Review: Phish @ Augusta Civic Center

No expectations. They just hoped it would fun. Crazy, huh?

And fun, it was.

There wasn’t a point in the show where I thought…meh or I think I’ll take a bathroom break now. It just felt right. There were more vets with their kids than I’ve seen thus far, the vibe reflected that and the band caught on to the mellow mood immediately. Chalkdust opened with the expected level of excitement, but then it slowly tapered off…in a great way. It felt appropriate to the room and those inside of it. More of a local stop as a favor to the people of Augusta than the next stop on the traveling circus. From Back on The Train through Nellie Kane, the band remained in a down-tempo groove that was unwavering. Highlighted by an excellent effort in Gin and a soulful Jesus Just Left Chicago, the first set finished with 46 Days and Possum – two songs that have tremendous energy, but tonight even those barn burners had a mellow feel.

Building off the home town hoedown, the Civic Center had $5 Magic Hats around every corner, but damn if I could find a bottled water. After searching the entire venue I was finally pointed to a makeshift concession stand in a makeshift meeting room staffed probably by the high school cafeteria staff and some kids on detention.

A first timer for the majority of the room, the decidedly “un-kid-friendly” Fuck Your Face opened set two and weaved in and out of a Mike’s Song that was unique and certainly unexpected. But the next frame was the highlight of the show, pairing two songs that just flat out belong together Light > 20 Years Later dipped in and out of an ambient jam that exemplified the relaxed feeling all night long. This is a must hear and further listens may prove it worthy of the more workable jams of the song’s brief history.

As the set came to a close with A Day In The Life, I turned to the dude behind me and said “First Tube” guaranteed. Looking at the clock it was 11:30, curfew must be 11:45…boy was I wrong. The opening notes to Reba rang out and a moment of “Really? Did this just happen? This isn’t an encore.” overcame me. I texted Scotty and commented “Odd huh? When’s the last time this was an Encore?” 9/21/99 was the answer and what followed was a jam that went completely off the beaten path and was worthy of an eleven year wait between occurrences. The whole of the jam maintained the feel from the entire note resulting in a cohesive show from front to back. They followed with Number Line in an encore that felt more like the beginning of a third set than a final frame. I would have been fine with a whistling ending myself ;)

Setlist: Tuesday, 10/19/2010 Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, ME

Set 1: Chalk Dust TortureBack on the TrainTorn and FrayedBathtub GinGumboThe Divided Sky,Jesus Just Left ChicagoNellie Kane46 DaysPossum

Set 2: Fuck Your FaceMike’s Song -> Fuck Your Face -> Mike’s Song -> Fuck Your FaceLight ->Twenty Years Later -> Fast Enough for YouWeekapaug GrooveHalley’s CometFreeHarry HoodGolgi ApparatusA Day in the Life

Encore: Reba[1]Backwards Down the Number Line

Notes: Reba contained a Manteca quote and did not have the whistling ending.  First Reba encore since 9/21/99 Tucson.

[via Phish.net]

So tonight everyone will line up outside the Auditorum in Utica, the show everyone skipped Augusta to go see. I’ll remember Augusta for years to come and I pass along this advice to everyone in New York. Walk in with no expectations, it’s just another show.

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7 thoughts on “Review: Phish @ Augusta Civic Center

  1. Neddy Reply

    Awesome… Monday, Tuesday, Saturday — don’t skip a show in Maine if you can help it!

    That picture of people filing into a tiny auditorium in New England in the fall just gave me serious flashbacks.

  2. zappafrank Reply

    Awesome review! Good work.

  3. howie dewum Reply

    I love the line “walk in with no expectations, it’s just another show”. so true, we always build up this show and that show for whatever reason. Myself being especially guilty, I end up being disappointed if they don’t do a full gamehendge or some bust out from 20 years ago…however I have gone in with no expectations in 3.0 and been blown away at every show at how much fun they have been. I realize now I probably ruines alot of shows in the early 00′s doing that. Thanks, for a great review.

  4. noahz Reply

    +1

    I love your sensibilities.

  5. marcos esqundolas hamlin Reply

    Eric, as usual, well said. u remember in Va beach during the multi instrument jam when said to you, “do they do this every night?”

    no expectations is right, unless its hampton or msg though, LOL.

  6. ericwyman Reply

    @marcos
    That would have been amazing, but it wasn’t there! LOL.

    Thanks for all the words of encouragement folks.

  7. ericwyman Reply

    I’d also like to comment on what a stark contrast Utica ended up being to Augusta. Probably for all the same reasons at its core. I’ve listened to Set 1 and it’s terribly fun, but in a wholly different way. Set 2 will prove if the improvisation can stack up to Augusta or if it’s just a pure energy show.

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