Phish Bethel Setlist

Phish Bethel Night Two: Setlist and Skinny

On Friday night Phish kicked off the first leg of their summer tour with a hearty opening show that featured a number of expansive jams and laid the ground work for what should be an exciting run. The quartet returned to gorgeous Bethel Woods for the second of three performances at the venue near the site of 1969’s Woodstock Festival on Saturday.

[Photo via Liberty Independent]

Saturday’s show proved the power of the jams as the band continued to flex their improvisational muscles in Bethel. In the first set both Halley’s Comet and Bathtub Gin featured impressive improvisation, especially considering nearly every version of Halley’s since Hampton has been of the five-minute variety. Halley’s at Bethel surpassed the 12-minute mark to the delight of Phish fans, while Bathtub Gin contained elements of Manteca and some of the best group interplay seen from the run thanks in part of drummer Jon Fishman’s bombastic backbeat. Also of note was the rare stretching out of the post-first verse breakdown in Runaway Jim.

The second set started with a 15-minute-plus Down With Disease that devolved into a space jam before the band worked their way into Free. Backwards Down The Number Line could be a monster when Phish chooses to explore the space between the riff that forms the jam and the Bethel version showed why as each member of the group contributed to a tasty improvisation that alternated between light/airy playing and dark/evil-tinged themes. Night two wasn’t just about the jams, Phish was also having fun all night, which was most apparent during a Makisupa Policeman that found Trey, Page, Mike and Fish each taking a turn at laying down what the music would sound like at their respective houses in a cool segment that’s worth a listen. From there, the boys turned on a dime into Harry Hood land for a patient take on the tune that would be a standout version if it peaked harder. David Bowie gave Phish one last chance to jam and they took advantage with Trey in particular laying down some ripping riffs.

HT’s Brian Bavosa will be at all three tour-opening shows and will file a full report early next week. READ ON for tonight’s setlist and The Skinny…

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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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