After a four-show swing through California, HT faves Phish returned to Kansas City, Missouri tonight for a near-capacity show at The Starlight Theatre marking their first show in the area since a July 17, 2003 performance at Sandstone Amphitheatre in nearby Bonner Springs, Kansas.
[Photo by Tweeprise on Instagram]
Early in the first set Phish offered their second version of Skin It Back by Little Feat this summer, a song that the band busted out after 1,417 shows back on July 3rd at Jones Beach. Later in the opening stanza the group dusted off The Ballad of Curtis Loew marking the first time this year Phish tackled the Lynyrd Skynyrd cover (the 209th distinct song played by Phish in 2012). Both Bathtub Gin and the set-closing Run Like An Antelope built to quick, ferocious peaks with relatively short jam sections while Stash was on the complete other end of the spectrum. Lasting more than 14-minutes, this Stash, which was the improvisational highlight of the set, slowly builds to a grand crescendo that climaxes over and over again.
The second set started on the upbeat side with a fine 15-minute Tweezer opener that alternated between funky minor-key and beautiful major-key segments. There’s a point towards the end of the Tweezer where all four members of the band connect on a glorious peak that lasts a few minutes and makes it a version worth seeking out. Piper only weighs in at seven-plus minutes, but the band uses the time wisely swerving between one successful improvisational idea after another. Following a quick romp through Mike’s came a run of heavy rotation staples in Bouncing Around The Room (first Mike’s > Bouncin’ combo since July 9, 1996), Backwards Down The Number Line and Heavy Things. The introspective If I Could made its third appearance of the year after going unplayed in 2010 and 2011. Weekapaug was performed at a slower tempo than usual, while Harry Hood featured a slow, majestic build up and peak. An interesting moment occurred during the Suzy Greenberg closer, especially from a band that has long shied away from politics, when drummer Jon Fishman used one of the breaks during the chorus to yell, “Todd Akin’s a neurologist” in reference to the republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri who got himself in hot water for his recent comments on rape and abortion. Fish even took another dig at the embattled politician later in the song, which also featured a Stairway To Heaven tease from Trey Anastasio. A Loving Cup, Tweezer Reprise encore brought the evening to a close. Phish heads to Oak Mountain in Alabama for Friday’s show which will be webcast via LivePhish.com.
 Stairway to Heaven tease from Trey.
Notes: Suzy Greenberg contained a Stairway to Heaven tease from Trey and added lyrics from Fishman: “Todd Akin is a neurologist” in reference to embattled Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin who made controversial comments about rape days prior to the show.
Here’s The Skinny from the first Phish show at Starlight Theatre…
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 7,947 / 7,947 (Show Listed As Sold Out But Reports of Plenty of Empty Seats) / Outdoor Theater
- Previous Shows at Venue: Phish Has Never Played Starlight Theatre Before
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 10 / 8:06PM – 9:31PM (85 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 12 / 10:02PM – 11:32PM (90 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 22 / 4 / 18
- Biggest Bustout: The Ballad of Curtis Loew – 28 Shows (LTP – 12/28/2011)
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 92°F and Partly Cloudy at Show Time
- Wardrobe: Trey – Black and Grey Striped Long-Sleeve Shirt and Jeans / Mike – Light Blue T-Shirt w. Suspenders and Jeans / Page – Navy Blue Short-Sleeve Button-Down Shirt and Jeans / Fish – Dress
- Average Song Gap: 4.68
- The Spread: Lawn Boy – 3, Picture of Nectar – 4, Rift – 1, Hoist – 1, Story of the Ghost – 1, Farmhouse – 2, Joy – 2, Covers – 4, Misc. – 4,
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Tweezer 15:06 / Bouncing Around The Room 3:52
- Audio: Live Phish