Phish returned to nTelos in Portsmouth, Virginia for the third year in a row on Tuesday night. On the first night of the band’s first two night run at the venue, Phish threw down a fun show that was reminiscent of another memorable night in Virginia. Over twenty years ago, and not too terribly far away in Charlottesville, the infamous “Mrs Pizza Shit” show took place. Humorously, before that show, Fishman declared that the band had changed their name to “Mrs. Pizza Shit.” Throughout both sets, references to “Mrs. Pizza Shit” were made and even included the bandmembers calling each other that name. Just as that show has been remembered for the fun that it was, so too may Tuesday’s show just might be remembered for similar reasons.
[All Photos by Parker Harrington]
Towards the end of the first set, that opened with Sample in a Jar and included the tour’s first Party Time, Trey requested that Fish tuck in his shirt during I Didn’t Know. Fishman complied and thus began the “Tuck” theme that permeated the set. From alternate lyrics on Run Like an Antelope that changed to “Tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck” and “Tuck in your dress man, you’re out of control!” to “Split Open and Tuck” in the year’s first Split Open and Melt, the band deftly weaved the “Tuck” theme through the rest of the set. It culminated in the extraordinary Lengthwise -> Maze combo with lyrics including “When you’re tucked, I sleep lengthwise….you suck at tucking”. Trey strumming his guitar with a light saber, audience members dancing on the stage, and a guest appearance by Carl Gerhard on Party Time, were but a few of the many memorable moments of the night.
If it all weren’t enough, Phish offered additional hi-jinx with Trey and Mike sporting oversize sombreros during the encore of Mexican Cousin that segued nicely into Slave to the Traffic Light to close the show.
Sometimes it’s all about fun. Sprinkle in a dose of jamming and exploration like the Maze, a couple welcome additions to the setlists like The Mango Song, Lengthwise and Mike’s Babylon Baby, and you have a pretty memorable night. Sometimes, with Phish, that’s what is all about.
Phish returns to nTelos Pavilion on Wednesday night.
Check out more of Parker’s fantastic photos from Portsmouth…