Photo by Nick Bengivengo.
Phish returned to Trey Anastasio’s former stomping grounds last night for a performance at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center. The guitarist, who grew up attending hockey games across the parking lot at the recently decommissioned Spectrum, took the stage wearing a Flyers jersey and offered fans one of Phish’s more classic-sounding sets since reuniting this past March. The band opened with a pairing of a high-energy “Chalk Dust Torture” and a loose, experimental “Bathtub Gin.” A fan-requested cover of Talking Heads’ “Cities,” complete with lyrical references to Thanksgiving, bled into the group’s first version of former guitarist Jeff Holdsworth’s “Camel Walk” since 2004. The set’s decidedly “old school” theme continued with a precise reading of “The Curtain With,” a bouncy take on “The Wedge,” a funky “Moma Dance,” a long, focused “Reba” and a rocking “Golgi Apparatus.” The Joy track “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan,” one of only two songs debuted after 1998 that Phish played all night, closed the set.
The band’s second set focused in on the funky, slightly ambient grooves characteristic of he band’s 1998 period, beginning with a version of Holdsworth’s other contribution to the Phish canon, “Possum.” That song fed into a show-stopping “Down with Disease” and, finally, the new ballad “Twenty Years Later” and “Harry Hood.” The set was further marked by only the second “The Mango Song” since the group’s return and an unusual Mike’s Groove that ran from “Mike’s Song” into “Simple,” “Slave to the Traffic Light” and “Weekapaug Groove.” Phish slowed down the latter song halfway through its composed section, with Mike Gordon marking the tempo change by hitting his foot bell. A cover of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” brought the night to a close. Phish will return to the Wachovia Center this evening.