Phish Plays Stellar ‘2001’ In Philadelphia On Fall Tour 2019
This year marks 25 years since Phish’s historic Fall Tour 1995. In recognition of that noteworthy tour and to make up for the lack of shows this fall, JamBase presents a daily retrospective highlighting a noteworthy moment from a Phish fall tour concert that took place on that date over the past 25 years (read a note on Fall 1997 here). The 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour series runs each day between the start of Phish Fall Tour 1995 on September 27 through that tour’s finale on December 17.
Phish fit an underplay at the 3,500 capacity The Met in Philadelphia within their Fall Tour 2019 on this date in 2019. The free concert was presented by SiriusXM exclusively for listeners in honor of Phish Radio, a channel devoted to the music of the quartet. While the show featured a number of shining moments, the highlight of the night was an otherworldly cover of “Also Sprach Zarathrustra,” aka “2001,” that came towards the end of the second set.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
The band announced last year's fall tour in August and rumors swirled about what would go down during a gap between concerts in Uniondale, New York on December 1 and Pittsburgh on December 4. On October 24, 2019, SiriusXM confirmed an invitation-only Phish show at The Met would be held on December 3, 2019. Tickets to the free concert were mainly distributed to SiriusXM subscribers via on-air giveaways and online contests. The intimate affair saw Phish perform before the smallest audience to witness a full show in nearly two decades.
“It’s been fun firin’ up our own satellite channel!” said Phish bassist Mike Gordon in a statement when the concert was announced. “And what better way to celebrate Phish Radio than putting on a live show?”
Questions about whether the show would best be remembered for the size of the venue or the music played were quickly answered when Phish opened with a bust out followed by the first of four forays into “Tweezer.” The band kicked off the evening with an a capella “Hello My Baby,” a song last performed on June 18, 2009 — a span of 417 shows. Next, Phish fired up “Tweezer” with the first jam highlighted by impressive interplay between keyboardist Page McConnell and guitarist Trey Anastasio. The four-piece pulled off a move into a blissful major-key chord progression they used as a transition into “Free.”
However, Phish wasn’t done with “Tweezer” yet. “The Moma Dance” which followed “Free” bled back into “Tweezer” to the delight of the small but enthusiastic crowd. The second round of the rare first set “Tweezerfest” only last a few minutes, yet was filled with dark and funky jamming ahead of a segue into “Blaze On.” Another surprise came next as Phish dusted off a cover of ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” for the first time in 186 shows. The quartet then broke through the normal boundaries of “Kill Devil Falls” to hit a euphoric peak that gave way to more jamming on “Tweezer.” McConnell starred on synth during the third “Tweezer” of the set. Phish somehow landed on “Ya Mar” and closed out the frame with “Drift While You’re Sleeping.”
The four-piece picked up where they left off when they returned for the second set. A must-hear “Chalk Dust Torture” opener went Type II with another transition into major-key territory that laid the groundwork for a quick jam on the “Tweezer” theme. This time around, Anastasio led a segue into “Mike’s Song.” Phish delivered a particularly funky “Mike’s” that was followed by “Sparkle” and Jon Fishman‘s “Ass Handed.” The obligatory “Weekapaug Groove” featured Anastasio, Fishman and McConnell quoting “Ass Handed” within. Next, “Miss You” filled the ballad slot before short versions of “Waves” and “Twist.” A cover of “A Day In The Life” was followed by the instant classic “2001.”
The Met Philly “2001” started out innocently enough but it soon became clear this would be an “Also Sprach Zarathrustra” unlike any other. Anastasio laid down dirty riffs a plenty as McConnell layered melodies on electric piano. Page set “2001” off when he hit upon the THX sound effect played throughout both sets in Providence a few nights earlier. At this point, Fish moved over to the Marimba Lumina and Mike picked up his drill. The band had completely blown through any structure in a way previously unheard during “2001.” Fishman banged out wild beats and Gordon let the drill rip. It was Trey who kept the jam from going completely freeform by hinting at “2001” throughout the adventurous improvisation.
Anastasio’s band mates eventually fell in line to bring “2001” to a fierce conclusion. Trey’s “More” ended the second set and Phish capped the night with an encore pairing “Waste” and “Tweezer Reprise.”
Watch Phish’s instant classic “2001” from this date in 2019 via the JamBase Live Video Archive: