Coasting to the Coast

Phish rolled into the East Coast last night after 4 stellar shows in the Midwest–I wasn’t sure if they were going to up the ante from Alpine or simply coast at the coast.  I would have to say it was neither the former or latter;  while it was an exciting show, it couldn’t surpass either show from Deer Creek, both of which were the weakest links in the 4 show Midwest mini-run.  Night 1 featured clean segues though, and this is a huge improvement from most of 2010–especially the beginning of the second leg of this tour.

The show started off with the first opening Fluffhead since its epic return at Hampton last year–this version had the lyric change “Fluff went to New York” reminiscent to MSG’s version last year and featured an absolutely soaring end segment–a wonderful way to start a show.  Cities, two songs later, is always welcome in a set–however it cannot compare to the Greek’s mid-first set toga party break down of a version.

Funky Bitch, a song that they all have been absolutely crushing, came out for this snarling take.  Played just two shows earlier in Alpine, this one even upped that–Trey’s got the tone and style down perfect for this song again. Mike has been changing up the lyrics a bit this whole second leg of playing it, and this version was no different.  Funky Bitch is played with a newfound intensity that I find very refreshing.  

The Wilson, which is normally not a song of note, featured Trey on one of those electronic toddler guitars for parts of the song, holding it up to the mic.  The video is below

Reba was unfortunately far more bland than most versions and certainly can’t hold a candle up to Alpine’s which was probably the best version of 3.0.  The silver lining in it is that Trey seems to understand that the song’s improvisational segment should at least start out quiet and delicate–an aspect of Reba Trey has seemed to ignore in recent times.  The Walk Away that followed, yet again featured the uptempo, slightly open hi-hat “tweeprisish” sounding jam for another longer version.  I’m loving the Walk Aways these days!

The first set closed with a short and subpar (even for 3.0 standards) Wolfman’s and standard Possum.

The second set is pretty impressive–not for the jamming as much as the flow Phish had throughout.  It opened up with Fishman clearing his throat to sing the second Lengthwise since 1998–keeping it old school, it segued slowly and eerily into Maze–almost every time in the past Lengthwise has opened a set it has gone into Maze.

A short Halley’s Comet followed, lighting up the mood of the breezy venue after this dark opening.  Trey popped into Mike’s Song shortly after the composed segment–it wasn’t perfect, almost hesitant as if his eyes shifted across stage to his cohorts wondering if they were going to pick up on it–it’s certainly no Greek Ghost > Mike’s Song (that was pure garbage).  It was a standard version that lead into a beautifully sublime Simple–while the Greek’s Simple was easily the best of 3.0 and arguable of post-hiatus, this one is a more minimal and innocent take on the song.

Trey ends the jam (no, not ends the jam) by beginning Number Line delicately.  This was the first open-ended version of the second leg, however it doesn’t have the balls as any other open-ended version has had in the history of the song thus far.  Fishman is ready to rock, and Trey seems to be going places with it–if only Trey caught onto Fish’s rolls, the version could have really taken off into some serious improvisation.  Overall, it’s not bad and features some interesting jamming–a 15 minutes Number Line is usually interesting.  It segues nicely into Price Caspian, another song that recently Trey has awkwardly forced out of jams.  

The Caspian follows the coat tails of Tellurides in it’s somewhat improvisational outro before going into the next song–in this case, Rock and Roll.  Yes, a mid-set Rock and Roll, not something we see very often anymore, huh?  I love this version.  After bashing them for opening second sets with Rock and Rolls or Drowneds too often, this one is about 12 minutes and goes back into the end lyrics–another feature that doesn’t happen much anymore.  This Rock and Roll takes off at a breakneck pace with Trey exploding throughout–when Fishman kicks in with a Maze drumbeat, Trey says “oh shit, you really wanna go there?!” and blows up again.  They kick it into the end lyrics and go back into the Lengthwise-esque eeriness by chanting “allllriiiggght, it was alllllriiiight” while the drums quietly brought the beginning of Weekapaug up (just like the drums brought us to Maze from Lengthwise).  

The set closes with an energetic Loving Cup before encoring with Show of Life and Golgi.

Keep the energy up, Phish!

Set 1: FluffheadKill Devil FallsCitiesFunky BitchWilsonRebaWalk Away,Wolfman’s BrotherPossum