Phish nTelos Pavilion Portsmouth Setlist & Skinny | Night One

On Tuesday night, Phish returned to nTelos Pavilion in Portsmouth, VA for the first show of a two-night stand at the harbor-side shed. The band made their debut at the venue on June 15, 2010 and liked it so much they came back each of the next two summers. In 2011 they honored Clarence Clemons, who died the day before the show, by debuting a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road," while the 2012 two-night stand was filled with bust outs and tucking. With a capacity of just 6,500; the nTelos Pavilion is the smallest venue or the tour. With all that in mind, did Phish build off the craziest of Sunday night's throwdown in Maryland? In a word, no, but the show wasn't without its highlights.

So far we've seen a number of creative show-opener choices this tour. The trend continued tonight with the first-ever "Timber (Jerry)" opener, which is almost hard to believe since the band has been covering the song since 1987. The song choices were a bit more pedestrian after the "Timber (Jerry)" and "Undermind" that kicked off the show, as a sequence of rotation staples - "AC/DC Bag," "555" (the ninth of the tour and second in two shows), "Divided Sky" and "Ocelot" - came next. Keyboardist Page McConnell took an opportunity after "Ocelot" to welcome the crowd to the show and dedicated an "original composition" he specifically mentioned he wrote himself, "Halfway To The Moon," to those in attendance. "Kill Devil Falls," as with most songs performed in the first set up until that point, was compact and featured a scorching, straight-forward solo from guitarist Trey Anastasio. If you like your Phish jams weird and cacophonous the "Split Open and Melt" from Portsmouth should be right up your alley. The band never settled on one particular riff or feel or even key as they continually pushed and pulled in different directions throughout an adventurous, quick-moving "Split" jam. A cover Phish hadn't played yet this tour opened the set, so it was only fitting one close the set as well. Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times" got the call off the bench for the first time since October 29, 2013 - a span of 27 shows - to finish off the opening stanza.

Phish stuck to material debuted in the '80s, '00s and '10s in the first set, but immediately picked from their '90s output to open the second set with "Chalk Dust Torture." What's been a fantastic tour for "Chalk Dust" continued with tonight's version. As soon as they hit the jam, McConnell hopped over to electric piano to bring a different feel to the improv and led the rest of his band mates in modulating to a major key for a blissful start to the excursion. From there, Phish then moved into a more spirited, rock- oriented jam space dominated by Page's powerful grand piano tinklings. Mike Gordon then put his Lovetone Meatball envelope filter to good use in anchoring the improv with synth'd out bass lines as drummer Jon Fishman bashed away at a continually evolving beat. When the quartet had finished giving "Chalk Dust" the treatment, they offered a breather in the form of "If I Could." The Hoist ballad was last played on August 29, 2012, a span of 68 shows. It was then back to Fuego for the tour's seventh "The Line." Sure, there's plenty of focus put on long and exploratory jams by the likes of us and others, but tonight's second set "Birds Of A Feather" didn't need to break form to standout thanks to Anastasio's inventive shred session. The "A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing" that followed was proceeding in similar fashion until Phish tore through the jam's usual Traffic-esque progression for a few ethereal minutes of exploration at the end of song. Up next was the first "Mike's Song" > "Prince Caspian" pairing in nearly 18 years (last played December 4, 1996). "Caspian" was notable for the band's loose approach to each segment to the song, which made for an unusually interesting version that eventually gave way to "Waves." There wasn't much in the way of a "Waves" jam as the quartet quickly moved on to a "Weekapaug Groove" that included a fun jam on Peter Gabriel's "Shock The Monkey." The set came to a close with three songs that have each often been used as set closers - "Cavern," "Golgi Apparatus" and "Run Like An Antelope." Of the many spots Phish has used to present the material from Fuego over the course of the tour, they've generally shied away from the encore slot. Tonight's "Wingsuit" / "The Squirming Coil" encore joins the encore from the first night at SPAC, which featured "Sing Monica" and "Tweezer Reprise," as the only encores of the tour that contained Fuego songs. "Wingsuit" was followed by "The Squirming Coil" We'll see what Phish has in store for the second night of the Portsmouth run on Wednesday night.

Setlist...

[via Phish.net]

  • Venue Type / Capacity: Outdoor Amphitheatre / 6,500
  • Previous Shows at Venue: 06/15/2010, 06/19/2011, 06/19/2012 and 06/20/2012 - 4 Shows
  • Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 10 / 7:49 p.m. - 9:12 p.m. (83 Minutes)
  • Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 14 / 9:41 p.m. - 11:37 p.m. (116 Minutes)
  • Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 24 / 2 / 22
  • Biggest Bustout: If I Could - 68 Shows (LTP - 08/29/2012)
  • Average Song Vintage: 1997
  • Debuts: N/A
  • Tour Debuts: Timber (Jerry), Good Times Bad Times, If I Could
  • Total Number Of Different Songs Phish Has Played This Year: 135
  • Weather: 76 degrees and Sunny at show time
  • Average Song Gap: 10.08
  • The Spread: Junta - 2, Lawn Boy - 3, Picture Of Nectar - 2, Hoist - 1, Billy Breathes - 1, Story Of The Ghost - 1, Round Room - 1, Undermind - 2, Joy - 2, Fuego - 4, Misc. - 3, Covers - 2
  • Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Chalk Dust Torture 18:26 / Cavern 4:14
  • Audio: Live Phish

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[Published on: 7/29/14]

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