Tonight, Phish played their fourth-ever Fourth of July show with this year’s holiday performance taking place at Jones Beach, which has previously hosted the quartet 12 times. Following last night’s bust out and jam-filled performance, the band continued to dig deep into their repertoire to end the run.
[Photo via @Kellyferr24]
When Phish took the stage, guitarist Trey Anastasio freaked out the Phish nerds in the crowd by faking towards the instrumental Dave’s Energy Guide. Thankfully, the true opener was also a treat as the band offered only the seventh take on Alumni Blues since 1991. As with all Alumni’s of the era, this one included the White Tape instrumental Letter To Jimmy Page in the middle. The bust outs were just starting as the band then dusted off a cover of The Velvet Underground’s Head Held High for the first time since they covered Loaded in its entirety on October 31, 1998 in Las Vegas. Just when you thought it was safe to take your jaw off the ground came the gorgeous instrumental The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, last played on June 21, 2009 (136 shows). Traditional Hebrew prayer Avenu Malkenu, which had also remained on the shelf for 136 shows, took its typical position between TMWSIY. Would a standard romp through Kill Devil Falls end the string of rarities? Not even close as next up was the tender Bittersweet Motel, last played on August 2, 2009 (132 shows).
David Bowie, just as with Antelope, has started to shine of late with last night’s take continuing that trend. While the band stayed within the lines for the most part, they came close to breaking free of the song’s boundaries a few times displaying an affinity for tension and release that would make a masseuse proud. Susskind Hotel shined on this evening as the third Phish version was the best yet of the GRAB-debuted rocker. Many fans thought the set would end right there when Trey put down his guitar, however Anastasio walked over to the drum kit and Page McConnell played the familiar Hold Your Head Up riff marking the second Fishman Tune of the tour. In a shocking maneuver, the drummer led his mates through a cover of Prince’s Purple Rain, last seen at the epic Deer Creek show on July 25, 1999. Fishman gave the audience another tucking lesson, lifting his dress to reveal donut-marred boxer briefs that matched his familiar dress. To honor Independence Day, Phish ended the set in front of the a cappella mic for The Star Spangled Banner.
Set 1: Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Head Held High, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Kill Devil Falls, Bittersweet Motel, The Moma Dance > Gumbo > David Bowie, Alaska, Susskind Hotel, Hold Your Head Up > Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, The Star Spangled Banner
Set 2: Boogie On Reggae Woman > Tweezer > Twist > Taste > Quinn the Eskimo> Julius > Rock and Roll > The Horse > Silent in the Morning > Harry Hood > Shine a Light > Show of Life > Slave to the Traffic Light
 Lyrics changed to “tucking in the Purple Rain.”
 Lyrics changed to “Why’d you tuck my monkey on a train.”
Notes: Alumni Blues was preceded by a Dave’s Energy Guide tease. Head Held High was played for the first time since October 31, 1998 (356 shows). The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday and Avenu Malkenu were played for the first time since 6/21/09 (136 shows). Bittersweet Motel was played for the first time since8/2/09 (132 shows). Purple Rain was played for the first time since 7/25/99 (314 shows) and included alternate lyrics “tucking in the Purple Rain” and “I am Friar Tuck!” Sleeping Monkey contained alternate lyrics “Why’d you tuck my monkey on a train.”
The beginning of second sets have been where the best jams have been located on this tour and tonight was no different. Boogie On Reggae Woman featured a scorching Trey solo and staccato plinking from McConnell on the clavinet. Throughout the set Page gave an in-show tour of his rig, using each keyboard in his arsenal with aplomb. Tweezer > Twist was the clear improvisational highlight of the evening, with Trey and Page egging each other on through both tunes. What was so impressive about this Twist was how different it was from the other standout versions found this tour. This Twist was more pretty than dirty. From there we were treated to a string of standard rockers in Taste, Quinn, Julius and Rock and Roll with each showing hints of the band taking the jams deep before deciding on a more rock-centric approach. Harry Hood was notable for Anastasio using the riff he usually ends his solos with as a launching pad to build towards one of the more ferocious Hood peaks of recent years. It’s not every show that Hood and Slave to the Traffic Light turn up within four songs of each other, but after the Shine A Light / Show of Life double ballad, Phish indeed ended the closing stanza with a typically beautiful Slave. Trey was feeling his oats throughout the night, so he made the most of his fiery solo. For the encore the quartet turned to Sleeping Monkey, which included a lyric about tucking, before sending fans home with Tweezer Reprise. Phish starts a three-night stand at SPAC on Friday.
Here’s The Skinny for Phish at Jones Beach…
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 15,000 / 15,000 (Sold Out) / Amphitheater
- Previous Shows at Venue: 12 Shows – 07/12/1992, 07/24/1992, 07/23/1993, 07/15/1994, 06/28/1995, 06/29/1995, 06/02/2009, 06/04/2009, 06/05/2009, 08/17/2010, 08/18/2010 and 07/03/2012
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 15 Songs / 84 Minutes (18 songs if you include both intros and outros)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 15 songs/ 102 Minutes
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 30 Songs/ 8 Covers/ 1 Traditional/ 21 Originals (33 including both intros and outros)
- Biggest Bustout: Head Held High, 356 Shows
- Second Biggest Bustout: Purple Rain, 314 Shows
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 84° and Partly Cloudy
- Wardrobe: Trey – Plaid shirt and jeans / Mike – Blue short sleeved shirt and jeans / Fish- Dress / Page – Blue button down shirt and jeans
- Average Song Gap: 45
- The Spread: Joy – 1, Ghost – 1, Junta – 1, Party Time – 1, Traditional – 1, Cover – 8, Miscellaneous – 10, Rift – 2, Hoist – 1, Picture of Nectar – 1, Farmhouse – 1, Billy Breathes – 1
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: 11:00 – David Bowie / :59 – Letter to Jimmy Page
- Audio: Live Phish