Last night, Phish returned to Portland, ME’s Cumberland County Civic Center for one of the most intimate stops on its fall tour. Like many New England shows, Boston-bred bassist Mike Gordon took command for much of the band’s first set, singing lead on a show-opening “Possum,” leading the band through the first version of the bluegrass staple “Nellie Kane” since 2000, busting out his Rift rarity “Weigh” for the first tine since 2003, stepping up to the microphone for the first take on the Story of the Ghost jam “Meat” since 2003 and offering a classic Mike’s Groove segment at the end of the band’s first set. Along the way, Phish also played “Down with Disease,” Los Lobos’ “When the Circus Comes,” the Joy rocker “Kill Devil Falls,” “Water in the Sky,” “Stash” and an exploratory “Undermind.”
Though not as jam-friendly as the second half of Saturday night’s performance, the group opened its second set with a funky “The Moma Dance” and yet another track off Velvet Underground’s Loaded, “Rock and Roll.” This version of the classic song segued into the new Joy jam “Light” and then the first version of the Dude of Life’s “Crimes of the Mind” since 2003. Sunday’s show also marked the first known time the band has played “Crimes of the Mind,” which is the title-track of Phish’s collaborative album with the Dude, without the singer/lyricist. The segues continued as the group moved into “Pebbles and Marbles,” “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” “Golgi Apparatus,” “Cavern” and, finally, “Run Like an Antelope.”
Many speculate that Phish is actively attempting to perform all the songs in its catalogue this year, so it was appropriate that the group began its encore with the first take on its barbershop quartet version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” since 1998 (the group played an electric version in 2000). The night then came to a close with a high-energy “Carini” that came to a head with “Waste.” Phish will perform at New York’s Madison Square Garden this Wednesday.