Watch Trey Anastasio and the Boston Pops Unite at Tanglewood

On a long anticipated day for musicians and fans alike, Trey Anastasio performed for the first time at Tanglewood Music Center, joined by the Boston Pops, conducted by Edwin Outwater.

photo by Hilary Scott

Initially scheduled to perform in June 2020, Anastasio beamed with joy as he took the stage following the orchestra for this long-awaited evening of music.

For the June 29 crowd, the day was full of gray skies and rain that was tolerable, but not terrible, as fans were well prepared for the misty weather of the Berkshires that accompanies any passing storm system. Newcomers to Tanglewood were amazed by the sprawling grounds, the ability to bring in everything from food and drink to portable chairs and tables, all making for a relaxing pre-show that led into an evening of unforgettable music.

photo by Hilary Scott

Opening up the night with “First Tube”, this more staid by comparison, yet intricate, version of the classic Phish arena rocker elicited early erupts of cheers from fans, especially the uninitiated to Anastasio’s body of orchestral work. Following Thank You’s to the crowd, Anastasio shifted into the appropriate “Water in Sky” donning his acoustic guitar for the relaxing string-led number that evoked the orchestration of Disney’s early Silly Symphony cartoon series.

Following was “Evolve,” which saw its orchestral debut a few nights earlier in Vienna, VA. The pandemic-era song, turned Phish single, now sits prominently in Anastasio’s arsenal of compositions for orchestras.

photo by Hilary Scott

A 17-minute “Divided Sky” was the closest to a Phish performance this evening, as the composition itself has been ideally suited for orchestra performance since it was written, and allows Anastasio to shine on guitar more than any other song this evening. The ‘open space’ was divinely orchestrated in the lead up to the ‘moment’, with cheers welcomed by the Bad Lieutenant, and the second half textbook early Phish orchestration, with a tremendous ending lead to roars of cheers from the crowd spread across the lawn and inside the Koussevitzky Music Shed.

After introductions of conductor Edwin Outwater and the Boston Pops, “Mercy,” also a Vienna debut, followed for a soft breather that paired well with “Divided Sky.”

photo by Hilary Scott

Closing the set was “Stash,” a more complicated song for the orchestra, but offered a samba beat thanks to the horn section, the percussion and clave driving the mellow tempo forward with a ‘cha cha cha’ beat.

Following a short setbreak (and an appreciated heads up given to the audience five minutes prior to showtime), “Harry Hood” saw its second ever performance (following Vienna), with the orchestra joining in to say “Thank You, Mister Minor” and featuring a unique ending compared to the Phish standard.

“Petrichor” was a perfect fit following the excitement prompted by “Hood,” as well as with light sprinkles coming down as the song started.

A short acoustic version of “More” followed, with “What’s The Use?” surprising the audience as it is wont to do at many a Phish show.

Harpist Jessica Zhou was the MVP in the ‘quiet spot’ of “WTU?,” building the strings in gentle, rising to the occasion and giving this meditative song deeper resonance with the audience.

In September 2009, “You Enjoy Myself” saw its debut at Carnegie Hall, and the moment saw the audience sitting in silent awe, with occasional laughs during the ‘vocals.’ On this evening at Tanglewood, for the unenlightened, “You Enjoy Myself” would draw out more than laughs and silence, but also dancers in the aisles of the lawn (yes, there are aisles on the lawn, sort of) and back of the shed.

Trombonists Toby Oft and Stephen Lange, along with the percussion section combined for a memorable ‘vocal jam’ that led into the boisterous ending that Trey Anastasio and Phish have been performing since 1986.

After a performance like this, Anastasio kept the new orchestrations flowing with acoustic guitar in hand for “The Inlaw Josie Wales.” Now a Phish rarity (last played in 2000), “Inlaw” is welcome at any performance from Anastasio and an orchestra moving forward.

And to cap off an incredible day at Tanglewood and evening of music, fan favorite “The Lizards” closed the show, the tale of Rutherford the Brave as seen through the eyes of Colonel Forbin bringing fans to their feet once again.

Trey Anastasio and the Boston Pops – Koussevitzky Music Shed at Tanglewood – Saturday, June 29, 2024 – setlist via

Set 1: First Tube, Water in the Sky*, Evolve, Divided Sky, Mercy, Stash
Set 2: Harry Hood, Petrichor, More*, What’s the Use, You Enjoy Myself
Encore: The Inlaw Josie Wales*, The Lizards
* Trey on acoustic guitar

Trey Anastasio at Tanglewood photos by Hilary Scott

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