While the first three venues on Phish's current summer tour were sheds the band visited numerous times
in the past,
the Vermonters made their debut on the 320-acre Randall's Island, off the coast of
Manhattan and Queens, last night. Phish has performed in dozens of rooms in New York City
since 1988, but unbelievably Randall's Island is only the third outdoor venue they've
played in The Big Apple over that span (KeySpan Park in Brooklyn and the Ed Sullivan
Theater Marquee are the others). After a tour where it seemed bad weather was following
the band around, the weather was absolutely gorgeous for the group's first of three shows
on Randall's Island.
The Phish organization and promoters Live Nation did a good job of transforming an empty
field on Randall's Island into an environment with a wonderful vibe that brought thoughts
of past Phish festivals into many concertgoer's minds, albeit on a much smaller scale. In
speaking with attendees, it seemed few had any issues getting onto the island
with most using public transportation - a minor miracle given the difficulties of
traversing New York City during rush hour.
As for the music itself, the first set was highlighted by an 18-minute "Bathtub Gin" that
impressively broke form from typical versions of the song. Guitarist Trey Anastasio led
the jam to a nice peak at first. Instead of ending the song there, like nearly all first
set versions of the tune, keyboardist Page
McConnell hopped on electric piano and helped moved the direction of the improv to a more
lush soundscape. The interplay between all four members was outstanding throughout both
segments of the jam, which made for an instant classic "Bathtub." Other
standouts from the opening stanza were the return of "Ya Mar," which featured funk
breakdowns spotlighting bassist Mike Gordon and "Stash," which contained a "Munsters"
tease and a short-but-sweet, blissed out segment.
The centerpiece of the second set was a long and gloriously jammed "Down With Disease."
Anastasio was content to play wah'd out rhythms for a large part of the improv, which
featured a number of distinct segments. The first was a funky jam that would've made James
Brown proud, while the second was a master class in dynamics as McConnell and Anastasio
pushed and prodded each other in stellar fashion. The second "Disease" jam space even had
more funk breakdowns that gave the audience a chance to "Woo" during the pauses the band
inserted into the jam. Seek out this "Disease," Phish fans. "Down With Disease" was just
one part of a monstrous second set that featured the dream sequence of "Steam" >
"Disease" > "Golden Age" > "Limb By Limb" > "Fuego" > "David Bowie." "Fuego"
be the stand out new original of the summer as the Randall's version, while not as
exploratory as the SPAC and Mann takes, still explored new terrain for the quartet.
"Steam" was also pleasantly extended and saw Anastasio work over his wah pedal with
authority. With a hard curfew of 11 p.m. looming, Phish made the decision to close out the
set with "Cavern" and treated fans to a quick romp through "Character Zero" as the
evening's lone encore. Trey, Mike, Fish and Page return to Randall's Island tonight.
- Venue Type: Outdoor Field
- Previous Shows at Venue: Phish had never played Randall's Island
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 10 / 7:32 p.m. - 8:54 p.m.
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore:
8 / 9:30 p.m. - 10:49 p.m. (79 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 18 / 2 / 16
- Biggest Bustout: Ya Mar - 23 Shows (LTP - 10/19/2013)
- Average Song Vintage: 1998
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 80 degrees and Sunny at show time
- Average Song Gap: 6.72
- The Spread: Junta - 1, Lawn Boy - 1, A Picture Of Nectar - 2,
Rift - 2, Hoist - 2, Billy Breathes - 1, Story Of The Ghost - 2, Joy - 1, Fuego - 3,
Covers - 2, Misc. - 1,
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track:
Down With Disease 18:43 / Sample In A Jar 4:49
- Audio: Live Phish
Phish From The Road Photos...