Saturday, July 3, 2010

Live review: Phish

Posted By on Sat, Jul 3, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Phish

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

July 2, 2010

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The Deal: Reunited jam band still going strong, break out obscure tune for packed Charlotte show.

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The Good: The night got started a bit late, but any frustration in delays were quickly forgotten as the band got started and showed their true form — which was amazingly tight and energetic. Guitarist Trey Anastasio glared into the sun, squinting as he tore through riff after riff. Bassist Mike Gordon appeared laid back, while keyboardist Page McConnell was continuously smiling. This was clearly a quartet that was out to have fun and having a blast on their current tour.

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The band's first set was highlighted by a handful of older tunes — "Wolfman's Brother," "Stash" and "Chalkdust Torture" among them. Having seen the band a handful of times back in the glory days of the early and mid-'90s, I was immediately drawing comparisons to those shows in my mind.

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The first set ended as the sun was going down and fan anticipation hoped that the second set would exceed the first. Numerous fans around me were consistently shouting for "Lizards" and their wish was granted four songs into the next set. Backed by a light show of epic porportions, the band cruised through the tune and the crowd was in a dancing frenzy.

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Not to be outdone... 23 years and more than 1,400 shows since the last time it was performed, the band broke out the obscure tune, "Fuck Your Face," much to the surprise of, well, just about everyone. This led into the instrumental 2001 epic "Also Sprach Zarathustra."

If you thought it couldn't get any better, the band then broke out "You Enjoy Myself" which led into an a capella version of "Proud Mary" that also contained portions of "Get Back."

The band wrapped up the night with an encore of The Beatles "A Day in the Life."

The Bad: Don't print 7 p.m. on a ticket if you're going to start your show at 7:45 p.m.

The Verdict: Phish is back and as good as ever — the band performed tightly, soundly and with as much enthusiasm as you'd hope for. To break out a tune from 23 years ago, they must truly be enjoying every moment on stage together. At this point, any memories of the breakup are pretty much forgotten.

Setlist

Set I: Buried Alive> AC/DC Bag, Vultures, Wolfman's Brother, Back On The Train, The Wedge, Mexican Cousin, Stash, Sparkle, Chalkdust Torture

Set II: Drowned, 46 Days, Twenty Years Later, The Lizards, Carini, Fuck Your Face, Also Sprach Zarathustra, You Enjoy Myself> Proud Mary

Encore: A Day in the Life

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