Phish Makes Randall's Island Debut | Setlist & Skinny | Night One

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" continues to 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.

Setlist...

[via Phish.net]

  • Venue Type: Outdoor Field
  • Previous Shows at Venue: Phish had never played Randall's Island before
  • Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 10 / 7:32 p.m. - 8:54 p.m. (82 Minutes)
  • 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

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[Published on: 7/12/14]

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