May 27

Phish Bethel Night One: Setlist and Skinny

We’ve finally reached the start of Phish’s first tour of 2011 as the band pulled into Bethel Woods in Bethel, NY for the first of three shows at a venue we always hoped the quartet would play.

[Photo via @aaronpethic]

The band dotted the 11-song opening stanza at the venue near the site of the Woodstock Festival with four covers including Walk Away by The James Gang, Roses Are Free by Ween and Woodstock legend Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold As Love. According to Sam Davis of Dog Gone Blog the improv out of Kill Devil Falls was a “full departure from the song structure,” as it contained a “spacious, flowing jam” that was “just amazing.” Surprisingly, there were no new covers or originals debuted during show one of the summer tour.

Set Two kicked off with Carini which led into a Back On The Train with a “patient build up” and “soaring peak” that contained “some of Trey’s best playing in 3.0” according to Guy Forget of Online Phish Tour. A cover of Stevie Wonder’s Boogie On Reggae Woman came next and featured a “weird slowdown” at the end according to Scott Marks for @YEMblog. Out of Boogie On came the first version of Waves since August 2009 and the Round Room tune clocked in at nearly 14-minutes as it went off into a spacey jam space that Davis described as “pure ambient beauty, a fine moment.” Another shining moment was a take on the Talking Heads’ Crosseyed and Painless which Davis felt had a “krautrock jam” and featured Anastasio on “octave dropped riffs.” From there, the group ended the set with a run of heavy rotation originals that left Marks noting the “very inconsistent energy level” of the set. Oddly, Phish did not play Tweezer Reprise during the encore, instead leaving off with just Julius.

HT’s Brian Bavosa will be at all three tour-opening shows and will file a full report early next week. Check back later for the debut of The Skinny, our “box score” of sorts about each gig. READ ON for the setlist…

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