U.S. Bank Arena

Review & Photos: Phish in Cincinnati

Words and Images: Tim Hara

Last weekend, Phish made their triumphant return to Cincinnati for the first time in six years. They played the U.S. Arena, a 17,000 person venue located downtown right next to the stadiums where the Reds and the Bengals play. Although the place was packed both nights, fans could find cheap tickets – some even free – in the lot with ease. You could feel the excitement in the air as the crowd funneled through the doors and into the venue to begin what would turn out to be an incredible two-night stand in the Midwest.

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Phish kicked off the first night with good, but standard versions of Chalk Dust and Moma Dance. The entire building shook as the audience roared during “the pause” in The Divided Sky. After a solid rendition of Alaska, things were slowed down for Fast Enough for You, which was played for only the second time this year. The high point in the set came for Gotta Jibboo > Fluffhead, two crowd-pleasers that closed out the first half. Overall a solid, fun set, but it was obvious that the band was just getting warmed up.

The real magic came in the second set with the Tweezer > Light > Back on the Train > Possum sequence. The quartet jammed patiently and absolutely nailed the transitions in this segment; especially the segue into Possum. After a blissful, standalone Slave to the Traffic Light, the funk dance party started up with a monster You Enjoy Myself that clocked in at over 20 minutes to close what was a perfectly executed set. Phish then treated the crowd to a three-song encore that started with Joy and Golgi Apparatus and concluded with a Tweezer Reprise that ensured the show ended on a high note.

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READ ON for more of Tim’s thoughts and photos on Phish…

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Phish in Cincinnati: Setlists

Phish November 21, 2009 U.S. Bank Arena Cincinnati, OH Set 1: Wilson, NICU, Wolfman’s Brother, Ocelot, Torn and Frayed, Strange Design, Ginseng Sullivan, Albuquerque, Split Open and Melt, Dirt, Limb

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