Jam Bands

Phish turns 1STBANK Center into a steam bath on first night of three-night stand - 10/10/10

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Phish's second set kicked off with Anastasio's ear-piercing distorted guitar melody of "Mike's Song", with Gordon thumping away his lead bass lines behind. The 1STBANK Center might not have the best sound, but it isn't bad either. It's like a wide open Fillmore, but surprisingly, without a lot of the bass slap back that venue has. If anything, the bass sounds a bit flat and lifeless, but the room was still clear from every corner I found myself in - even at the back of the suites.

Drummer Jon Fishman held the band down as Anastasio and Gordon noodled over McConnell's organ swells, eventually leading the band through "Simple" and into the wah-wah funk of "Ghost," before wrapping up with "Weekapaug Groove" some thirty minutes later.

Pulling out a megaphone from behind his amplifier for "Fee," Anastasio inadvertently created a high pitched feedback when he crossed the front of the bullhorn with his microphone. The megaphone - used normally to create a hollow, distant sound for the vocals - became another instrument for Anastasio as he waved it across his microphone in the extended segment at the end. Out of the dissonance, the growing reggae swell of "Makisupa Policeman" emerged. Teased the night before by Yonder Mountain String Band while Fishman sat in on drums, Phish picked up where the Yonder guys left off - making reference to the growing fog of (no doubt medical) marijuana smoke hanging over the crowd in the always-changing lyrics (my notes are unclear and I haven't heard the recording yet, but it was something about handing a cop some "dank").

Reminding us that Monday morning rush hour loomed a few short hours away, the band went into "Slave to the Traffic Light" before wrapping up the set with "Strange Design" and a stretched-out "Julius." If I was a picky, obnoxious phish-head, I would complain that - while I love the Southern rock sound and shredding Chuck Berry guitar Anastasio plays in "Julius" - "Slave" would have been my pick to end the set, with its dramatic buildup by the entire band culminating in a "Day in the Life"-esque final chord left to diminish into the crowd noise. But I'm not one of those types.

The band encored with the Rolling Stone's "Loving Cup," a song that Phish might as well own the rights to by now - not only because it is one of their most played cover songs, but because they simply own that song. The band kept it short, though, ending before 11:30 and sending everyone out to the wet and welcome cold.

Click through for Critic's Notebook, complete Set List and download links.

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Boyd Fletcher
Contact: Boyd Fletcher