Words by: Brian Bavosa | Images by: Dave Vann
Phish :: 06.04.09 :: Jones Beach Theater :: Long Island, NY
Night two at Jones Beach saw a threatening pattern of weather looming all afternoon and for most of the first set. At times it was an annoying drizzle, while others, the rain increased to a steady pelting. Despite that fact, the crowd seemed much more pumped than the previous Tuesday, and the band seemed to feed off of that throughout the night, especially during some of the bigger tunes.
|Phish :: 06.04.09 :: Jones Beach|
I am also extremely pleased to report that through the first three shows of the tour (granted at atypical summer venues unfamiliar to fans over the past years), that there seems to be a lack of the shadiness and overall bad crowd that seemed to be so prevalent during the latter years of the '90s and '00, as well as post hiatus (with the exception of a few nitrous tanks).
As for the show itself, it was a solid effort - nothing out-of-this-world spectacular - but it did showcase some of the best jams thus far. Opening with the quick a capella ditty "Grind," Anastasio then launched into "Divided Sky," which soared in all of its glory and saw the band execute it to near perfection. The one good thing about a darker, overcast night is that during the summertime, you are treated to full onslaughts of color by Chris Kuroda, known colloquially as CK5, behind the light board. The new lighting rig is MASSIVE, and allows Kuroda to go bananas at points. I think it's been awesome, but almost think it sometimes takes away from the mood settings Kuroda has perfected over the years.
"Ocelot" made it second-ever appearance, and showcased Anastasio's vocals and smooth, crying guitar licks. "Punch You in the Eye" landed mid-set and really seemed to fire up the masses with their collective screams of "Hey!" which was the first of a few crowd/band interactions throughout the show. "NICU" was a real treat and is a very easy tune to latch onto and slide away with on its stealthy groove. However, the meat of the first set came with the final two numbers: "Ghost" and "Run Like an Antelope." "Ghost" featured some of the night's first true jamming, laying down the patented funk it represents, along with some darker points. "Antelope" whipped the crowd into the frenzy, as always, before a set break that also saw the rain cease for the evening.
|Trey :: 06.04.09 :: Jones Beach|
Set Two began with a slowed-down "Water in the Sky" that found McConnell tickling the ivory followed by a heavy guitar-and-drums driven "Birds of a Feather," before THE song of night: a rip-roaring, driven cover of The Who's "Drowned."
"Drowned" is an appropriate choice for Jones Beach, as the venue literally sits on the water and features the line, "I wanna drown... in cold water." Starting with McConnell pounding the keys to lead this one out and an early attack by Fishman on the kit, "Drowned" truly allowed the band sit back, lose themselves and JAM. I'm not just talking 25-plus minutes, but rather how they just let go and focused outside of the normal, safe parameters most of the tunes have remained in until this point. It was hot, fiery and featured superb playing, especially by McConnell and Anastasio. I would say this was the first "must hear" jam of the tour and showed me that the band can still get there when they want to. I simply think the band is still settling in this summer and that has me excited for the remainder of tour. As the jam wound down, it seemed that they could take it a step further but Trey instead opted to ease the band into "The Meatstick."
Most of the younger crowd seemed to be more excited to hear this song than the previous "Drowned," but that did not upset me. It's a reminder that an entire new generation of fans is getting to experience this amazing band in their own right. "Meatstick" included the Japanese lyrics, which showed the sense of humor and imagination is still in tact.
|Anastasio & Gordon :: 06.04.09 :: Jones Beach|
"Time Turns Elastic" was also played for the second time in three shows and honestly lost my attention until the final part, which does showcase a nice, up-beat end-jam. A poignant "Waste" furthered my point from the other night that Trey looks - and sounds, vocally - amazing, and is truly playing and singing with heartfelt emotion due to not only getting sober, but the recent loss of his sister, Kristy Manning, to cancer last month.
The show ended with another stellar rendition of "You Enjoy Myself" that saw Gordon absolutely lay it down on the low end with some thick, gooey bass licks. Any memories of restarts and flubs on this tune in the past are long forgotten after the first two "YEM's" of the tour. It may be their biggest song, but it remains so for a reason.
Toss in a spirited encore of The Velvet Underground's "Rock and Roll" and a wet-Thursday night came to a close. Overall, the show was good, but I'd personally rank it at the bottom of the first three - with the exception of "Drowned," "Ghost," and "YEM."
Stay tuned for Friday's third, and final show from Jones Beach...
|Phish :: 06.04.09 :: Jones Beach|
Set I: Grind, The Divided Sky, Ocelot, The Squirming Coil, Punch You in the Eye, Dirt, NICU, Ghost, Run Like An Antelope
Set II: Water In The Sky, Birds Of A Feather, Drowned, Meatstick, Time Turns Elastic, Waste, You Enjoy Myself
Encore: Rock and Roll
Notes: Grind performed a cappella
PHISH - "Antelope" Finale 06.04.09 from Jesse Borrell on Vimeo.
Brian Bavosa and Dave Vann are JamBase's team on tour. Keep an eye on our Phish Summer Tour Page for lots more from tour...
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