Phish returned to the nTelos Pavilion in Portsmouth, Virginia this evening for their second of two Summer Tour 2012 performances at the harbor-side shed.
Major progress on The Road to 200 Songs was made to start the show, as the quartet kicked off the evening with a string of 2012 debuts. Sparkle opened a Phish concert for the first time since their only appearance on NPR’s Mountain Stage back on March 22, 1992 and led into Ha Ha Ha. AC/DC Bag was short but tight while Divided Sky benefited from an enthusiastic and accurate Trey. Speaking of Anastasio, Big Red took to the mic and said “alright, enough of those damn signs” before busting into the first Dog Log since 2003’s It Festival (172 shows) in response to a number of those “damn signs” bearing the name of the uber rarity. The band nailed the biggest bust out of the tour thus far. Up next was another tour debut in the title track from 2004’s Undermind. A Mike’s Groove ended the string of six tour debuts, as the song suite had just been performed to open Saturday’s show in Atlantic City. Weekapaug was particularly strong thanks in part to a slinky groove laid down by drummer Jon Fishman that set the pace for the jam. After nine originals in a row opened the set, three covers came next as an abrupt segue connected Cities and a guitar solo-less Ya Mar, leading into a typically powerful version of Axis: Bold As Love (Jimi Hendrix). A high-energy romp through Julius closed the opening stanza.
Those hungry for improvisation received a family-sized portion to start the second set, though the rest of the closing stanza was a more structured affair. A Rock and Roll opener featured meaty arena rock riffs galore and melted into a gorgeous ambient jam space that eventually gave way to Tweezer. Wasting no time, all four band members connected quickly in the song’s jam to create one of the more potent funk-rock grooves of the last few years. Once the proper base was laid down, Anastasio went to town delivering one disgusting run of notes after another, leading to a massive peak.
Following a much more subdued Birds of a Feather than the amazing Atlantic City version, Phish started Harry Hood. Once the jam began, Page McConnell kept inserting spacey synth riffs underneath Trey’s delicate noodling. Two or three minutes of beautiful, ethereal jamming later, Anastasio pitched in the What’s The Use? lick and the other three joined along to start the Siket Disc tune in earnest. Those hoping for Hood to finish, especially since the last version at Bonnaroo went unfinished as well, weren’t in luck as WTU? led into the tender Wading In The Velvet Sea. The fourth Possum of the eight-show-old tour closed the set. For the encore, Trey told the crowd it was time for one last tuck and advised they couldn’t end the run without Fish giving everybody one last tuck, referencing the hi-jinks from the previous evening. Anastasio then moved towards the drummer to sing Sleeping Monkey directly at him. Fishman took the opportunity of his verse to give the audience what they wanted – a tuck. A memorable set of shows ended with Tweezer Reprise. Phish returns on Friday at Riverbend in Cincinnati.
nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA
Soundcheck: Nellie Kane [Unconfirmed and Possibly Incomplete]
 Sleeping Monkey quotes from Fishman.
Notes: Trey introduced Dog Log with “There’s enough of those damn signs out there.” Dog Log was last played on August 2, 2003 (172 shows). Hood was unfinished. Prior to Sleeping Monkey, Trey teased the Star Wars theme and said “Fish, when you get to the end of this beautiful song, one last time for all of us. One final tuck.” Trey added that “it’s been a beautiful two days, but It wouldn’t be complete without seeing Fishman tuck his dress into his underwear one last time” and “I’m singing this one right to you Fish, because I am your father.” Trey proceeded to sing to Fish using Mike’s mic. Tweezer Reprise contained Sleeping Monkey quotes from Fishman.
Here’s the setlist and The Skinny for Night Two of Phish in Portsmouth…
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 6,500 / 6,500 / Amphitheater
- Previous Shows at Venue: 3 – 06/15/2010, 06/19/2011 and 6/19/2012
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 13 / 7:58PM – 9:28PM (90 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 11 / 10:03 – 11:34 (91 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 24 / 4 / 20
- Biggest Bustout: Dog Log – 172 Shows [Last Time Played – August 2, 2003]
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 86° and Clear at Showtime
- Wardrobe: Trey – Long-Sleeved Blue, Black and White Checkered Button-Down Shirt and Jeans / Mike – Black Sleeveless T-Shirt and Jeans / Page – Navy Blue Short-Sleeve Button-Down and Jeans / Fish – Dress (w/ Grey Underwear)
- Average Song Gap: 16.63
- The Spread: Junta – 1, Picture of Nectar – 2, Rift – 1, Hoist – 1, Billy Breathes – 1, Story of the Ghost – 3, Siket Disc – 1, Undermind – 1, Misc. – 9, Cover – 4,
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Forthcoming
- Audio: Live Phish