Phish Pairs Stellar ‘Drowned’ And ‘Rock & Roll’ In Holmdel On This Date In 2000
On June 29, 2000, Phish returned to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey for their second night at the venue as part of a summer tour of North America. The concert was highlighted by a majestic 26-minute segment in which they jammed a cover of The Who’s “Drowned” into “Rock & Roll” by The Velvet Underground.
Phish was a week into the run when they descended upon the small town of Holmdel for the performances at PNC Bank Arts Center, a 17,500-capacity outdoor venue 40 miles south of New York City. The shed first hosted the band during the summer of 1992, when Phish took part in a H.O.R.D.E. Festival stop at what was then known as the Garden State Arts Center and then returned just eight days later to open for Santana. Phish headlined their own show at the Arts Center on July 2, 1994 and would wait five years before coming back to the venue on July 15 & 16, 1999. While five years passed between Phish’s first and second headlining concerts in Holmdel, they returned the following summer for a pair of shows that would be their last at the venue until 2011.
The first night featured a standout “Bathtub Gin” dubbed by fans the “Turbo Gin” for its tempo and uplifting feel. Phish’s June 29, 2000 performance started with a five-song first set. The frame ended with the aforementioned pairing of “Drowned” and “Rock & Roll,” which were connected by a perfect segue, a rarity when it comes to Phish.
The “Drowned” jam isn’t as notable for how deep the band went as it is for the anthemic pattern Phish landed upon and built to a rolling boil. Guitarist Trey Anastasio was in fine form throughout the 26-minute segment and drove the blissful climax that came just before the transition from “Drowned” into “Rock & Roll.” Trey, who grew up a quick ride away from Holmdel in Princeton, focused on rhythmic work to lay the base for the “Drowned” peak. He then unleashed the “hose” in stringing together one powerful riff after another while not straying far from the original pattern the band connected on. Anastasio then delivered fretboard fireworks galore during his revelatory “Rock & Roll” solo.
Phish’s final set of 2000 at the Arts Center was a wild affair that started with an adventurous 14-minute “Birds Of A Feather,” which saw the band explore multiple jam spaces before settling in on ambient territory for the last movement. Anastasio and bassist Mike Gordon stepped up to their mics and sang “Catapult” over the progression Phish had been improvising over for the previous five minutes. One of the longer and most drawn-out versions of “Catapult” in the band’s history gave way to “Heavy Things.” All three songs that began the set featured delay loops set by Trey and the trend continued through a dark and evil “Sand” that spanned nearly 20 minutes.
The set took a fun turn with what is described as an “eventful Meatstick” by Phish.net. Keyboardist Page McConnell‘s wife at the time, Sofi Dillof, came onstage during “Meatstick” to pull off the “Meatstick Dance.” This happened after a few fans crashed the stage. Crew members Pete Carini and Bart Butler intervened to chase the stagecrashers away, leading Trey to alter the lyrics to “Meatstick” in reference to Carini and other roadies. “There’s no song about Paul Languedoc, and there’s no song about Kuroda, there’s only one about Carini, and his lumpy head,” Anastasio sang in shouting out the band’s audio engineer and LD. He went on to discuss the quartet’s trip to Japan earlier the summer and noted the “Meatstick Dance” was a fad in Japan. Phish thrilled the crowd by singing the lyrics to “Meatstick” in Japanese for the first time in America, a tradition that continues through the present. More banter followed as Trey brought Bart out for a round of applause from the audience.
“Drowned” and “Rock & Roll” wasn’t the only pair of covers Phish connected in Holmdel on this date in 2000. The four-piece worked “Meatstick” into “Cities” by Talking Heads and after more lyric alterations segued into their first cover of James Gang’s “Walk Away” played in the Tri-State Area since 1993. More fun with the “Meatstick” came during the “Run Like An Antelope” that followed in the form of teases in the intro. “Frankenstein” and “Wading In The Velvet Sea” ended the marathon set ahead of a “Character Zero” encore, which ended the last Phish show at the Arts Center for over a decade.
Listen to a soundboard recording of “Drowned” > “Rock & Roll” below:
Stream an audience recording of the entire concert via Gregg Jordan and fromtheaquarium below: