A single rug sits on stage, as well as a simple, sensibly made wooden chair and table. On the table, some bottles of water. It’s as if you’re in an old Vermont Craftsman-style living room: solid, well made. You can almost hear a tea kettle whistle from the kitchen.
Welcome to Trey’s house — Trey Anastasio that is. Leader of Phish. And you’re welcome to stay.
Lit by a single spotlight, Anastasio plays some acoustic versions of favorites from his extensive catalog. You expect him to offer something warm to drink. You want to slip your shoes off, sit cross-legged, maybe even doze off on the beanbag in the corner. ’Cause at Trey’s house, there’s always a beanbag in the corner.
Hearing tunes like “Slave to the Traffic Light,” “Story of the Ghost,” “Dog-faced Boy” and “Fee” in this stripped-down style, you’re struck by just what a dexterous guitar player Anastasio can be, with a witty, undeniably likable voice.
Voice, as in singing voice, but also Anastasio’s voice as a songwriter. Always gentle, like a fall afternoon in a college town, but also funny and singular.
Anastasio has been out on the road treating his fans (phans?) with shows like this, peppering in stories and asides from his decades on tour with one of our era’s most-beloved jam bands. Listening, you kind of wish Phish could always be like this: familiar and friendly. Cat Stevens with a sense of humor.
It’s as if the big sounds of amplified stages existed in some parallel timeline, an alternate universe where Anastasio is a rock star instead of just a friend, playing some good music in his living room as snow falls from the sky in Burlington, Vermont.
An Acoustic Evening with Trey Anastasio is 7:30 pm Monday, Dec. 10, at the Hult Center; $65-$73.75, all-ages.