After a strong opening night in Chicago, Phish came out of the gates with purpose this evening for show number two at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH debuting a The Band cover that referenced the nearest big city – Look Out Cleveland – and never looked back. Look Out Cleveland wasn’t even the only cover debut of the night as they also busted out John Lennon’s Instant Karma in the second set.
While this band has clearly been influenced by The Band, Look Out Cleveland marked the first time Phish has tried one of Robbie Robertson’s songs on for size. The Band/Phish connection also surfaces from time to time as guitarist Trey Anastasio covers It Makes No Difference with his solo projects and Phish did perform two Dylan/Band Basement Tapes tunes – Quinn The Eskimo and You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – in the past and played Dylan’s I Shall Be Released (recorded by The Band for The Big Pink LP) once with Sarah McLachlan at the Bridge School Benefit in 1998.
06/12/2010 Blossom Music Center
Set 1: Look Out Cleveland, Ocelot, Water in the Sky, Stash, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Sample in a Jar, Time Turns Elastic, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove
Set 2: Rock and Roll > Harry Hood > Backwards Down the Number Line, Twenty Years Later, Instant Karma, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg > Waste, Character Zero
Encore: The Squirming Coil
 Phish debut.
Look Out Cleveland and Instant Karma made their Phish debuts at this show.
[Setlist via Phish.net]
Blossom’s opening stanza also featured another stand out cover, a beautiful version of Lynryd Skynyrd’s The Ballad of Curtis Loew. A true rarity, Curtis Loew was performed for the first time since last summer’s tour opener in Fenway Park on May 30 and for only the second time since 1993. The rest of set one was a mix of classic jam songs (Stash and Mike’s Groove) and new material unveiled last year (Time Turns Elastic, Ocelot).
Set two was all about the extended jams and the Instant Karma bust out. Rock and Roll and Backwards Down The Number Line both saw long improvisations that went off in a couple of different directions. The second major surprise of the evening came in the form of the Lennon solo track Instant Karma. A staple of Page McConnell side band Vida Blue’s repertoire, McConnell handled vocals on the Phish version as well.
A storm with heavy lightning enveloped the venue during the encore but luckily the weather issues held off until the very end of the show. Phish Summer Tour continues tomorrow night at HersheyPark Stadium in Hershey, PA. Keep your eyes on YEMblog for audio, video and reviews of tonight’s show.