Phish Santa Barbara Bowl | Setlist & Skinny | Night One

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Phish Fall Tour 2014 moved down the West Coast on Tuesday night for the first of two shows at Santa Barbara Bowl in Santa Barbara, California. The band last performed at the picturesque venue way back on August 27, 1992 when they opened for Santana -which marks the longest gap between visits to a venue in Phish history. While tickets for the show sold out immediately upon going on sale, there were plenty to be had in the parking lots before the early ticket time of 6 p.m.

The Vermonters came out of the gates with an unusual opener to start the show as “Stash” led off a Phish show for the first time since July 7, 2003 and just the sixth time ever. “Stash” featured its usual tension-and-release theatrics with keyboardist Page McConnell’s barrelhouse approach standing out in particular. McConnell was also the star of the “Possum” and “Ocelot” that followed thanks to his peppy piano solo in the former and his counter melodies on the latter. Apparently the band picked up on Page’s fine start as the call came for “NICU” with its “Leo!” shout out and requisite organ solo. Guitarist Trey Anastasio had a little extra pep in his fingers for a scorching, albeit straight-forward “Back On The Train.” From there, the capacity crowd was treated to an atypical “Limb By Limb” in which Anastasio stopped soloing a few measures into the jam and gave McConnell the green light to take off. Trey focused on rhythm work as Page pounded away until the final moments when the guitarist led a quick climax. Surprisingly, Phish had gone 21 shows between versions of “Limb By Limb,” the longest gap between performances in the song’s 17-year history. Mike Gordon then led the way on “Yarmouth Road” before the quartet offered the evening’s first cover -Los Lobos’ melancoly “When The Circus Comes.” After the cover Anastasio took a moment to address the crowd and discussed their long absence. He mentioned they opened for Santana in 1993 (he was off by a year) and then revealed he had forgotten the band played the venue in the past until was reminded of that fact by a Santa Barbara Bowl staffer. “Heavy Things” came next and gave way to a “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan” with one of the more botched intros to any song in recent memory. The band recovered and finished off the set closer just fine.

A mini-documentary about Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food and the creation of Phish’s Waterwheel Foundation premiered at setbreak. Check it out:

The song of the summer, “Chalk Dust Torture,” was primed and ready for action to kick off the second set. Just as they did this summer, Phish used “Chalk Dust” as an improvisational springboard and quickly moved the jam beyond the song’s usual boundaries. Anastasio utilized his nifty echoplex effect with aplomb as McConnell offered beautiful, sparse melodies on his Wurlitzer 106p electric piano for the majority of the jam. While the interplay between the guitarist and keyboardist was impressive throughout the first set, it was taken to the next level in “Chalk Dust.” The pretty, majestic jam soon took a turn towards the more spacey side of town which laid the groundwork for an interesting transition into “Ghost.” Trey put his wah-wah pedal to good use as the band built a full head of steam. Just as the jam was picking up in pace and intensity, bassist Mike Gordon helped move the improvisation into a major-key, blissful space that the quartet explored for a few glorious moments. Eventually the music faded to silence and Anastasio called for “Birds Of A Feather.” “Birds” was about to reach full flight when Trey abruptly played the end chords. Anastasio then noted, “that was weird” and McConnell agreed with him. Page took a moment to poll the crowd on the World Series and whether fans were rooting for the Giants or Royals. It seemed there was about an equal response to each option. Trey still wasn’t over the way “Birds” ended and polled the crowd with a question of his own, “how many people want that jam not to have stopped like that?” The guitarist then said “we’d like to play ‘Wombat’ for you now” and off the band went on a particularly dirty and funky rendition of the Fuego track.

As the tour progressed into California all eyes were on “Tweezer” coming into the Santa Barbara run and the Picture Of Nectar classic emerged after “Wombat.” Phish took an inventive approach towards “Tweezer” as Anastasio came up with a catchy decending melody that his band mates quickly picked up upon and worked over for a while. Once Page fully latched on to the pattern, he used it as a base for Trey to move away from his focus on rhythm to deliver meaty leads. The jam started to fade so the guitarist began “Julius,” however the Vermonters weren’t finished jamming “Tweezer” so in a cool move they alternated between the “Julius” intro and the last notes of the “Tweezer” jam before starting the song in earnest. Once again, Page shined in “Julius.” It was then right back into the improv with the tour debut of “Piper” which got off to a quicker start than usual. “Piper” was the set’s real “Team Phish” jam with all four members gelling into to make on brash sound with no leader emerging in the short improv that came out of the song. Mike, Trey and drummer Jon Fishman dropped out of the mix leaving McConnell alone tickling the ivories and presenting a solo segue into “Wading In The Velvet Sea.” “Suzy Greenberg” then ended the closing stanza on a more upbeat note with the rare 10 p.m. hard curfew rapidly approaching. For the encore, Phish gave fans one last chance for a dance party (a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman”) and a full-on rage fest (“Tweezer Reprise”).

Phish returns to the Santa Barbara Bowl tomorrow night. The show will be webcast via LivePhish.

Setlist…

[via Phish.net]

  • Venue Type: Outdoor Amphitheatre / 4,562
  • Previous Shows at Venue: 1 Show -08/27/1992 (Opening For Santana)
  • Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 11 / 6:21 p.m. -7:38 p.m. (77 Minutes)
  • Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 11 / 8:08 p.m. -9:42 p.m. (94 Minutes)
  • Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 22 / 2 / 20
  • Biggest Bustout: Limb By Limb -21 Shows (Last Time Played – 07/11/2014)
  • Average Song Vintage: 1997
  • Debuts: N/A
  • 2014 Debuts: N/A
  • Weather: 70° and Sunny at showtime
  • Average Song Gap: 6.33
  • The Spread: Picture Of Nectar -4, Hoist -1, Story Of The Ghost -4, Farmhouse -3, Joy -2, Fuego -2, Misc. -4, Covers -2
  • Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Chalk Dust Torture 16:21 / Tweezer Reprise 3:56
  • Audio: Live Phish

Phish From The Road Photos…

Soundcheck at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

A photo posted by phishfromtheroad (@phishfromtheroad) on

Way Out West

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Poster…

Pint Glass…

Refillable pints available at the Santa Barbara Bowl to help eliminate the need for plastic cups.

A photo posted by phishfromtheroad (@phishfromtheroad) on