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.

The second and final night of Phish’s mid-week run in Portsmouth, Virginia was a return to form for the band, as they brought back the jams that were absent from the first night while retaining the playful vibe. The first set stayed fairly simple, yet included several relative rarities like Ha Ha Ha and Ya Mar, as well as the first real ‘bust out’ of the tour in the highly requested Dog Log, the first time played since 2003. Aside from short but funky Cities and Undermind and a well-played Divided Sky, the bands playing erred on the sloppy side – specifically in the Mike’s Groove that saw the band never really get on the same page.

As if the band sensed the borderline train wreck in the first set, the boys came out swinging for the second. In what is becoming a welcome trend, the first two songs of the second set were the show highlights in a one-two punch of fantastic jams – a Rock And Roll>Tweezer combination that lasted nearly 25 minutes and featured some fantastic solos and interesting passages. The Tweezer is miles ahead of the version played at Bonnaroo, and is a perfect example of a jam that doesn’t need to last 20+ minutes to be memorable. It probably holds the most replay value of any song of the two night run. The set’s other highlight is yet another unfinished, but exquisitely jammed, Harry Hood that transitioned into ‘What’s The Use?’ for another solid segment.

The night wouldn’t be complete without a little humor, and before the encore, Trey teased the theme from Star Wars before requesting Fishman tuck in his dress for one ‘final tuck’. This was followed by more comical banter between band mates with Trey stating, “I’m singing this one right to you Fish, because I am your father” – a nod to the previous night’s antics. Trey walked over to Mike’s mic and serenaded Fish through Sleeping Monkey, before jumping right into the expected Tweezer Reprise to finish the run. While these two shows may not hold up in overall quality to the Worcester or Atlantic City runs, there were definitely several moments that those in attendance will hold near to their heart. At the very least, Portsmouth will be remembered as the city it was confirmed that Trey Anastasio is, in fact, a Jedi.

-Chez Rolez