Above: Phish, 12/4/2009, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2009. From www.phish.com
Phish closed its first extended fall tour in a decade Saturday night at Charlottesville, VA’s John Paul Jones Arena. Though the group still has four New Year’s run shows scheduled, Virginia was a fitting place for the group to bring things to a close this fall: the band’s management company Red Light in based in Charlottesville, and Phish kicked off its 2009 reunion in Hampton, VA. The show opened with one of the group’s current favorite song pairings, “AC/DC Bag” and “Chalk Dust Torture” and included tour staples like “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan,” “The Divided Sky” and “David Bowie.” During a spirited version of “Ya Mar,” a naked fan jumped onstage and ran around for a few moments before being removed by security. The group referenced the incident in the song and at the end of the night during the show-closing “Run Like an Antelope.” Saturday’s show also saw the return of the bluegrass number “The Old Home Place” for the first time since 2004. The evening also included the first versions of the Exile on Main St. songs “Sweet Virginia” and “Loving Cup” since Halloween.
The Vermont quartet’s Friday night performance at Madison Square Garden featured the first take on _Exile_’s “Shine a Light” since Phish’s weekend in Indio, CA. The high-energy show also saw the return of the Undermind favorite “Scents and Subtle Sounds,” and the band’s first stab at “Glide” since the closing date of the Coventry festival in 2004. Other highlights include a run from “Rock and Roll” into “Seven Below,” “Twist,” a classic “Mike’s Groove” and the pairing of “The Horse” and “Silent in the Morning.” Likewise, Thursday night’s Madison Square Garden featured numerous showstoppers like a cover of Steve Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman” and a segue from “Down with Disease” into “Piper” and “Fluffhead.”
The band has now played four songs of Exile on Main St. since Festival 8: “Sweet Virginia,” “Torn and Frayed,” “Shine a Light” and “Loving Cup.” Phish will return to the stage later this month for four shows at Miami, FL’s American Airlines Arena.