Words: Eric Wyman
Phish @ Great Woods, June 7
As the geographic center of Phish’s original fanbase, shows in Massachusetts have always held a special reverence. Located in Mansfield, the Comcast Center (formerly known as Great Woods) has long been the New England summer destination of choice. With historic shows spanning 15 dates and including a legendary Gamehendge performance in 1994, it’s hard to find a fan who doesn’t have at least one epic story from Great Woods. With the modern era, gone are the weekend blowouts in favor of the less desirable Tuesday night slot. Guaranteed to be a good draw on an otherwise dead night, performances in the past two years have been lackluster to say the least. On Tuesday night, Phish took the stage in their old stomping grounds ready to write anther page in their Great Woods story.
[Photo by Parker Harrington]
Opening with the high energy Llama, a song that opened that Gamehendge performance of 7/8/1994 they immediately recaptured some of the magic from that summer 17 years ago. Carrying the frenetic energy through the beginning of the first set with Moma Dance, (yet another) Possum and some good Cities improv, Phish finally slowed down with their version of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma”. Picking right back up into David Bowie, the band took the first steps on to an off the beaten path jam route that would explode in the second set. The Phish debut of Al Green’s “Rhymes”, a song you may have heard via Scott Murawski and the Mike Gordon Band, showcased Mike’s remarkably improved vocals. Seriously, go back and listen to a late 90’s show. Mike has really worked on his voice and now has the range to carry a wide array of songs. What happened next though, would define the set.
When the opening notes of Divided Sky found the air, I for one was ready for 13 uneventful minutes. Boy was I wrong. Well executed through the composed section, a far different result from its last performance over the weekend, Trey unleashed a unique melody employing the staccato feel we’ve all grown so accustomed to in a manner that was certainly not expected in this arena. Unique and powerful, Trey led the band through an extended outro that will partly define this show and has to be added to the song’s long history. A perfectly acceptable exclamation point to the set, Phish was set to close with even more energy via Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan. READ ON for more about Phish’s latest Great Woods show…
Phish @ Great Woods (Comcast Center), June 7
Phish returned to the venue formerly known as Great Woods – now the Comcast Center – for the 15th time this evening as the quartet’s summer tour continued in Mansfield, MA. Starting on July 21, 1992, a show where Phish opened for Santana, the venue has been a regular stop for the band outside of 1996 – 1998 and 2003.
The band opened up this evening’s show with only the fifth Llama since they reunited in Hampton. Possum reared its head for the fourth time in the tour’s nine performances thus far and didn’t reach the heights of the much buzzed about Blossom version according to Phish.net’s Scott Marks. Later in the set, Instant Karma! saw its first action since the quartet debuted the John Lennon cover on June 12, 2010 in Cuyahoga Falls, OH.
Great Woods shows are known for their one-timer covers such as Rita Clarke’s Lit O Bit in 2010, Tuesday’s Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd and the only electric take on Boston’s Foreplay/Long Time in 1999 as well as a fun take on The Modern Lovers’ Roadrunner in 2000. This time around Al Green’s Rhymes, a song the Mike Gordon Band has performed 15 times between 2008 and 2011, got the call with Gordon handling vocals. Phish closed out the opening stanza with Divided Sky and the Joy staple Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan.
For the second set, Phish came out with Back On The Train and once again used the second slot for a song that provides an improvisational springboard with Rock and Roll filling the role this time around. Wyman noticed “distinct segmentation like [the Down With Disease] from Friday” while adding “[I] can’t compare, but very impressed.” The first Mango Song of the year followed and started a string of three 2011 debuts that also included Bug and Pebbles and Marbles. Fans hoping for another extended Halley’s Comet were disappointed as Phish quickly transitioned into Meatstick. The Run Like An Antelope closer featured Meatstick, Bug and Divided Sky teases before the group encored with a curfew-busting Suzy Greenberg.
HT’s Eric Wyman will provide a full review tomorrow, but in the meantime, READ ON for tonight’s setlist and The Skinny…
Phish returned to the venue formerly known as Great Woods – now the Comcast Center – for the 14th time this evening as the quartet’s summer tour continued in Mansfield,
It is 87 days until the start of touring season. 2 months, 26 days. 2088 Hours. 125,280 minutes. 7,516,800 seconds. Today, we finally have confirmation of just where Phish will be playing this summer. The first leg of the tour begins on June 11 at Toyota Park near Chicago and concludes on the Fourth of July Weekend in Alpharetta, GA at the 12,000 seat Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. The second leg kicks off at the Greek in Berkeley on August 5 and concludes a few weeks later at Jones Beach.
So who are the big winners? Well, it would seem like the Northeast region of the country once again gets a whole lot of love. The big loser? Looks like the west coast. The absence of a weekend at The Gorge, leaves only medium-sized venues booked in California and Colorado which is sure to drive demand way up for the Greek Theater (capacity of 8500) and the already highly publicized pair of shows in Telluride (capacity 9000, with 1500 tickets being promised to locals.)
First Time Played: Portsmouth, Virginia; Alpharetta, Georgia
Significant Gaps: Hershey, PA (last played 9/15/2000), Cuyahoga Falls, OH (last played 9/18/2000), Canandaigua, NY (last played 6/22/1995), Berkeley, CA (last played 8/28/1993), Telluride, CO (last played 10/28/1991).
READ ON for the complete list of dates and ticketing information…