This week, we get an early dose of Postcards From Page Side from our featured columnist Brian Bavosa as he recounts Phish’s tour opening weekend at Bethel Woods in Bethel, NY…
After five months off since their triumphant New Year’s Eve run at the DCU Center in Worcester and NYC’s Madison Square Garden that seemingly saw the band turn a musical corner, Phish returned to the road this past weekend for a three-night run at Bethel Woods in upstate New York. After the holiday run, fans were very interested to see what might be in store for the band’s most aggressive and longest tour in nearly 20 years this summer – broken down into two legs, 30 proper shows and a 3-day festival over the 4th of July weekend in Superball IX.
[Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2011]
Bethel Woods is a venue that fans (and the HT staff) have been hoping for years Phish would play. Sitting just atop the hill where Woodstock was held, simply put, the place has good bones. It is also the nicest ampitheater in the northeast in my opinion, if not the country. The sightlines and sound are awesome from any vantage point, and the lush, green lawn is as comfortable as they come. While ample trees and a full-fledged museum dedicated to Woodstock on-site (which is a site to behold on itself, and highly recommended), Bethel is the quintessential place to see the band, with plenty of space to move around and get down.
When the band finally hit the stage on Friday night, any question of proving a point was made with a bombastic Tweezer > My Friend, My Friend opening sequence. In fact, from start to finish, the first set of Summer Tour 2011 was as high energy as they come and sure to be a favorite of the weekend for many. Boasting a super-funky Wolfman’s Brother that slid effortlessly into Walk Away, one of the strongest tunes for Phish 3.0 on a consistent basis, any doubts of practice, or easing into the weekend were quickly dissipated.
READ ON for more on Phish’s tour-opening run in Bethel…
There aren’t many photos that circulate among fans of the Quintet Era of Phish that started at keyboardist Page McConnell’s first show on May 3, 1985 and ended with guitarist Jeff Holdsworth’s departure from the band shortly after his last show on May 17, 1986. So we were excited to come across an amazing shot of the five-piece from an Earth Day Celebration at UVM on April 15, 1986 via the Oh Kee Pah Blog Facebook Page.
[Photos by Rich Wallace]
You’ll notice McConnell using milk crates as a seat – how very Vermont of him – and playing nothing but an electric piano and cheap organ. The shot above was first posted on Facebook by Phish fan Chris DiLeo and comes from the collection of Daniel Marshall, though Rich Wallace actually snapped the photo. We asked Chris if there was more where this photo came from and he shared another picture from ’86 and a pair of Phish pics from Spring ’88.
04/15/1986 University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Set 1: AC/DC Bag > Dear Mrs. Reagan, Prep School Hippie, Quinn the Eskimo -> Slave to the Traffic Light, Makisupa Policeman, Have Mercy, All Blues, Dog Log, Possum, You Enjoy Myself, Anarchy, Camel Walk -> Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues
Notes: The band was introduced by Trey as the “Bob Dylan Band” before a jam that led into a short All Blues (the first known Phish performance; it was only about a minute long). Dog Log was dedicated to all of the dogs that are running around — including Marley the Wonder Dog. Possum included a Music Never Stopped tease. [via Phish.net]
READ ON for more classic Phish photos from the ’80s and, as always, be sure to click on the photo for the full-sized image…