Phish Delivers Animal-Filled First Set, Monster “Carini” At Bill Graham Night One

first_imgFollowing their first three-night run ever at The Gorge Amphitheatre in picturesque George, WA, Phish returned to San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, a venue that’s become a favorite for the band and fans alike in the 3.0 era. 2018 marks the fifth run Phish has played at the Bill Graham, yet the first time they’ve played only 2-nights, rather than the usual three-night run. Only five shows into tour, Phish is quickly finding their groove, displaying an impressive amount of guts paired with extreme syncopation and precision.“46 Days” got the show off to a roaring start, as the band took the stage right after 8 p.m. Pacific Time. Being an 8,500 capacity, entirely general admission venue gives the Bill Graham a very special feeling, aside from being in the heart San Francisco, a city rich in rock and roll and psychedelic history. Trey Anastasio‘s tone is sounding impeccable these days, and “46 Days” was a perfect example, as Page McConnell kept pushing Trey to continue peaking during the opening number of the night. Giving Anastasio a chance to catch his breath, McConnell tickled the opening notes of “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters”. Page laid down some serious work on the grand piano throughout the song, leading the way through the breezy Gamehendge journey.Trey’s opening riff to “Pigtail” rang out next, and the crowd seemed loose and settled-in, singing along to the Anastasio/Tom Marshall tune, which was debuted at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA 12/28/2010 but only recently entered a semi-regular rotation in the band’s live shows. With fairly little improvisation, the band was quickly on to “Cities”, with Mike Gordon hammering away, looking lean and mean. Following the main-theme of the Talking Heads tune, the band slowly crept into blissful territory with a sprinkle of some dark-Phish, taking the “Cities” jam out for a ride. Jon Fishman‘s almost metronome-like attentiveness allowed for Anastasio and Gordon to lock into a solid groove before pumping the breaks and moving on.The band changed gears from there, with Gordon taking vocal duties on “Nellie Kane”, the classic penned by bluegrass pioneers, Hot Rize. Trey laid down some seriously aggressive licks, before hopping into a funk-filled bowl of “Gumbo”. McConnell quickly took matters into his own hands, standing up and tinkering away on the clavinet. When Page stands, everyone stands, and the intimate room roared as McConnell kept soaring higher and higher. Crashing back into the chorus, the band kept their momentum going, marching into the sweet-sounding opening of “Guyute”. Phish nailed “Guyute”, reciprocating the crowd’s raucous energy at the first indoor venue of the tour. Anastasio’s lofty peaks in the final minutes of “Guyute” bounced off the walls, with Fishman keeping up the perfect pace.Following in the “animal” theme of the first set, “serpents, snails, and slugs” of “Axilla” came out to play, leading way to another creature, “The Dogs”. With Page’s signature dog-howling effect taking charge, Trey seemingly mimicked the dogs on his Languedoc, blasting off into a fierce and fiery solo on the Chilling, Thrilling tune. The setlist did not have any crazy Type 2 improv, but the song selection was on point, as things kept flowing into the emotional opening whistles of “Dirt”. Free from push and shove, the rowdy mood of the Bill Graham toned down, and Phish showed off their vocal prowess as Gordon and McConnell blended a tasteful harmony behind Anastasio’s lead. Everyone needs a moment to reflect on all of life’s gifts and sometimes hardships, and “Dirt” last night provided just this. Changing gears once again, “David Bowie” brought set one to a close, highlighted by some soaring guitar peaks, as Big Red continued to pick up the pace through the jam’s final climax.Phish came back out for second set opening with “Moma Dance”, marking only the third time the band has opened second set with it since 2009, the other two times being in 2009. This “Moma Dance” also marked the first repeat of 2018’s summer tour, as well as the first “Moma” at the Bill Graham since 2014’s memorable rendition, when Phish worked in a “We Are The Champions” jam to resounding applause as the local San Francisco Giants simultaneously wrapped up their World Series game 7 victory in Kansas City. Harnessing the Bill Graham’s unbeatable energy, Anastasio ripped through “Moma”, getting the dance party fully engaged.Smoothly segueing into “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing”, the band prepared for liftoff and took the jam deep into a realm of exploratory sonic textures. McConnell kept the upbeat “ASIHTOS” rolling, as his three bandmates followed behind his delicate work on the organ. This led the way to a massive explosion by Anastasio, letting it all hang out. With the building practically in flames, Anastasio and McConnell pushed back into the main theme of the song, delivering a final verse and chorus.“Mercury” has quickly became a favorite second-set staple in the Phish catalog since its 2015 debut, and last night the band worked through the complex and ambitious jam precisely, with Anastasio putting on a show with his washy Leslie speaker effect that he’s been thoroughly enjoying utilizing since the tart of summer tour. The jam patiently worked its way into a spacey-voyage, with Trey sustaining bold, peaking notes, allowing Gordon and Fishman to create a complex rhythmic backbone. Things kept escalating and growing, with McConnell tickling the ivories in between Anastasio’s monstrous solos, leading to a massive peak.The heavy jams kept coming as “Carini” approached, quickly moving into a fast-paced funk bounce, with Anastasio providing splashy riffs behind an infectious Gordon groove. Tuesday’s “Carini” had a unique flow, harnessing speed and tenacity from start to finish. The jam cruised into a feel-good segment out of the funk, with Anastasio taking full reins as his bandmates followed attentively, leading to a gargantuan, explosive Anastasio peak. There are moments when Phish starts sounding perfect—and last night’s “Carini” was A+, top-notch, perfect Phish.The jam slowly fizzled out, and the San Francisco crowd erupted, leaving nothing for the band to do but drop into another fast-paced favorite, “Maze”. As Fishman’s opening signature drumbeat grew louder, “Maze” took off, and the race between Anastasio and McConnell was on. The energy of the night never stopped growing, as Trey’s final peaking segment of “Maze” could have shattered any glass window within 500 feet. As Mike’s sticky bass tones signaled the start of “Boogie On Reggae Woman”, any thought of a slower song getting in the way of this top-notch Phish set was in the rearview mirror.The “Boogie” was short-lived, but seamlessly flowed into the opening of “Harry Hood”. Picking away delicately and effortlessly, Anastasio glimmered beneath Chris Kuroda‘s spectacle of a light show, with the 8,500 person crowd bouncing along in unison. Continuing in the theme of the night, Anastasio and McConnell interlocked in an exploratory space voyage, with McConnell charging to the finish line on the grand piano, forcing Anastasio, Gordon, and Fishman to chase him down. Everyone at last nights show can feel good about Hood, and the band sure as hell did, too. Phish came back out for their encore with “Squirming Coil”, letting McConnell steal the show one more time as Fishman, Anastasio and then Gordon, slowly exited the stage, leaving the Chairman of the Boards to take the final bow.Phish returns to the Bill Graham tonight for their second of two performances tonight, which they will webcast free of charge. Next, they’ll head south to The Forum in Inglewood, CA for a pair of performances on Friday and Saturday. For a full list of Phish’s upcoming dates, head to the band’s website.Setlist: Phish | Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | San Francisco, CA| 7/24/2018Set I: 46 Days, Mcgrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters, Pigtail, Cities> Nellie Kane, Gumbo, Guyute, Axilla, The Dogs, Dirt, David BowieSet II: The Moma Dance> A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing> Mercury> Carini> Maze, Boogie On Reggae Woman> Harry HoodE: Squirming Coillast_img

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