We’ve reached the home stretch of the first leg of Phish Summer Tour 2011. Tonight the quartet returned to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA for the second of two shows at the fan-friendly shed.
[Screenshot of Live Phish webcast]
Once again Phish opened the show with a rare bluegrass cover and this time it was Paul and Silas getting the call. Tonight’s take on the traditional tune was only the fifth version in the past 15 years. Standard takes on Back On The Train and Foam followed along with the slow version of Water in the Sky which was in reference to the thunderstorms that enveloped the area around the venue both before the show and during the first set. Runaway Jim didn’t quite reach the heights of Bethel, but the harmonics section was extended nicely tonight as well. Page McConnell’s Army of One saw its first action of 2011 and featured some of Trey’s best work of the set. A pair of covers – Roses Are Free and Timber (Jerry) – came next and were joined together by a quick and painless transition.
It’s not very often that Phish is forced off the stage by bad weather. Notable instances in the past include Deer Creek ’09 and Polaris ’00. Fans must’ve been thinking about those times when members of Phish’s crew emerged during only the fifth Mound since 1997. Trey took to the mic and told the audience that a nasty storm was about to hit and that the band needed to leave the stage. He promised there would be more music soon as the shortened Mound came to a close.
Forty-nine minutes later Phish returned to the stage and finished Mound. Tweezer came complete with a lyric change of “cold” to “wet” in honor of the downpours. Just as Tweezer was getting good Trey started playing the Julius intro and hopes for a long excursion were dashed. While the Slave to the Traffic Light that followed did provide some fine interplay between the band members, Gotta Jibboo was the clear improvisational highlight of the closing set. McConnell in particular helped to push the jam to an interesting place shortly after killing his Suzy Greenberg solo. At the end of the set, the acapella mics came out for the first time all tour and Phish delivered a zany version of Birdwatcher and an acapella Kung led by Anastasio and Fishman with help from Page and Mike.
When Phish dropped jaws with a near 25-minute Down With Disease in Clarkston, MI back on June 3 hopes were high for more extended jams this tour. With just three shows to go on this leg we’re still waiting.
READ ON for the setlist and The Skinny…
Phish fans raved about the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA after the band’s two performances there last summer. Tonight, Phish returned to the venue for the first of two shows. If you can’t make it to Alpharetta you can watch all the action live through a Live Phish webcast.
[Screen Grab from Webcast]
As with each of the past three shows Phish picked a sign in the audience to provide the name of the opening song. This time for the fitting Dinner and a Movie got the call. Moma Dance followed and led into the sixth Possum of the tour. There were other rotation staples a plenty in the opening stanza including Cities, Fluffhead, Ocelot and Kill Devil Falls. The band also dipped into their catalog for a bluegrass cover, Norman Blake’s Ginseng Sullivan, which saw live action for the first time in 50 shows. While the start of the 87-minute set didn’t contain much improvisation, the end was a different story. Bathtub Gin came to a big climax similar to the version from two nights earlier at Merriweather and a cover of Traffic’s Light Up or Leave Me Alone featured an extended solo filled with firey work from guitarist Trey Anastasio that was the clear highlight of the set.
Carini may have been a jam vehicle for Phish in 2010 but in 2011 each version has been of the straightforward variety and tonight’s set two opener quickly segued into Sand in what seemed like a surprise to every member of the band except Trey. Sand has had a fine tour thus far and tonight’s take was no exception. Down With Disease once again featured out of the box exploration for a spell before the band deftly worked their way towards Maze. Anastasio and Page McConnell were both in fine form technically throughout the light on improv second set, so Maze was a good choice to give them each a chance to shine. A sequence of well-played, heavy rotation stalwarts followed to close the set – Meatstick > Also Sprach Zarathrustra > Bug > A Day in the Life > Run Like An Antelope leading to a Quinn The Eskimo encore. Phish returns to Alpharetta tomorrow night.
READ ON for the setlist and The Skinny…
HT faves Phish will set out on a 18-date tour starting with a three-night run at Bethel Woods in Bethel, NY over Memorial Day Weekend and concluding three weeks later at the nTelos Pavilion in Portsmouth, VA on June 19. This marks Phish’s first tour of 2011 after ending 2010 and starting 2011 at Madison Square Garden.
Phish Summer Tour 2011 takes the group back to a number of familiar venues from the past two summers including the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA; the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ; the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatres in Charlotte, NC and Alpharetta, GA as well as the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion in Raleigh, NC.
A pre-order lottery for tickets to every show on the band’s docket has started via Music Today and you can put your entry in through March 4. Summer Tour 2011 marks the first time Phish has offered different prices for pavilion seats and for lawn seats at these summer sheds. While face for lawns is $45, pavilion seats will go for $60. The public onsales are set to take place on March 11 and 12.
Here’s a look at the full itinerary…
May 27 – 29 = Bethel Woods, Bethel NY
May 31 & June 1 = PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel NJ
June 3 = DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston MI
June 4 = Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls OH
June 5 = Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati OH
June 7 = Comcast Center, Mansfield MA
June 8 = Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien NY
June 10 = Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden NJ
June 11 and 12 = Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia MD
June 14 and 15 = Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta GA
June 17 = Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Charlotte NC
June 18 = Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion, Raleigh NC
June 19 = nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth VA
UPDATE: Phish’s Vimeo video page has been updated to read, “Additional summer announcements will be coming. Following the summer, the band has no touring plans for the remainder of the year.”
READ ON for a more in-depth look at each venue…