The National just wrapped a five-night stand at the Beacon — maybe you livestreamed the final night — a run of shows which brings back memories to the Allman Brothers heyday. But it was a different jamband that’s been most associated with Berninger and friends lately: reports have been circulating that Phish’s Trey Anastasio is working on a solo album with members of the National (and Mates Of State). Those reports got a live component on Friday night.
According to Jambands.com, Trey joined the band on “Blood Buzz Ohio,” “Squalor Victoria,” and “Murder Me Rachel,” and again later on “Terrible Love” and “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” with Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry and the night’s opener, My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden. Berninger introduced Trey as “a hero of ours” and said “that’s the sound of faces melting” after Trey’s performance, awesomely referencing this timeless meme.
Watch and hear a bit of that “Terrible Love,” and respect that with just four repeated notes, Trey can make the National feel like they’re covering Billy Breathes-era Phish. (UPDATE: Also “Bloodbuzz Ohio.”)
Weirdly related: At right around the time this was happening, I was experiencing a relevant culture smash at Brooklyn Bowl, where a Phish cover band performed as accidental openers for a set by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (performing to raise funds for accident victim, NYC DJ Jonathan Toubin). Headiest YYYs openers ever. (The cover band was recreating a Phish show from ’91 featuring “Contact” and a “Tweezer (Reprise),” but this time the set featured many more distressed black leather jackets than last.)
And so the inevitable indie deification of Phish commences, not without dissent (see: these YouTube comments).