The old adage always rings true: never miss a Sunday show.
Despite the fear of rain, Phish phans flocked to Randall’s Island for the third night of the band’s three show run. After rocking the first two shows, the band brought their best material for their final NYC performance of the summer.
For the first time ever, Phish opened the show with “Sand,” a funky good time jam with excellent soloing from Trey Anastasio. Getting loose and feeling good, the band played the song “Winterqueen” from the new album Fuego (read the album review here), a mellow, dreamy number. Then, they dropped “Reba.” Again, great guitar-work from Trey, in what is easily one of the best compositions in the Phish repertoire.
A punchy “Birds of a Feather” led into “Water In The Sky,” despite the delightful absence of water in the sky. The cheery sing-a-long engaged the audience, keeping us on our toes throughout the long build-up into “Possum.” This was one of the longer jams of the first set, which ended with an intriguing slowed down section.
Trey then hit the chords for another animal favorite, “Runaway Jim.” The song was relatively tame (considering this song has lasted an hour during particularly psychedelic renditions), but rocked Randall’s nonetheless. “Bouncing Around The Room” provided the necessary mellow break before the final two monster songs of the set, “Maze” and “Split Open and Melt.” “Maze” always builds an enormous energy, spiraling into a frenzy. This atmosphere carried into the finale, an otherworldly, meandering “Melt.”
Between the Sand opener, Reba, Possum, Jim, Maze, Melt… this was a monster first set.
With the bar set so high, there was really only one song that could open the second set. The high energy, rock and roll fiasco that is “Chalk Dust Torture.” This whopping version lasted a full 28 minutes and 27 seconds, with a soothing extended jam that flowed from theme to theme effortlessly. This single improvisational moment is the empirical evidence that the four band members can operate as one single, inter-connected unit. These guys were communicating on their own wavelengths, flowing and growing with each passing note. Definitely merits closer examination.
You can watch this monster Chalkdust, courtesy of Phish themselves, right here:
They kept things going with two more stellar jams, “Light” and “Tweezer.” Again, the band firing on all cylinders. Flowing from song to song, idea to idea. It was a tremendous effort.
After three songs totaling nearly an hour, Phish slowed things down with a “Wading in the Velvet Sea.” The much-needed break gave way to a new song, “Sing Monica,” and the set closed with a traditional “Slave to the Traffic Light.” Booming energy from the second set closer. Six song second set – my favorite alliteration.
Encore “Backwards Down the Number Line,” a playful selection that launched into an uplifting guitar solo. Cap it all off with the ever-energetic “Tweezer Reprise,” and you have yourself one fantastic Phish show.
The moral of this story: never miss a Sunday show. And for the record, it never rained on Randall’s Island.
-David Melamed (@DMelamz)
Randall’s Island, New York, NY
[Courtesy of phish.net]