Trey Anastasio Says Phish Is “Playing Better Now than We Have in a Really Long Time”

Credit: Peter YangTrey Anastasio has been the frontman in Phish for 31 years. This summer, Phish will embark on yet another tour starting July 21 in Bend, Oregon. So what makes this Phish tour different than the countless live shows that came before it?

"I feel like we're playing better now than we have a really long time," Anastasio tells Rolling Stone. "I just feel like some kind of imaginary pressure has gone away. I feel like something happened in the last three or four years where the only thing important to us is that everybody's together. There's this kind of an open-hearted feeling onstage."

Over those 31 years, Phish has accumulated a huge and hugely loyal fan-base, something that the band never forgets.

"I feel the same feeling about the people in the audience in our community that I do about the three other band members," Anastasio says. "I know a lot of people out there. It's very strange. I don't know everybody, but when I look out in the audience, to the first like 10-15 rows, I see basically a lot of the same people at a lot of the shows."

Phish's following is often compared to that of the Grateful Dead, and those two fan-bases will come together when Anastasio fills in for late Grateful Dead founder and guitarist Jerry Garcia during the Dead's Fare Thee Well shows, taking place this weekend in Santa Clara, California and the July 4th weekend in Chicago.

"It's been a great experience in ways I might not have anticipated," Anastasio says of rehearsing with Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. "We played through all the tunes, but being given the opportunity to hear stories about how they were written -- Bobby would tell me what bands they were listening to when they wrote a particular song -- that stuff is really informative."

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