No jolt?: Anastasio's 70VP to open for Stones
For their 31st tour beginning in August, the Rolling Stones are playing more than 30 venues in 23 states, but ticket-holders for the Scott Stadium performance will be attending a unique performance. The October 6 show is the only one for which Trey Anastasio, former lead guitarist of jam band Phish, is opening.
Anastasio, whose last Charlottesville appearance was in October 2002, will be accompanied this time by his new band, 70 Volt Parade, which debuted in April.
Considering his connections in Charlottesville, Anastasio's appearance is no surprise. The city is home of MusicToday, the company that manages the singer/guitarist's solo career. MusicToday was built on the works of local celebrity Dave Matthews, with whom Anastasio has played and toured.
"The Rolling Stones have historically been known to choose good openers," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar magazine, which tracks the musical touring business.
Other Stones' openers on the six-month tour include the Black Eyed Peas, John Mayer Trio, Beck, Maroon 5, Pearl Jam, and Joss Stone. But some fans question whether such noted groups really complement the Stones' style.
"Seeing the Black Eyed Peas open for the Rolling Stones would be a little strange," says WNRN boss Mike Friend. "Then again, I've seen Neil Young and Dave Matthews play together, and after my initial double-take, that turned out fine."
The man who arranged the upcoming Stones tour, Tres Thomas, says the decision to bring Anastasio to Charlottesville rested with the Stones themselves. "The Rolling Stones specifically selected Anastasio to open, along with all their opening bands," says Thomas, director of touring for The Next Adventure. "They love all kinds of music. They're very open to variety."
But are their fans? Bongiovanni's not convinced.
"Stones fans are typically older than Trey's," he says, "and Trey has always been part of a jam band. Baby boom rockers aren't going to really know him."
It's uncertain whether even Anastasio's fans will be pleased with the opening act. Friend says there's a large jam band fan base in Charlottesville, but Phish fanatics are allegedly not crazy about 70 Volt Parade.
Even if Anastasio's followers remain faithful, there's no guarantee they'll be at the stadium, especially since 70VP's performance wasn't announced until after the Stones tickets were sold out.
Yet in the event that the opening act provides no "Satisfaction," Friend says there's no cause for concern.
"It doesn't matter when it's a Stones concert," he says. "Everyone's going to leave happy."
PHOTO BY REUTERS