06/24/12Posted in show-reviews by L4LM

Morning After Phish: Halfway Between Erie And Pittsburgh


Disclaimer: I go to shows to have fun. I don't take notes. I dance, I drink, and I'm probably writing this hungover. I don't use a thesaurus, I call em' like I see em'. This is what I thought.

Now that we're ten shows in, I think it's safe to say that this band is on fire right now and are showing no signs of slowing down. They refuse to take a night off, and last night's show in Burgettstown, PA was no exception. The show started off strong with a Funky Bitch, had an early jam in Backwards Down The Number Line, and featured a fun Maze with a brief Eleanor Rigby tease. Midway through the first set, the show seemed to be shaping up to be one of the more standard shows of the tour, but Phish always has a couple of tricks up their sleeve. Towards the end of the set, we were treated to the first Scent of a Mule of this tour, and after a crazy 'mule duel' between Trey and Page, which saw the two playing off each other perfectly, Page busted out the theremin to a boisterous ovation. The following 46 Days was solid but is really insignificant in comparison to the set's closer: 2012′s first You Enjoy Myself! What most fans would consider to be Phish's signature song, YEM has been played every few nights since the band's return in 2009, but has become a relative rarity in recent times. In the case of YEM, less is more, as some fans mumbled about the song becoming 'overplayed' in recent years – however with a 6 month gap, the crowd went absolutely nuts when the band opened with those familiar notes. If the band stopped playing Possum for 15 shows, I bet it would get a similar reaction.

As usual, if the first set brought the songs, the second set brought the jams. After a fun Gotta Jibboo, Burgettstown was treated to what may be the finest Mike's Groove of this run. The Mike's Song started out hard and heavy with bass bombs blasting from the stage, but the real star is the heart of the Groove: Simple>Light. Simple has been fantastic each time it's been played so far, but this version ended with a mind blowing bass transition that set the tone for the rest of the jam. The song perfectly segued into Light, not too early or too late, to bring us to the next section of this epic Groove. As I've mentioned in this space before, Light is quickly becoming this band's new favorite jam vehicle. At this point, it's safe to assume that when the band's going into Light, you're going to hear an amazing jam. This version, while probably not as memorable as the previous Light>Manteca>Light from Atlantic City, was definitely the centerpiece of the show. Eventually, we transition into the required Weekapaug Groove, which was literally miles ahead of the previous rendition in Portsmouth. The entire Groove, overall, felt like it was making up for the relatively sloppy one played in Portsmouth, and all is definitely forgiven. Rounding out the second set was the first Seven Below of 2012, after which the band finally took a break after 50 minutes of straight jamming before starting up a fun Julius. A solid Slave to the Traffic Light brought this awesome set to a close.

Besides the Mike's Groove and the You Enjoy Myself, this show will certainly be remembered for the encore. When the band took the stage for the final time that night, they immediately busted into Lizards; causing general shock and disbelief in the crowd. This was one of those genuine times you turn and high five complete strangers and jump around in pure bliss. Like the Fluffhead encore from the night before, the shock and awe factor of the placement just made the song so much more fun. There was one really fun moment worth talking about; Trey completely messed up the 'His name was Rutherford The Brave' verse, completely forgetting the lyrics – and the crowd would not let it just go, shouting friendly jeers that caused Trey to smile. But with a little bit of Phish magic, right when the crowd quieted, the next lyric out of Trey's mouth was "Their clumsy end was perilously near", which had the crowd going nuts. It's times that like that where you realize how special this band is, where negatives become positives that end up adding to the overall experience. And speaking of that overall experience, this show was another great one. No complaints on this end. With all the great shows so far this tour, it's hard to really to figure out how well this one will hold up over time, but last night Burgettstown, PA was rocked by The Phish From Vermont.

-Chez Rolez

Set 1: Funky Bitch, Backwards Down the Number Line, Gumbo, Maze[1], Torn and Frayed, The Moma Dance > Scent of a Mule[2], 46 Days, You Enjoy Myself[3]

Set 2: Gotta Jibboo > Mike's Song > Simple > Light > Weekapaug Groove[4] -> Seven Below, Bouncing Around the Room >Julius > Slave to the Traffic Light

Encore: The Lizards

[1] Eleanor Rigby tease from Page and Trey.
[2] Mule duel featured Page on theremin.
[3] Scent of a Mule tease from Trey.
[4] Divided Sky tease from Trey.

Notes: Maze featured an Eleanor Rigby tease from Page and Trey. The Mule duel featured Page on theremin. YEM contained a Scent of a Mule tease from Trey. Weekapaug contained a Divided Sky tease from Trey.

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