Phish SPAC Photos, Setlist, Recap & Skinny | Night One
Photos by Scott Harris:
It wouldn’t be a Phish SPAC run without a rain storm, and the first night of this year’s three-night stand saw a massive storm envelop the area around the Saratoga Springs, NY venue about 90 minutes before ticket time, leading to gates opening late. While light and moderate rain fell throughout most of the show, thankfully the worst of the weather was limited to before fans entered what can be considered the band’s home summer shed on Thursday night. The Vermonters played their 15th show since 1992 at SPAC last night and it has been a stop for Phish each of the last six summers with the lone exception of 2011.
Phish isn’t generally a band that gives fans much information about what to expect from shows, so it was a strong statement when Trey Anastasio told Rolling Stone that the group would focus on originals this summer since they are excited about the material from the just-released Fuego studio album. After last night’s cover-less show that contained three Fuego songs, Trey’s preview of the tour continues to hold true.
When you take covers out of the repertoire, you’ve cut out a good deal of songs that fit many roles at Phish shows. For instance, we could usually count on covers like “Drowned,” “Golden Age” and “Crosseyed And Painless” to serve as improvisational launchpads. After Phish took “Harry Hood” well beyond its typical structure at Tuesday’s tour opener, the band gave “Bathtub Gin” and “Limb By Limb” the jam treatment last night -two songs they haven’t extended very often in recent years -so perhaps the game plan is to “blow up” original tunes to fill the previously mentioned roles of covers like “Drowned” and “Crosseyed.”
For the first set of the run, Phish took fans on a journey through songs from throughout their 30-year career. Fuego was represented by “Devotion To A Dream,” which was ever-so-slightly extended with a joyous guitar solo. “Maze,” as usual, contained a pair of fierce solos, the Page McConnell-sung “Strange Design” saw action for the first time in nearly a year and “Mound” continues to enjoy life as a tour staple after more than a decade as a rarity.
Phish came out of the gates for a marvelous second set with the first “Bathtub Gin” second set opener since the group’s famed Hampton Comes Alive shows in 1998. Once Anastasio and his mates had picked up a nice head of steam in the “Gin” jam, they changed direction into a highly unusual bit of improv for the song. McConnell brilliantly utilized electric piano during the blissful Type II “Bathtub Gin,” while Trey came up with a flurry of melodic riffs and rhythms. All in all, “Gin” spanned 15 minutes and vaulted to towards the top of the list of best versions of the era. The same could be said for the “Limb By Limb” which followed. Just like “Gin,” “Limb By Limb” saw the quartet change the direction of the jam towards a space they haven’t explored in the past. Drummer Jon Fishman was the star of the “Limb By Limb” as he laid down a twisted polyrhythmic beat as Anastasio put his wah pedal to good use.
A two-pack of Fuego songs -the gorgeous “Winterqueen” and the accessible “The Line” -gave band and fans a little breather before the jamming continued with “Tweezer.” Once again, Phish blew through the song’s boundaries for the third Type II jam of the set. While not quite to the level of “Gin” and “Limb By Limb,” the fairly-short “Tweezer” saw some of the most impressive and focused work of the night from Trey. Eventually “Tweezer” faded into “Prince Caspian” and Phish brought the set to a close with the fun “Sparkle” and a “Run Like An Antelope” that showed off the group’s proficiency as tension and release jamming. McConnell thanked the fans and noted his love of the venue upon returning for the encore. He then said “this is a song about a girl we don’t know,” as an introduction for the fourth Fuego track of the night -“Sing Monica.” As expected “Tweezer Reprise” gave the huge audience one last chance to get their ya-ya’s out. Phish continues their three-night stand at SPAC tonight.
Programming Note: The Skinny for Friday and Saturday night’s shows at SPAC will be published on Sunday
Set One: Farmhouse, Wolfman’s Brother, Maze, Yarmouth Road, Strange Design, Devotion To a Dream, Ocelot, Chalk Dust Torture, Mound, Roggae, Possum
Set Two: Bathtub Gin > Limb By Limb > Winterqueen, The Line, Tweezer > Prince Caspian > Sparkle > Run Like an Antelope
Encore: Sing Monica > Tweezer Reprise
- Venue Type / Capacity: Outdoor Amphitheater / 25,100
- Previous Shows at Venue: 14 Shows – 07/27/1992, 07/10/1994, 06/26/1995, 06/19/2004, 06/20/2004, 08/16/2009, 06/19/2010, 06/20/2010, 07/06/2012, 07/07/2012, 07/08/2012, 7/5/2013, 7/6/2013 and 7/7/2013
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 11 / 8:21 p.m. -9:41 p.m. (80 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 10 / 10:13 p.m. -11:39 p.m. (86 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 21 / 0 / 21
- Biggest Bustout: Strange Design -33 Shows (LTP -7/20/2013)
- Average Song Vintage: 1998
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 71 degrees and light rain at show time
- Average Song Gap: 8.52
- The Spread: Lawn Boy -2, Picture Of Nectar – 3, Rift -3, Hoist -1, Billy Breathes -1, Story Of The Ghost -2, Farmhouse -1, Joy -1, Fuego -4, Misc. -3
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Bathtub Gin 15:06 / Strange Design 3:40
- Audio: Live Phish
Phish From The Road Photos…
Waiting out the storm pic.twitter.com/2KTzvalbvi— Phish: From The Road (@Phish_FTR) July 3, 2014
Doors are open at SPAC pic.twitter.com/WoP2oLwODF— Phish: From The Road (@Phish_FTR) July 3, 2014