Photo by Joshua Fraces
Phish returned to Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center for the first time since 2011 last night. As keyboardist Page McConnell explained during the band’s first set, the evening was something of a homecoming for Trey Anastasio and himself, both of whom grew up in New Jersey. McConnell reminisced about listening to advertisements for the Garden State Arts Center, as the venue was then known, while growing up and joked that Mike Gordon (who grew up in Massachusetts) and Jon Fishman (who was raised in Syracuse) did not “get it.” (He described Anastasio and himself as “Jersey Strong.”) Last night’s show marked the 10th time Phish has performed at PNC since their inaugural visit to the venue in 1992 as part of the first H.O.R.D.E. tour. McConnell has bantered more than usual this summer and, as always, moved up to the front of the stage for “Lawn Boy.”
The evening had a decidedly old-school, rock vibe from the start. The night opened with a high-energy “Llama” and then moved into three consecutive numbers from the band’s 1994 Hoist album: “Wolfman’s Brother,” “Sample in a Jar” and “Julius.” “Wolfman’s Brother” contained the evening’s first jam segment. Fishman also joked about Jersey during “Suzy Greenberg.”
Phish’s second set was an almost entirely seamless set of music featuring only one pause. The set opened with an over 17-minute choice version of Talking Heads’ “Crosseyed and Painless” that segued into an exploratory 13-minute take on “Harry Hood.” A bit later, Phish stretched out during a groove-oriented “Sand” and one of their most reliable new jam vehicles, “Light.” During “Light,” Anastasio, who is a huge Broadway fan, also teased the song “Maria” from the musical West Side Story. He returned to the theme during both “Cavern” and “Possum.” “Possum,” Phish’s most played song since reuniting in 2009, served as the evening’s encore.
Phish will perform at Wantagh, NY’s Jones Beach tomorrow.
Here’s a look at last night’s setlist via Phish.net
Wednesday, July 10, Holmdel, NJ
Set I: Llama, Wolfman’s Brother, Sample in a Jar, Julius, Halley’s Comet > Bathtub Gin, Lawn Boy, Ya Mar, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Theme From the Bottom > Suzy Greenberg
Set II: Crosseyed and Painless > Harry Hood > Axilla > Sand > Light$this->footnoteID(‘1’,’‘) > Good Times Bad Times > Slave to the Traffic Light, Rocky Top > Cavern$this->footnoteID(‘2’,’‘)
 Manteca tease and Maria (West Side Story) tease from Trey.
 Maria teases from Trey.
Notes: Light contained a Manteca tease and a Maria (West Side Story) tease from Trey. Maria was teased by Trey again at the end of Cavern, as well as during Possum.