Phish Summer Tour 2011 started way back on Memorial Day Weekend with a three-night stand at Bethel Woods, and tonight, a bit more than three months later, the extremely successful tour comes to a close at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the last of three shows at the soccer pitch.
[Photo by Jason Woodside]
A Maze opener, the first since December 9, 1995, showed the band’s continued willingness to toy with song placement this tour. The jam of the set came in a blistering Bathtub Gin that thankfully went on and on as guitarist Trey Anastasio blissfully shredded one melodic run of notes after another. Unlike many of the layered, spacier jams from earlier in the run, this one was led by Trey and was pushed to the top shelf of the era by the work of his band mates.
READ ON for the rest of our recap as well as tonight’s setlist and Skinny…
Towards the middle of the set, Phish debuted their Mike Gordon-sung cover of The Way It Goes by Gillian Welch, which they had rehearsed multiple times earlier during the soundcheck. While the electric instrumention was different than the acoustic one found on Welch’s 2011 release The Harrow and the Harvest, the quartet’s take didn’t stray too far from the arrangement of the original. As far as we can tell, Way It Goes is the most recently released song Phish has ever covered – The Harrow and the Harvest came out on June 28.
Next up was only the second Halfway to the Moon of 2011. Just as with Steam, Halfway to the Moon gets better each time out, as the band gets more comfortable. For this one, Trey honed in on a slick ascending progression and built it up to a impressive climax. As the set moved on, Phish continued with a dream-like sequence of Gumbo, Halley’s Comet, Tube, Timber (Jerry) and Roses Are Free; though, unfortunately, none of tonight’s versions contained much improvisation. The Chalk Dust closer was actually more jammed than any of those songs and put Anastasio’s fretboard fireworks on display during his even more intense than usual solo.
Set Two started with a Rock and Roll that had fans hoping for some of the extraordinary jamming found in other versions this tour, but Phish had another idea. A potent, straightforward romp through the arena rock jam found its way into a cover of Come Together by The Beatles. Last played a whopping 537 shows ago, on the anniversary of John Lennon’s death (December 8) in 1995, you could hear the rust as the band struggled their way through it. Twist twisted its way into the set out of Come Together and featured a journey into psychedelia that had hints of Oye Como Va before the entire group feasted on a full out Low Rider jam.
Once Phish was through with the Low Rider jam, they alternated between going back into Twist and starting Piper. The call to start Piper won out and this Piper explored a number of fanastic and different jam spaces, including a spacier interlude complete with Page adding spacy swirls on the theremin. Mark that one on your “things I should listen to from this show” list as well as the goregous version of Harry Hood that followed. Hood was a well above-average take, with Page and Trey adding beautiful melodies at each turn of the patient jam. Roggae is another tune that has had a great 2011 and while tonight’s Roggae didn’t quite reach the heights of the Gorge performance, it still stuck its head into a few interesting places.
As the set rolled along you couldn’t help but marvel at its relentless nature, especially once Ghost came after Roggae.This rocked out Ghost went so much farther than the quick UIC take and surprisingly moved into the Phish obscurity Guy Forget with all four members of the band yelling the Moroccan-born tennis player’s name. Trey took to the mic and declared “and now you all know who the Ghost is, it’s Guy Forget” before concluding the Ghost/Guy Forget mash-up. Speaking of “relentlessness” Walls of the Cave capped the high-octane set with another sizzling Trey solo.
While we usually point you in the direction of certain songs/jams to hear in this recap, just listen to it all – especially the second set – as Phish put one hell of an exclamation point on this tour. Let’s hope a New Year’s run is in the works before the quartet embarks on a less active year in 2012.
- Venue Capacity / Attendance: 26,000 / 22,000*
- Previous Shows at Venue: 09/02/2011, 09/03/2011
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 12 / 8:11 – 9:38 [88 Minutes]
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 11 /10:08 – 11:35 [87 Minutes]
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 23 / 6/ 17 [Includes only one Ghost & Twist]
- Biggest Bustout: Come Together [LTP - 12/08/1995, 537 Shows]
- Debuts: The Way It Goes (Gillian Welch)
- Average Song Gap: 42.63
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Forthcoming
- Wardrobe: Trey – Black Shirt / Jeans, Mike – Plaid Shirt / Black Jeans / Scarf (2nd Set Only), Trey – Black and Grey Plaid Shirt / Black Pants, Fish – Dress (w/ X’s, not typical donut hole dress for first set and donut dress for second set)
- Audio: Live Phish SBD,
* – Estimate
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