Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Phish - June 2, Nikon @ Jones Beach Theater

The anticipation before your first Phish show is almost impossible to verbalize. It can only be rightfully compared to the anticipation felt before your first lay. The whole time you’re thinking, I know it’s going to be good, it has to be good, but how good is it really going to be? Well I can safely say that my first Phish show exceeded all my expectations. Phish cradled me with their music, they took complete care of me. Although they never spoke the words, the music itself said “don’t worry, I’ll show you the way, just sit back and enjoy the ride”, and enjoy the ride I did. From the smiles on the faces surrounding me I could tell that everyone else was enjoying the ride too, whether it was their first show or their 50th show. “Runaway Jim” was chosen as the high octane opener and featured some very cohesive jamming from the boys and some super loud singing from the fans. It was followed by “Foam”, for a double-whammy opener akin to early ‘90s era Phish. Next up came the first new song of the night, “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan” an upbeat rocker that really let Trey’s soloing shine. Timber (Jerry the Mule) was an unexpected but extremely welcomed number that really got the fans moving. The rare tune helped restore faith in the phans that Phish is not afraid to best out some of the oldies, and play them well to boot. The boys kept us rocking with a perfectly played “Reba” complete with a spacey jam and the ending whistling section from Trey and Mike. They kept the ball rolling with a standard bluesy “Possum” and capped off set 1 with a beautifully jammed “If I Could”, a song that hasn’t been played since 2000.

After what seemed like an eternity, the boys took the stage once more, but not before that feeling of uneasy anticipation arrived again. Before I could even try and guess what song they were about to play they jumped off into “Mike’s Song” foreshadowing the monster that would be set 2. It was a classic version with some great fills and licks by Trey, and some powerful singing by Mike himself. They segued beautifully into “Simple”, which had everyone in the crowd singing at the top of their lungs and bouncing around like crazy. The jam was beautiful as always, tight, but not restrained, just delicately played with no single member at the forefront. “Simple” then segued into a funky “Wolfman’s Brother”, a staple of set 2 which everybody loves. Just as the groove was getting settled, Fishman took the reigns and kicked into the “Weekapaug Groove” drumline, leaving Trey dumbfounded, but happy to help transition the jam into the fast-paced tune. We got some funky playing from a slap-happy Mike, and next thing you knew, we were all sharing in the groove.
The boys slowed things down with a beautifully played “When the Circus Comes to Town” which was a nice showcase for some mid-tempo Trey soloing which was completely on point. Next up was another high-octane new song titled “Kill Devil Falls”. The lyrics seemed a little goofy to me and the jam was too reminiscent too the “Birds of a Feather” jam, but I’m sure it will grow and become more unique as the boys settle into it a few more times. We got some seriously ethereal and avant-garde jamming in “Harry Hood”, which was followed by a set ending cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Loving Cup”, one of my personal favourite songs. The boys left stage leaving us with a serious longing for an encore. The four walked back on stage and jumped into “Suzy Greenberg”, a raging sing-a-long that left us all surprised and happy. As I walked out of the Theatre I finally realized what I had been missing in my concert-going life. A taste of Phish is like musical-crack, it leaves you wanting more, and thankfully for this summer tour, everyone will be able to score.

Phish :: 06.02.09 :: Jones Beach Theater :: Long Island, NY
Set I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan (1), Timber (Jerry the Mule), Cities, Driver, Reba, Possum, Farmhouse, If I Could(2)
Set II: Mike's Song > Simple > Wolfman's Brother > Weekapaug Groove, When the Circus Comes to Town, Kill Devil Falls(1), Harry Hood, Loving Cup
Encore: Suzy Greenberg
Notes: 1 - First Time Played
2 - Last Played 6/28/2000 (101 Shows)

(all photos taken from

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