more intimate setting was so touching. When he played "Twist", the room reverberated with the echoed harmony, and his smile struck every heart in the room. Phans were unified in the aura good music creates.
Another shining highlight to end off this evening was "Slave to the Traffic Light" and "You Enjoy Myself" at the very end. Trey was able to showcase his recent singing lessons, and threw us some cool vocal improvisation in tune with Tansky and the Rescue Squad Strings.
Theme From the Bottom1, Sample in a Jar1, Divided Sky2, I Never Needed You Like This Before3, Free1, The Wedge3, Water in the Sky2, The Inlaw Josie Wales2, Twist1, Bouncing Around the Room3, Drift While You’re Sleeping2, 46 Days1 > Steam1, A Life Beyond The Dream2, Split Open and Melt3, Joy2, Farmhouse1, Chalk Dust Torture1 -> Back on the Train1 > Chalk Dust Torture1, Slave to the Traffic Light2, You Enjoy Myself2
Waste1, Bathtub Gin1, Brief Time2, Tweezer Reprise2
1 - Trey on acoustic guitar.
2 - Trey on acoustic guitar; with the Rescue Squad Strings and Jeff Tanski on piano.
3 - Trey on acoustic guitar; with Jeff Tanski on piano.