Phish continued their 2017 Summer tour Tuesday night with a one-off show at Wright State University Ervin J. Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio, a venue they last played nearly 20 years ago as part of their nation-“destroying” Fall 1997 tour. The band just finished up three nights in Chicago, and are winding their way towards New York City for the heavily-anticipated Baker’s Dozen run. The band has come out of the gate relatively hot this summer, with several strong shows already under their belt. This show would continue that trend, as the band put a solid first set and a top-notch second half for a memorable night in Ohio.
Watch the full show in pro-shot, HD fashion, courtesy of livephish
The first set started off with the Phish debut of the Trey Anastasio Band track “Tuesday,” which had a Rolling Stones-esque blues tinge to it. Keyboardist Page McConnell proved to be fiery during this opening number, helping to set the tone for what turned out to be a raucous first set. The band took a quick breath before drummer Jon Fishman kicked off the familiar opening to Frank Zappa‘s beloved “Peaches en Regalia.” The cover is one of Phish’s most chased songs and always gets a huge response from the audience whenever the band decides to bust it out. It was no different on this occasion, as the crowd erupted with excitement while the band delivered a spot-on version of the classic track.
“Free” saw Anastasio in fine form, and he turned in a soaring performance of the fan-favorite despite some assorted vocal hangups. “Free” also provided Mike Gordon an opportunity to show off his skills on the bass, as he turned in an over-the-top funky solo during the song’s breakdown. For those keeping track, Gordon was also dressed wildly, wearing black and white striped pants, an oddly-textured blazer, and turquoise lipstick, an interesting outfit even for him, an artist who is known for his eccentricities.
Next up was “Roggae,” which has developed into one of the band’s go-to tunes in the live setting. The song’s heartfelt sound, patient build, and gorgeous peak are a delight, and the song is a consistent highlight of the band’s 3.0 era. This version saw Fishman get a little bit lost, but he found his way back into the mix in time for the band to complete the song.
After a somewhat rough “Sugar Shack,” the band turned in a high-octane version of “Maze,” which proved to be the highlight of the first set. Page delivered his typically-wild solo, with Fishman egging him on by shifting the rhythm ever so slightly while he stabbed at his organ. When Anastasio picked up the song to bring the jam to its eventual peak, the power of the band’s new moveable light rig was in full force. The rig tilted side to side, giving the lighting a much more sinister, almost knife-like illusion. The combination of the tight playing, ambitious improvisation, and those surreal new lights made for a truly memorable version of “Maze.”
“Horn,” one of Phish’s classic rock ballads, followed “Maze,” before Gordon debuted his groovy “Crazy Sometimes.” This song had its fair share of flubs, but the psychedelic clavinet solo and funky jam section show a song with a lot of potential. The band used the jam to move into a very loose version of “46 Days,” with Anastasio showcasing his master-harnesser of tension and release. Phish kept the energy flowing as they transitioned into “Runaway Jim.” The “Jim” quickly took on a plinko-like atmosphere, with McConnell using his piano to build the jam tremendously, as the band finished set one in style.
Phish started the second set with an ambitious take on their classic jam-vehicle, “Down With Disease.” After starting the song up and working through its main form, the band quickly launched into a spacey and weird jam, with a ton of synth from McConnell and delicate guitar playing from Anastasio. McConnell eventually moved over to the theremin, creating a spooky, sci-fi soundscape as Fishman and Gordon locked in for a meditative, almost Tool-esque feel. The band emerged from the darkness of the jam as Trey locked into a bright and jangly guitar riff which the band used to build towards a nice climax, the jam pushing past the twenty-minute mark. Phish then moved into a super-rare “Mountains in the Mist,” the first version since 10/28/2014. It was a very beautiful version of the song, landing gracefully after the explosive improvisational fireworks of “Disease.”
An interesting version of “Waves” saw the band get weird towards the end, allowing for a unique transition into “Ghost,” with lots of distortion and delay loops continuing the sci-fi vibe. The band harnessed the energy of this weirdness to deliver a unique rendition of “Ghost,” complete with “Waves” teases and a jam that saw Fishman push the beat more and more until he had doubled it, creating a rowdy energy before the band started up the comical “Wombat.” This was one of the definitive versions “Wombat,” with the band locking in for a standout segment of Type II improvisation. Anastasio really stood out throughout this set, with countless moments of the soaring, exploratory guitar playing that he’s known for peppered throughout the entire show. After the memorable “Wombat” fizzled out, the band launched into a raging version of “Chalkdust Torture” that brought set two to a close.
For the encore, the band would deploy one of its most reliable, go-to show-stoppers, “The Squirming Coil.” The song’s multi-sectional composition showcases all of the best sides of Phish: driven, ambitious, adventurous, playful, and aggressive, all in one track. After a night filled with spectacular jams and excellent song selection, “The Squirming Coil” was the only choice for this show’s encore slot.
Phish continues their tour tomorrow night with a show at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA before they head to New York City for thirteen nights at Madison Square Garden.
SETLIST: Phish | Ervin J. Nutter Center | Dayton, OH | 7/18/17
Set One: Tuesday*, Peaches En Regalia, Free, Roggae, Sugar Shack, Maze, Horn, Crazy Sometimes* > 46 Days > Runaway Jim
Set Two: Down With Disease > Mountains In The Mist > Waves -> Ghost > Wombat > Chalkdust Torture.
Encore: The Squirming Coil
* Phish Debut
Check out the full gallery from Doug Siegel.
If you’re heading to New York for Phish’s 13-night Baker’s Dozen run at Madison Square Garden, don’t miss all the incredible late night shows going on in the City during the run! Check out Our Official Guide To Baker’s Dozen Late-Nights for all the info.
Live For Live Music Phish Baker’s Dozen Run Late-Night Shows
July 21 – The Werks @ American Beauty (tix)
July 21 – The Motet @ BB King Blues Club (tix)
July 20, 21, & 22 – Twiddle @ Irving Plaza (tix) *
July 22 – The Werks @ American Beauty (tix)
July 22 – Circles Around The Sun @ Gramercy Theatre (SOLD OUT)
July 23 – Circles Around The Sun (early brunch show) @ Brooklyn Bowl (tix) #
July 25 – Turkuaz at Irving Plaza (tix) *
July 28 – Dopapod @ Gramercy Theater (tix) *
July 28 – James Brown Dance Party – 2 Shows @ Highline Ballroom (early tix/late tix) *
July 29 – Dopapod @ Gramercy (tix) *
July 29 – Perpetual Groove @ BB King Blues Club (tix)
Aug 2 – Matisyahu @ The Cutting Room (tix) *
Aug 3 – Greensky Bluegrass w/ Marco Benevento @ Ford Amphitheatre At Coney Island Boardwalk (tix) **
Aug 4 – “Kraz & Taz” – Eric Krasno Band w/ Brandon “Taz” Niederauer Band @ The Cutting Room (tix)
Aug 5 – Spafford @ BB King Blues Club (tix)
* (L4LM & CEG Presents)
**(L4LM & Live Nation Presents)
# (L4LM & Brooklyn Bowl Presents)