As the sad news of Lou Reed’s passing broke yesterday, the music community reacted the best way it knows how—to pay tribute. Along with a short story about playing with The Velvet Underground bandleader, Phish’s Trey Anastasio took the tribute to the band’s show that evening in Hartford, CT. Opening with “Rock and Roll,” the band and crowd paid tribute to Reed immediately. Following the performance, Anastasio remarked that Reed was one of the “greatest artists to ever live” and requested a brief moment of silence as well.
The rest of the first set featured a heavy dose of Page McConnell tunes, as “Tube,” “Maze,” “NICU” and “Walls of the Cave” all included heavy keys. McConnell also got to serenade the crowd on his classic “Lawn Boy” as well as play some of his own material with the rarely played “Halfway to the Moon.” Along with the set closer, “Walls,” another cut from 2004’s Undermind made its way into the set—“A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing.”
Hartford’s final frame opened in rare fashion, with “Chalkdust Torture” providing the beginning fireworks. Unlike second set “Chalkdust”‘s of old, this one didn’t give way to much improv, but instead transitioned into yet another stellar version of “Tweezer” to go along with the several notable versions this year. The highlights didn’t stop there as TV On the Radio’s “Golden Age” saw some much-needed improv. The 2012 cover darling seems to still be in the band’s good graces, as “Golden Age” has now matched its total number of plays from last year, with nine. After another standard-fare “Halley’s Comet,” Phish had some fun with “2001,” making it one of the more musically interesting versions played in the 3.0 era.
The second set closed with two of Phish’s heaviest hitters, as “2001” segued into “Fluffhead,” which gave way to “Slave to the Traffic Light” featuring soaring guitar work from Trey Anastasio. If the theme of the night wasn’t apparent already, Phish hammered it home with the rock and roll encore of “Loving Cup” and “Tweezer Reprise,” ending the show in a way that surely made Lou Reed smile.
Phish’s tour continues Tuesday night in Reading, PA.
Here’s a look at the setlist as it appears in our Box Scores section:
XL Center, Hartford, CT
Set I: Rock and Roll, Ocelot, Tube, Halfway to the Moon, Fee* > Maze, Lawn Boy, Nellie Kane, NICU, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Walls of the Cave
Set II: Chalk Dust Torture > Tweezer > Birds of a Feather, Golden Age > Halley’s Comet > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Fluffhead > Slave to the Traffic Light
Enc: Loving Cup > Tweezer Reprise
Notes: *Trey sang verses through megaphone.