Phish @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, July 6
Photos: Mike Wren
We’ve reached the final stop on the first leg of Phish Summer Tour 2012 as the band returned to SPAC tonight for the first of three shows at the Saratoga Springs, New York venue. This evening marked Phish’s ninth gig at the shed which they first played on July 27, 1992.
[All Photos by Mike Wren]
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Phish has raised the bar high for first sets over the past week, so it was a bit surprising that they decided to open the show, and the run, with a string of heavy-rotation staples. That said, songs such as Runaway Jim, Ocelot and Back On The Train each featured strong work by guitarist Trey Anastasio. When Tube started you couldn’t help but think the audience was in line for another five-minute rocker, but thankfully Trey quickly worked his solo into a cover of Psycho Killer by the Talking Heads. Psycho Killer, our 196th different song of the tour, was last played in Hartford on August 14, 2009. After singing the first verse and the chorus, the quartet slickly segued back into Tube to screams of appreciation from the crowd.
[4-Month-Old Rosie at Her First Phish Show]
The fun was just beginning as Anastasio put down his axe after Tube and headed over to the drums while Page played Hold Your Head Up. Trey joined in on the HYHU action, quoting Psycho Killer and changing the words to mention the joke that won’t die – “tuck” and “tucking.” Fish then offered up his version of Neil Diamond’s Cracklin’ Rosie (last played December 10, 1999 or 279 shows ago). When he finished, the drummer gave away the cymbals he uses in the song to an audience member in the front row. Following Wednesday’s cover of Purple Rain, this marked the first time Fishman songs were performed at back-to-back shows since August 3rd and 6th, 1998. A screaming “Type I” Stash and the sugary sweet Bouncin’ Around The Room were followed by Phish’s 198th song of the tour, the traditional bluegrass tune Paul and Silas. The cover-heavy set also included another take on the beautiful Taj Mahal tune Corinna and ended with a sloppy but smoking version of Light Up Or Leave Me Alone by Traffic. All in all, the marathon opening stanza contained seven different covers.
Chalk Dust Torture has turned into a second set song of late with six of the last seven (and 12 of the last 16) coming in Set Two. Tonight, the Picture of Nectar rocker opened the closing stanza, just as it did on Tuesday night in Jones Beach. This version didn’t stray too far off course and transitioned into Carini. About eight minutes in length, Carini featured a dark and potent jam that wandered into major-key territory before seguing into Sand. Fish and bassist Mike Gordon laid down a thick, dirty groove for Anastasio to solo over and the guitarist took the bait – another fine, albeit short, version. Next, it was back to covers for a jam-less Roses Are Free (Ween). From there, Phish played to the energy of the room by dropping a mid-second set Punch You In The Eye for the first time since February 20, 2003. A spacey interlude was tacked on to the end of PYITE out of which Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley eventually emerged. Egged on by Fishman, Trey crushed one intense riff after another in three distinct segments during this killer Sally. The Ghost that followed was even better thanks to dynamic Trey-led improvisation that seemed right out of 1999. This must-hear Ghost alternated between good and evil more than Adam and Eve. McConnell was in the spotlight for Suzy Greenberg, but Trey brought the focus back on himself for the bombastic Run Like An Antelope set closer. Songwriters Tom Marshall and Steve “Dude of Life” Pollak made a guest appearance at the end of ‘lope to deliver some of the first lyrics they ever wrote for a Phish song. Phish sent the fans on their way with the perfunctory Loving Cup encore, distinct cover number ten on the evening. The band returns to SPAC tomorrow.
Set 1: Runaway Jim, Ocelot, Heavy Things, Back on the Train, Funky Bitch, Tube-> Psycho Killer -> Tube, Hold Your Head Up > Cracklin’ Rosie > Hold Your Head Up, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Paul and Silas, Horn, Corinna, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone
Encore: Loving Cup
 Psycho Killer quotes and “tucking” references.
 Crosseyed and Painless tease; Tom Marshall and the Dude of Life on vocals; Lyrics changed to “Been you to have any spleef.”
Notes: Psycho Killer was played for the first time since August 14, 2009 (127 shows). HYHU contained Psycho Killer quotes and references to tucking. Prior to Cracklin’ Rosie, Fish was introduced as Friar Tuck. Cracklin’ Rosie was played for the first time since December 10, 1999 (279 shows). Antelope contained a Crosseyed and Painless tease. Tom Marshall and Steve Pollak (aka the “Dude of Life”) sang the lyrics to Antelope. The lyrics to Antelope were changed to “Been you to have any spleef.”
Here’s The Skinny for Phish at SPAC – Night One…
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 25,100 / 22,000 (Estimate) / Amphitheater
- Previous Shows at Venue: 8 Shows – 07/27/1992, 07/10/1994, 06/26/1995, 06/19/2004, 06/20/2004, 08/16/2009, 06/19/2010, 06/20/2010
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 15 / 8:15 PM – 9:45 PM (90 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 10 / 10:22 PM – 11:53 PM (91 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 25 / 10 / 15
- Biggest Bustout: Cracklin’ Rosie – 279 Shows [LTP – 12/10/1999]
- Second Biggest Bustout: Psycho Killer – 127 Shows [LTP – 08/14/2009]
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 82°F Partly Cloudy at Showtime
- Wardrobe: Trey – Black Button-Down Shirt and Jeans w. Green Hat for Second Set / Page – Navy Button-Down Short-Sleeve Shirt and Jeans / Mike – Black Polo Shirt and Jeans / Fish – Dress
- Average Song Gap: 21.37
- The Spread: Lawn Boy – 2, Picture of Nectar – 2, Rift – 1, Story of the Ghost – 1, Farmhouse – 3, Joy – 1, Misc. – 5, Covers – 10
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Sneakin’ Sally 13:02 / Tube 1:35
- Audio: Live Phish
Photo Gallery by Mike Wren…