Mike Gordon, Summer 2009 – photo by Tammy Wetzel

Phish continued their summer tour with the third date of the weekend on Sunday night at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Relying on their 2000 and prior, pre-first hiatus catalogue, the band began the night with a lively pair of tunes “Gotta Jibboo” and “Chalk Dust Torture.” The quartet returned to their debut Junta album for the carefully constructed prog rocker “Fluffhead,” which led the way for an energetic trio, the rarely played “Funky Bitch,” by Son Seals, “Runaway Jim,” and “NICU.” A pensive “Horn” prefaced a cantankerous “It’s Ice,” the band continued onwards with a more accelerated tempo on rote readings of “Bouncing Around the Room” and “Sparkle,” and closed the set with a loose and improvisatory “Split Open and Melt.”

But the more experimental side of Phish came out for the second set on a series of tunes which contained the most impressive jamming of the evening. Returning to the stage after setbreak, amidst an audible request by a group of fans for “Meatstick,” the band tore into a long, adventurous reading of “Drowned” from the Who’s Quadrophenia (the double album the band covered on Halloween 1995) which contained a sublime jam that segued with impressive ease into the opening notes of “Tweezer.” The Phish jam favorite also contained a taut, focused passage of impressionistic improvisation, which eventually found a doorway into a fine reading of “Twist,” from 2000’s Farmhouse, and the newest material played on this evening. A “Piper>Free” tandem furthered the momentum, especially the latter with an emphasis on Mike Gordon-led jamming, before the proceedings were brought back to terra firma on “Wading in the Velvet Sea,” a prelude to a volcanic and exciting version of the Phish crown jewel of organized chaos, “You Enjoy Myself” that served to conclude the second set. For the encore, Phish covered Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold as Love,” making only its fourth appearance since 2000, ending the show, and the first trio of dates on the 2010 Phish Summer Tour.

Phish returns to their summer tour on Tuesday night at nTelos Pavilion at Harbor Center in Portsmouth, Virginia.