Phish played another show last night that seems to prove they really like playing indoor venues in the summertime. After the excellent San Francisco and Centrum shows from this summer, and the incredible UIC shows last summer, they are showing that they consistently throw down when entrapped in a single room with their enthusiastic fans. Perhaps they should reconsider a fall tour this year.
Again, the highlight of the show is the second set, but the first set has its own moments. After the band took the stage with a high-energy Punch, they moved through well-played versions of Jim, Ocelot, Reba, and I Didn’t Know. One of the highlights of the first half of the show came in a ‘with-less’ Curtain (second since 2000) that was strongly played and plowed us right into the beginning of Peaches. It was an AMAZING one-two punch. Possum was short but provided serious shredding before ending the set on another high-energy throwdown, Quinn.
When Phish came out for the second set and opened with Chalk Dust Torture, most immediately wondered what the next song would be assuming this would be a quick opener before the jams came out to play. This thinking went all the way through the final verse of the song at the end but eyes quickly widened when Trey led the band with this guitar past the normal closing lick into an ambient jam. Soon, Fish started the delicate Frankie Says beat and after a couple minutes of jamming over that, the surreal song was in full swing–only the third of the era. The song sank into a jam with Fishman becoming more heavy on the drums, almost Timber-Ho-esque. The bands jamming quickly reflected the heavy nature of the drums before we segued perfectly into Undermind.
After UIC’s Undermind in 2011 (also indoors), any time the song is played in a second set (let alone out of another jam), I have high hopes. This quickly dives into a Mike-driven throwdown before Trey so rudely pulls the ripcord by belting out the closing lyrics. After the lyrics it certainly seems like the band wants to keep stretching it but Big Red wasn’t having it and dropped a quick Sand tease before making a bunch of disconnected noise and stopping the improv from going any further. Soon, Trey played the Sand lick again and the band transitioned into it.
This isn’t quite as funky of a throw down as other second set versions this year, but it reaches a fantastic climax. At a lot of points it sounds like the baby grand is turned up louder than the guitar in fact. The band returns to Sand after the peak before Trey quickly veers everyone right into possibly the most rocking take on Walk Away they have ever played.
The absolutely smokin’ Walk Away finished in stellar form and Limb by Limb started. A lot of people used the beginning of Limb by Limb to run to the bathroom so they wouldn’t miss the next following segment of the set that would ensue after. After all, Limb often serves as a buffer song, a breather.
Well, those in the bathroom zipped up quick when they heard the quiet Limb by Limb jam go off into uncharted territory–the first time since UIC. As the jam starts off normal, it quickly sinks into a blissful ocean full of subtle whale calls. Trey begins scratching his strings with a slight echo to it before the jam almost completely dies; was this it, just an unfinished Limb by Limb? No. Trey revives the jam with some very forceful rock licks. The entire band slowly catches on and Trey starts getting funky with Fishman completely locked into what Trey’s doing. The jam builds from there gaining a full head of steam into a massive climax. But, out of nowhere, Trey and Fish decide to dive into the ending for a quick stop to what will be one of the best versions of the song ever.
After a lively Julius and a short 2001, another second-set-closing YEM rang out with another painfully standard jam but also another awesome bass & drums segment.
The night was capped off with the soulful Shine a Light before sending everyone off into the streets of St. Louis.