Gordon was particularly audible in the tightly played Foam that followed and he to thump throughout Possum, which finally got the crowd rocking again for the first time since Wolfman’s. Hopes were high for Moma Dance and the playing was solid and funky. But the song has become a source of frustration for fans of the Phish’s funky side as the band has been reluctant to stretch it passed seven or eight minutes.
Julius could have kept the flow going but a series of flubs, including a butchered climax and ending, made for a disappointing version. Almost determined to prove they were focused after a rough go through a standard, Trey called for the always-challenging Reba which was played with beautiful precision. The band proved that Julius was not an indication of their concentration level for the night. The always fun Cavern ended what was an up-and-down set.
The second set opened with a fun Halley’s but before the jam could really get going, Trey abruptly kicked into Light, which was has become one of the band’s best jamming vehicles. On this night it was under 10 minutes but was tight and smoothly segued into the sweet and rare Billy Breathes, which was played only once in 2009 and twice in 2003. I very much enjoyed the Tweezer that followed, with Trey finding a groove he liked and knifing in and out of it patiently, and thought Chris Kuroda did his best lighting work of the night towards the end, including washing the band in a series of deep blue lights as they put a spacey twist on the song’s conclusion. The segue into Theme was smooth but I was surprised to find this was only the fourth Tweezer > Theme ever. I thought that would have been a more common pairing. A well played Hood followed and, other than a group of fans unloading a gaggle of glowsticks onto the soundboard, had everyone pumped for the end of the show.
Wading in the Velvet Sea is one of the tunes I feel Phish has really struggled with since their return. The versions from MSG and Miami last December were very choppy both vocally and musically. But they played it well and it was nice to hear Page’s voice, which we didn’t get much of on this night. I thought the Wading would mark the end of the set but instead the band kicked into the vicious Stealing Time, which I really like as a set closer. It scratches that rockstar itch in much the same way that Character Zero does.
The encore kicked off a chain of events that was felt 150 miles away night in Saratoga the following night. Trey dedicated Sleeping Monkey, complete with crowd singalong, to a fan that had an elaborate sign on Thursday night (not even knowing if he was in the venue again that night) and the standard Tweezer Reprise followed. But as the Reprise was coming to an end, Trey stepped up to the mic and announced that they had a few extra minutes left so they were going to finish the un-Reprised Tweezer from Hershey Park. So the band launched into the first-ever Tweezer Reprise Reprise which sent the crowd off with a little extra punch in its step and led to a Tweezer Reprise opener AND closer on Saturday night at SPAC.
Although the ending was certainly unique and cool it was a fairly standard show otherwise. That said, there were highlights that made the show enjoyable. Other than the Wolfman’s and Reba, there was nothing about the first set that really stood out. But set two is solid and the encore is fun and I recommend giving both a listen.
06/18/2010 The Comcast Theatre
Set 1: Fee > Rift, Wolfman’s Brother, Summer of ‘89, Foam, Possum > The Moma Dance > Julius, Reba, Cavern
Set 2: Halley’s Comet > Light -> Billy Breathes, Tweezer > Theme From the Bottom > Harry Hood > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan
Encore: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise, Tweezer Reprise
 No whistling.
 Played a second time, for Hershey.