Phish Debuts Plasma In Eugene | Setlist & The Skinny

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Written By: Ben Greenfield

Phish opened Fall Tour 2014 at the Matthew Knight Arena, home of the University of Oregon basketball teams, in Eugene on Friday night. The show was Phish’s first in the three-year-old arena, and their first gig in the state of Oregon since 1999. Though the band was slightly slow out of the gates, they were in mid-tour form by the end of the first set. By the second, they were laying down excellent jams and an expert segue, setting a high bar for the young tour.

In contrast to most recent tours, which have opened with upbeat rockers, the band kicked off the fall with one of Fuego’s mellowest tunes, “Waiting All Night.” The “Free” and “Poor Heart” that followed were met with considerable crowd noise, hinting at the energy that was to come later in the set. The band continued its tour through its back-catalogue –seven different studio albums were represented in the set –with standard takes on “Sample in a Jar,” “Strange Design,” “555” and “Bouncing Around the Room.”

Then, all at once, the band seemed to shed all of the between-tour rust, closing the set with stellar takes on five classic tunes. First up was “Reba,” whose composed section was well played, and whose jam began with careful, soulful soloing from Trey Anastasio and ended with a powerful climax. Next was a standout take on “Roggae.” While this version never stretched too far out, it was longer and more free-form than your average rendition. Next was “Simple,” which drifted into an ambient space that became “Maze.” This “Maze” was all Page McConnell, as the keyboardist did somersaults across his organ, throwing lightning bolts at the approving crowd. He was rewarded with a victory lap, as the set closed with him on stage alone, playing a typically beautiful outro to “Squirming Coil.”

The constant energy-building throughout Set One only continued after the break. The tour’s first Type II jam came out of “Carini,” in a version that wandered from spacey to upbeat and rhythmic. Just as the band settled into a groove, BAM! They were suddenly playing the Trey Anastasio solo song “Plasma!” The tune, which had never been played publicly by Phish, but was soundchecked earlier in the afternoon, was arranged similarly to its performances with Anastasio, Gordon and the Benevento/Russo Duo from 2006: that is, with none of the backing vocals or horns it enjoys with TAB. The jam was led by Trey, but grooved with a power that was distinctly Phish. Next up were a couple slower songs, “Farmhouse” and “Halfway to the Moon.” The jamming returned in “Twist,” which entered “Reba/Twist” mashup territory with its big, confident Lydian-mode improvisation. But the band wasn’t done. Talking Heads’ “Crosseyed and Painless,” the night’s first cover, led to perhaps its finest jam. The band entered a slicing staccato groove, with Page tearing up the clavinet, but all four musicians in absolute lockstep. The following section rocked, but with restraint –as @aklingus noted, there were hints of summer’s Chicago Ghost jam in this one. A “still waiting” refrain was improvised over the final segment of the jam. The “Harry Hood” that followed was not extended, like many versions from the summer, but it, along with “Rocky Top,” still put an appropriate button on an impressive set. A typically strong “Wingsuit” led off the encore, followed by a “Sleeping Monkey,” which Trey pointed out was Page’s favorite song. This version, he said, would be for Page. Trey then proceeded to forget half the lyrics. Sorry, Leo. The evening’s third cover, “Quinn the Eskimo,” pleased an already-happy crowd, capping off a show that was stronger than any tour opener has any business being.

The tour continues Saturday night at Key Arena in Seattle. Tune in to LivePhish.com for the webcast, scheduled to begin at 7:30 PDT.

Setlist…

[via Phish.net]

  • Venue Type: Indoor Arena / 12,364
  • Previous Shows at Venue: Phish had never performed at this venue in the past
  • Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 12 / 84 minutes
  • Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 11 / 99 minutes
  • Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 23 / 3 / 20
  • Biggest Bustout: Rocky Top (LTP: 10/25/13)
  • Average Song Vintage: 1997
  • Debuts: Plasma
  • 2014 Debuts: Rocky Top, Sleeping Monkey, Plasma
  • Weather: 60° and Clear at show time
  • Average Song Gap: 8.82
  • The Spread: Lawn Boy -3, A Picture of Nectar -1, Rift -1, Hoist -1, Billy Breathes -1, Story of the Ghost -1, Farmhouse -2, Fuego -4, Misc -6, Covers -3
  • Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Crosseyed and Painless 16:30 / Poor Heart 2:23
  • Audio: Live Phish

Phish From The Road Photos…

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Getting ready for Soundcheck in Eugene

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First check of Fall 2014

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