Words by Audra Tracy | Photo by Rod Snyder
The view from 8th row at a Phish show really changes your perspective on the idea of a ‘concert experience’. Miles away from the ‘commoners’ on the lawn, your seats reside in a vortex of bouncing beach balls and airborne glow-sticks. As a life-size inflatable Chester Cheetah crowd-surfs overhead, you find yourself mere feet away from the phantastic four. It’s hot as hell, but you’ve just died and gone to rock n roll heaven.
A night earlier, Phish had plugged into PNC for the first time in like a decade. And while songs like ‘Punch You in the Eye’ and ‘After Midnight’ rattled the rafters, the May 31st gig lacked a certain ‘boom boom pow’. So even though it was raining over Shakedown just before show-time, June 1st ticket-holders knew something big was coming.
‘First Tube’ kicked off night two of the band’s Holmdel run, and the crowd came alive with irresponsible energy. Chris Koruda’s cascading lights filtered through clouds of smoke in the air and onto the glistening sweat of a couple hundred half naked hippies that melted in his wake. The humidity in the pit was brutal, and thankfully Phish took it easy for most of the first set, tossing out mellow but danceable tunes like ‘Camel Walk’, ‘Heavy Things’, and ‘Gotta Jiboo’.
Set one isn’t really the focal point of this review though. It was cool, the fans seemed pleased with it and all, but the second set is what really induced widespread smiles.
You see, Phish has been on a Led Zeppelin kick ever since Mischief Night in Atlantic City last year, when they debuted a mega-medley that included parts from ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘What Is and What Never Should Be’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’. And since this writer was fortunate enough to catch that 10/30/10 show, it was just dumb luck that, after opening the second act with ‘Tweezer’, Phish played ‘No Quarter’ for the first time ever in Holmdel. And yes, it was just as rad as you imagined.
Refusing to peak so early in the set, the next four songs bumped night two up from ‘pretty sweet’ to ‘kinda epic’. A rock block like ‘Carini’>’Piper’>’Twist’>’Ghost’ doesn’t come along haphazardly – obviously Phish just totally loves New Jersey.
Phish will return to the Garden State this Friday at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden.
Set I: First Tube, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Camel Walk, Heavy Things, Gotta Jiboo, Wilson, Seven Below, Kill Devil Falls, Axilla I, Split Open and Melt, Suzy Greenberg
Set II: Tweezer, No Quarter > Carini > Piper > Twist > Ghost, Backwards Down the Number Line
Encore: Show of Life, Tweezer Reprise
TheWaster.com | Tour