The B List: Top Ten Big Red Sit-ins

10. Addison Groove Project: 4/3/2004 Higher Ground, Burlington VT Higher Ground, Burlington VT 

The closest anyone has ever seen Trey in a straight-ahead funk set-up would be this sit-in with the now-retired AGP. Trey’s sit-in included People Say (The Meters), Making Flippy Floppy (The Talking Heads) and an encore of Boogie On Reggae Woman (Stevie Wonder). Something about hearing Trey sing BACK-UP on People Say has always made me chuckle.

9. Jennifer Hartswick Band: 11/7/2003, Lion’s Den, New York NY

Unlike last night‘s hijinix in the Village, thankfully there was no gunfire when Trey took the stage for a second-set opening Night Speaks to a Woman with the Jennifer Hartswick Band. After they ran through that one, you can actually hear Trey teaching the rest of the band the groove to Mr. Completely. A picture of this performance resides on the homepage for the Lion’s Den.


8. Seth Yacovone: 2/7/2002, Tribeca Blues, New York NY

Seth Yacovone was kind enough to lend his guitar skills to Phish’s Layla in 1998, and it was only fair Trey returned the favor (yeah, right) and sat in for almost a complete set of dual blues-guitar riff shredding action. Fans in attendance saw some of the most raw guitar riffs played from Trey in recent years.

7. Medeski Martin & Wood: 12/1/2000, Palace Theater, Albany NY

Trey’s first appearance post-hiatus (the first hiatus?) was with MMW in Albany, where Billy Martin introduced him as “Trey ‘The Family Man’ Anastasio.” Cyro Baptista was playing the whole show with MMW, and Friend of HT “Rambo D” shares this: “Yes, this was also the show that Trey was introduced to Cyro and asked him if he wanted to ‘help out’ on a future project (TAB). I was a few feet away from them backstage and overheard the conversation.” And so it began…


6. Gov’t Mule: 4/23/2005, Higher Ground, South Burlington VT

Trey’s command of the Allman Brothers Band instrumental classic Dreams leads me to believe he may have done some actual practicing for this sit-in; well, either that or he got very lucky because he did not miss a note. Trey also played on a Mule staple Sco-Mule, and this performance is available for purchase. A sidenote: Earlier in the night, Page McConnell leant keyboards and vocals to All Along the Watchtower and Jesus Left Chicago.

5. Dave Matthews Band: 2/24/1995, Roseland Ballroom, New York NY

Much to the dismay of Phish fans that harbor a hatred for either Dave Matthews or just all things pop music, Trey has been a guest onstage with Dave Matthews many times. Trey first appeared during a DMB set in January of ’95 at the Flynn Theater, and this sit-in featured Trey on the last three songs of the set: Jimi Thing, Recently, and pop-hit Ants Marching. The following month in New York City saw Trey and Blues Traveler’s John Popper take the stage for a well-circulated rendition of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower. In the days of Napster, this was a top search result when searching for the phrase “Trey Anastasio.”

DMB Trey

4. Leftover Salmon: 9/20/1999, The Rialto Theatre, Tucson AZ

In a simpler time, not as much notice would have been paid to the song titles Trey sat in on: I’m Just Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail and Shape I’m In. Phish was in town a night early for their own show in Tucson the following day. This one features lots of bluegrass licks, so check out the torrent — it currently has some seeders, and I am one of them!

3. Les Claypool: 9/30/2000, HOB Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas NV

The guys mentioned in post-breakup interviews that nobody really slept from Las Vegas until Shoreline, and this was the start of it. After clarifying to curious fans at the Thomas & Mack earlier that night that it was indeed hard to eat an apple with one giant tooth, Trey headed over to Mandalay Bay for a special birthday encore Oysterhead appearance. You may be thinking: “Wait, I thought Trey didn’t show up?” No, you are thinking of a show two years later, when Les actually referenced in the lyrics that Trey was not where he was supposed to be.


2. Widespread Panic: 11/11/1993, The Roxy, Los Angeles CA

Talk about unexpected; Phish did not play any shows in 1993 between August 28th and the first show of their New Year’s Eve Run on December 28th. During this four-month gap, the boys were busy recording Hoist at the American Recording Company in Woodland Hills, CA. Likely itching to play in front of an audience, Trey and Page showed up at The Roxy in LA for a massive encore that includes a take on Traffic’s Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys. Some Panic fans are bigger fans of Trey’s guitar work on 10/16/2001 sit-in that featured Fixin’ To Die and a monster jam out of Wish You Were Here.

1. Easter Jam: 4/11/2004, Higher Ground, Winooski VT

Trey played with three different bands during the closing month of the old Higher Ground (AGP made this list, and he also performed with Orchestra Baobob). But perhaps the largest event was the so-called Easter Jam. Though the Dave Grippo Funk Band was the largest name on the bill, it was a night where everyone knew huge things were going to go down. Indeed, late into the night, after sets by other local bands, Trey took the stage with The Octet, a lineup that had not been seen since Summer 2001.

After playing an hour’s worth of music, Trey started Sand and the rest of Phish took the stage for the ensuing jam and a brief, but high-energy, Chalkdust Torture. Page, Jon and Mike then returned to the stage at the end of Plasma to play Stevie Wonder’s, yep, Higher Ground. This performance actually saw two different bands Trey performed with segue into each other, using a song that both bands played frequently. Pretty heady shit.

Agree or disagree with Dave? Let him know below in the comments…

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  1. I think my favorite Trey sit in was with Ramble Dove at Irving Plaza last May. I was actually working the show, recording for Mike’s Mgt, Redlight, for possible release. Unfortunately it hasn’t seen the light of day. That Possum brought me back to an innocent time that I long for; I totally felt like ’95 me.

  2. You asshole, MiH…I was gonna write in and say that exact same thing. Also, I’ve never seen a crowd go SO crazy in that venue, people just swimming up to the stage to get a better look. I had a ball at that show (and wrote a decent review if I do say so myself):

    The Possum is not an active right now — I’ll try to re-up it. But there is video I took of his first solo of the night, on I Got Loaded.

    Also, I know it was cheapened by the GRAB/Phil tour, but the 2/12/06 Trey with Phil & Friends sit-in was pretty cool as well. I missed it, but I listened to it like 10 times in the week that followed.

    Hey Dave, GREAT list, my man. Thanks for filling Scotty’s seathole (as Tobias Funke might say).

  3. This Panic fan agrees: 10/16/01 gets my vote over 11/11/93. Hearing Trey and JB trading vocals on Fixin To Die makes me smile every time. Besides, I’d go so far as to say that it was Page on “Early>Tipitina” who really makes that Roxy colloboration SHINE. (In a good way. As opposed to a “Hey! What do you think of this crappy adult contemporary song?” way.)

  4. 10/16/01 is probably my favorite Panic show I’ve ever seen. Good thing I got the tip off about Trey’s sit in before hand; it prevented a friend from leaving at the break.

  5. Great stuff Dave

    I’d like to give a little love to Trey’s Los Lobos sit-ins and the In Memory of Elizabeth Reed from 2005’s Big House benefit.

  6. 2/12/06 with phil…………….

    PS there are so many times it happened at the higher groung over the years it is hard to keep track

  7. Trey sat in with MMW for almost an hour at 10klf this past summer.. one of the musical highlights of my life!! get soundboard at all costs!!

  8. Trey with MMW at 10klf this past year was the best trey I have seen outside of phish. It was as if he had something to prove without having to prove anything at all. It was a full hour of sheer ripping it all over the place. Everyone was pretty much spent from the long weekend of great music and that capped the festival perfectly … not failing to mention the first two set GRAB show that had its share of highlights as well.

    And as for the Langerado sets … who cares if there were two shine openers … only about 700 of us were fortunate to see the first show … and the second shine had to be played as redemption of the first one. Dragonfly @ the revolution and Mud City @ the festival made the expensive weekend worth it for me. I just wish more of his fans would come out … I hate being amongst a crowd of people who seem to not know what is going on when trey is on stage … I enjoyed the days where everyone knew what the deal was … and knew how to shake their bones … too much standing at Langerado.

    Looking forward to 10klf again this summer as well as seeing Trey sit in with Page for some of his much anticipated shows in the coming months. Josh told you so. And if Megan reads this, I love you.

  9. the Lion’s Den with JHA was hot!

    i also enjoyed the Trey sit-ins with Vida Blue at Roseland on New Years Eve ’01 (light up or leave me alone).

  10. You forgot the sit-in with MMW at 10,000 Lakes that is pictured…the first post breakup sickness from Big Red, IMO!

    And the 2004 AGP sit-in is BY FAR, 3 of my favorite 20 minute jams Trey has EVER been a part of, for sure! Him matching Jen H. note for note, and pushing their guitarist Brendan was nasty! Bring back that tone, Trey!?!?!

  11. Are you aware of the Phil Les show from Feb 06 at the Beacon where trey was not scheduled to appear?

    That should be #1 you NOOB!
    Not even a mention of this epic show?
    Best performance ever, entire show, and Easter Jam is #1?


  12. best sit in by trey was at this years 10,000 lakes fesitval late nite set with Medeski, Martin, and Wood to close the festival. listen for proof its mind blowing

  13. I’ve seen Trey hundreds of times, and the best sit-in by far was with Michael Ray and the Cosmic Crew at Jimmy’s after their New Orleans jazzfest show in 96′.

    This list is clearly biased by region. All but three of these were New England appearances. I’m sure the author is a true fan, but it would seem he needs to get around a little more!

  14. Pingback: My Guitar site
  15. Great list, but is definitely missing 02/12/06 and the classic comeback show 10/20/07 with Phil.

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