WILMINGTON, N.C. — Phish frontman Trey Anastasio made his debut in Wilmington on Sept. 24 at Live Oak Bank Pavilion at downtown’s Riverfront Park — full band in tact, nonetheless.
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It was a rough start to the current tour, as Trey Anastasio Band (TAB) lost its bassist, Tony Markellis, in April. Anastasio announced Dezron Douglas would take over on the road, joined by keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, percussionist Cyro Baptista, and drummer Russ Lawton. A horn section filled out the group, led by trumpeter Jen Hartswick, with Natalie Cressman on trombone, and Cochemea Gastelum on sax/flute.
The band was in full force, plaything for three hours and through 23 songs, as the sun set over the Cape Fear River.
“Oh man, this is a beautiful venue, beautiful town, beautiful night,” Anastasio said. “Where have you all been all these years, sitting at home waiting for the invitations? Leafing through the mail — it never ends. Year after year, tears. Thank you for having us.”
They opened with “Drifting,” played through two sets and ended with a four-song encore, including “Bouncing Around the Room” (from Phish’s “Lawn Boy”) and “A Wave of Hope” (from Anastasio’s solo album, “Lonely Trip”), two songs TAB never performed before together.
After the Wilmington show, the band went through quite a few shifts and changes for its remaining five stops. Hartswick tested positive for Covid and had to quarantine; thus, the horn section was pulled. After the Asheville, N.C., concert on Sept. 26, the drummer tested positive for Covid-19.
Anastasio then decided to do an acoustic solo performance during the Ohio concert before he could bring on Phish’s drummer Jon Fishman to take over for the last four shows. The final tour date at Radio City Music Hall welcomed back sax player James Casey to the stage, who had to sit out this tour from undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Still, Wilmingtonians got the full scope of the jamband stalwart’s prowess, backed by talented players and stripped down solo. Anastasio played two of his encore songs acoustically, “Waste” and “Backwards Down the Number Line.” He continued to praise the fans and especially Wilmington: “Thank you for being here tonight we had such a good time — don’t wait another 30 years to invite us back.”
Below is the setlist, as well as photos from the show, captured by Tom Dorgan of MoonFrog Media.
- 01 – Drifting
- 02 – Cayman Review
- 03 – Mozambique
- 04 – Everything’s Right
- 05 – Heavy Things
- 06 – Quantegy
- 07 – Liquid Time
- 08 – Alive Again
- 09 – Olivia
- 10 – Pigtail
- 11 – Money Love and Change
- 01 – Night Speaks to a Woman
- 02 – …And Flew Away
- 03 – Gotta Jibboo
- 04 – Evolve
- 05 – Alaska
- 06 – Simple Twist Up Dave
- 07 – About to Run
- 08 – Blaze On
- 01 – Waste
- 02 – Backwards Down the Number Line
- 03 – Bouncing Around the Room
- 04 – A Wave of Hope
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