Photo by Jennifer Bernstein
We rolled up to the venue at about 4:30pm or so on Friday. Luckily our friends lined up at 2pm and saved us some space. Once the line started moving we got in pretty quickly. In no time we scampered up about 8 rows above the floor on Page’s side and settled in to roomy seats with great sight lines and sound. This was only my second “3.0” show after seeing the second night at the Gorge last year, and I was excited to see the new Phish once again! The venue is beautiful with large columns on the stage, large stone steps, and some “thrones” circling the floor; all tucked into a cute little bowl on the hillside. The sun was setting and the fog rolled in pretty early keeping it cool but comfortable in shorts and a long-sleeved shirt. Tension built and a few versions of the wave rolled round and round the little venue until the band finally took the stage.
Phish opened things up in classic style with “Chalkdust Torture.” It’s the first song I ever saw the band play live, I’ve heard them play it lots and lots of times and this version was particularly zippy and rocking. “Guyute” was a pleasure to hear next and contained only some very minor flubs. The “newborn elf” section was ultra strange and spooky. Next up was a slowed down, funky take on “Ocelot” that had the crowd grooving happily. Phish then took on one of their older and slightly more complex tunes, “It’s Ice” and nailed it.
Then the dance party started…A nice, long cover of the Talking Heads tune “Cities” had a tasty jam that grooved on and on after the crowd sang along heartily to the verses. As soon as the tune ended, the band immediately started the recognizable groove of another of their funkiest tunes, “Moma Dance.” The exclamation points of the set were a high-powered “Bathtub Gin” with a soaring jam that never slowed down or got too strange, followed by a very rocking “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan” to close it up.
Set break followed and if you somehow got into a bathroom during the set break, congratulations!
As for Phish, they came back out swinging with a solid version of the Velvet Underground cover “Rock and Roll.” The jam finally slowed down and became a little funkier until the familiar riffs of “Ghost” could be heard. Honestly, this has never been one of my favorite Phish tunes, but I really liked this version. It was funky but also contained some great focused, group improvisation. Unfortunately the transition from “Ghost” to “Mike’s Song” was pretty botched and awkward. The band recovered quickly and rocked the “Mike’s” hard, followed by a long and jamming “Simple” featuring even more exploratory group improv. “Backwards Down the Number Line” was next and was an upbeat change of pace from the previous jammy abyss. The newer tune “Show of Life” came next, followed by what may have been the shortest “Seven Below” ever was played (but still a pleasant little melody to hear). A solid “Weekapaug Groove” and a decent “You Enjoy” myself closed out the set. Neither version was completely incredible, but both had their moments. The vocal jam after “You Enjoy Myself” was particularly entertaining. As for the encore, who can complain about “Good Times Bad Times”? They blistered through the Led Zeppelin cover with ferocity to end the show on a high energy note.
While the evening’s music had a few flubs and wasn’t an all time best, it also contained some very high quality musical moments. All and all it was a super fun time with lots of dancing and partying at a scenic, cozy, intimate venue.