Review: Phish’s Albany Adventure

We expected something standard after a cover debut of that magnitude, but instead we got the rare cover bustout of On Your Way Down. How rare is On Your Way Down? It was only the second version in the last ten years. McConnell nailed the vocals with Anastasio laying down some fiery leads during his bluesy solo. The vibe couldn’t have been better after such an impressive start to the set. Perhaps it was time for the band to cool things down, but instead they decided to keep the energy high by starting Fluffhead. This particular Fluffhead featured a guitar solo for the ages by Big Red during the Fluff’s Arrival segment.

The momentum of the second set continued with a Piper that featured more blistering guitar work by Anastasio and aggressive piano work by McConnell. After a few minutes of Trey and Page ripping it up, drummer Jon Fishman kicked up a reggae beat. Here was another curveball – the debut of Tomorrow’s Song. Unlike the quick segment on Undermind, this version was fully developed with additional lyrics. The audience was eating it up and on the walk back to the hotel, I counted ten people singing the lyrics to themselves as they were leaving the venue. A fun moment to be sure. Prince Caspian gave fans a chance to catch their breath. A fantastic Harry Hood followed along with an energetic Suzy and gorgeous Squirming Coil.

Gordon, Anastasio and Fishman each left the stage during Page’s Coil solo. Just as McConnell was about to finish, the band members reemerged and climbed back on stage. Anastasio took the mic and asked Page “where ya been?’ Some funny banter ensued leading into McConnell singing I Been Around from the recently released Joy album. The band let the stage once more after I Been Around and most weren’t sure if that counted as the encore. Sure enough the band returned for a fiery Fire in honor of Jimi Hendrix’s birthday.

All in all we got bust outs, tight playing and even a couple of debuts at the first of the two Albany Phish shows. The band is feeling it and treating each crowd to completely different, memorable shows. The action continues tonight at the Times Union Center.

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