The Vermonters continued a trend of creative opener choices with “Bathtub Gin.” While Phish did kick off a show with “Gin” last fall at Hampton Coliseum, a venue only 20 miles away from Portsmouth, it last appeared in that slot way back in 1999 before that. Tonight’s “Gin” was of the “strong, guitar-driven peak” variety as opposed to the more exploratory first set version laid down on Randall’s Island earlier this tour. “Devotion To A Dream” and “Yarmouth Road,” a double dose of material debuted last year, was followed by the year’s first “Guelah Papyrus” and a languid “Alaska.” Keyboardist Page McConnell shined in “It’s Ice” as his funky, wah’d-out clavinet stylings dominated the jam. Next up was “Poor Heart” and a gorgeous rendition of the long-lost “Mountains In The Mist.” The Anastasio/Marshall ballad had last been performed on December 27, 2010 -a span of a whopping 141 shows. The bustouts kept coming with the tour debut of “Meat,” a song that like “Guelah Papyrus” had been in mothballs since a September 1, 2013 performance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver. Though the band struggled with the beginning of “Meat,” they regrouped to nail the rest of the song including its funky stop-start breakdowns. Phish closed with the set with a “David Bowie” that saw them flip between major and minor keys a few times and included some nice displays of tension-and-release jamming.
Considering Phish had performed the title track off their new album at each city visited on the tour, the question was not if but when “Fuego” would get called upon in the second set. That question was quickly answered as “Fuego” began the closing stanza, its 10th appearance of the summer. Phish took “Fuego” on an adventurous journey that seemed to have no specific desintation in mind. Guitarist Trey Anastasio played very few leads over the course of the near-20-minute “Fuego” and instead let his band mates do the heavy lifting as he focused on subtle rhythms. Jon Fishman is having arguably one of the best tours of his career and you need to look no further than the Portsmouth “Fuego” for examples of the dynamism and strength of his recent work. A solid rendition of “Gotta Jibbo” led into one of the most interesting versions of “Meatstick” to date. At first, the quartet vamped on the funk outro for a few more minutes than usual but then broke through the song’s typical form into a dark and dirty jam space. Anastasio had plenty of riffs to add to the mix this time around before he led a turn towards “Piper.” James Brown would’ve been proud of tonight’s “Piper” jam as Page’s meaty organ blasts combined perfectly with sharp funky rhythms from Trey and the in-the-pocket groove provided by Fishman and bassist Mike Gordon. The late ’60s soul-funk session ended with a ride through an anthemic progression which built to a guitar-led climax. When the band had finished having their fun with “Piper,” the jam faded into “Billy Breathes.” The lilting title track from Phish’s 1996 album returned from a two-plus year absence (it was last played on June 15, 2012) was a well-timed breather after an intense start to the set. Yet another tour debut, “Seven Below,” showed a more blissful side of the Vermonters’ jamming. The interplay between McConnell and Anastasio had been impressive all night, but the two adeptly played off each other’s work in “Seven Below” with exciting results. It was almost a call-and-response segment between the two as one would lay down a soaring riff and the other would immediately connect and build off of it. The set concluded with spot-on takes of “Waste,” “Backwards Down The Number Line” and “First Tube.” Phish wasn’t done with tour debuts even into the encore as they dusted off the fan-favorite Gamehendge classic “Lizards.” The band now heads south to conclude the tour this weekend.
- Venue Type / Capacity: Outdoor Amphitheatre / 6,500
- Previous Shows at Venue: 06/15/2010, 06/19/2011, 06/19/2012, 06/20/2012 and 07/29/2014 -5 Shows
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 11 / 7:51 p.m. -9:14 p.m. (83 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 10 / 9:42 p.m. -11:19 p.m. (97 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 21 / 0 / 21
- Biggest Bustout: Mountains In The Mist -141 Shows (LTP – 12/27/2010)
- Average Song Vintage: 1999
- Debuts: N/A
- Tour Debuts: Guelah Papyrus, Mountains In The Mist, Meat, Billy Breathes, Seven Below, Lizards
- Total Number Of Different Songs Phish Has Played This Year: 141
- Weather: 78 degrees and Sunny at show time
- Average Song Gap: 21.81
- The Spread: Junta -1, Lawn Boy -1, Picture Of Nectar -2, Rift -1, Billy Breathes -2, Story Of The Ghost -1, Farmhouse -4, Round Room -1, Joy – 2, Fuego -2, Misc. -4
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Fuego 19:00 / Poor Heart 3:13
- Audio: Live Phish
Phish From The Road Photos…
Listen to the Jerry Garcia Band’s cover of “Evangeline” by Los Lobos from the soon-to-be-released ‘GarciaLive Volume Ten.’
Pearl Jam has confirmed their first U.S. tour dates of 2018 with the announcement of a pair of The Home Shows.
Watch Bob Weir perform four songs with Green Leaf Rustlers last night at the Sweet Water Music Hall.
The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner has confirmed Tom Petty died due to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.
Last night’s The Avett Brothers concert began with the band covering The Cranberries in tribute to Dolores O’Riordan, who passed away this week at the age of 46.
Organizers of the Levitate Music & Arts Festival have revealed the lineup for this July’s event.